Monde primary school is a rural school in Monde village, Luwero District. 623 school children attend the school (249 boys and 374 girls) with ages ranging from three to twelve years. Agriculture is the major economic activity of the district’s 474,000 population, of which only 54% has access to safe water.
The water, hygiene and sanitation situation in the area around Monde Primary School was extremely poor. Without a nearby protected well in the area the children of Monde Primary school were forced to waste a great amount of time walking long distances in search of unsafe water, from unprotected sources.
Sanitation at Monde primary school was also in a very poor condition. The school’s pit latrine had no privacy as most of the stances had no doors. The surrounding environment was polluted with human waste. This was because the facilities were not used by many of the pupils as they were in such a dreadful condition.
While the boys commonly used the nearby bush, the adolescent girls stated they were forced to remain home during menstruation. The girls would miss out on vital school work because the latrines had no wash rooms or privacy. Additionally, the latrines were not accessible to disabled children neither were they gender sensitive or child friendly. Furthermore, with no hand washing facilities the pupils were unable to practice good sanitation and hygiene behaviours.
The situation at Monde Primary school put many of the pupils and teachers at a high risk of illness and disease such as diarrhoea, dysentery, worm infection and skin diseases. The pupils’ poor health was also hindered by a poor diet with some of the children also suffering from nutritional related diseases like Kwashiorkor because of a lack of vegetables.
The devastating circumstances of all of the above at Monde Primary School frequently led to irregular attendance of the pupils and low academic performances.
What We Did
In August 2012, Just a Drop and local partner Maganjo Farmer’s Association (MAFA) began work at Monde Primary School. The project had the following objectives:
- Install one child-friendly and gender-sensitive water supply facility (rain water harvesting crest tank) at Monde Primary School
- Construct six child-friendly and gender-sensitive toilets along with accompanying washrooms at Monde Primary School
- Carry out sanitation and hygiene training for the teachers, school management committees, local leaders and pupils at Monde Primary School
- Implement at least five vegetable and fruit gardens at Monde Primary School to promote nutrition and carry out training in vegetable growing and animal and crop management.
The rainwater harvesting, improved sanitation facilities and food security training project implemented at Monde Primary School has provided many benefits to the children and teachers, as well as the surrounding community, parents and guardians.
- The children and teachers are now benefitting from a healthier living and working environment at the school
- The children are no longer walking long distances to fetch water, they are washing their hands after using the toilets and there has been no indication of open defecation. All of this means that fewer children are missing classes due to poor health
- The project has improved hygiene and sanitation awareness among the children in the school. The improved hygiene and sanitation practices may have helped to reduce the number of worm infections and cases of dysentery among the children
- The number of children visiting a nearby health centre every month for treatment of diseases has reduced from over 300 to 67
- The academic performance of the pupils has also improved since the implementation of the project. A more regular attendance has resulted in 43 pupils achieving first grades and 14 achieving second grades in the first term out of 68 children. Before the project was implemented only 31 children achieved first grades, 9 second grades and 28 third grades
- Incidence of girls’ absenteeism has also reduced with the new gender-sensitive sanitation facilities
- The parents and guardians have reported that they received fewer health bills from the nearby health centre. One parent, Mr John Mande said, he used to spend 6,500UGX (approximately £1.50) on cough and worm’s medication every month on his daughter, but in October 2012 he did not have to buy any medication for her
- The parents and guardians have indicated that they are now able to increase their savings with the money saved from fewer medical bills
- Pupils now have a better understanding of how to grow vegetables, breed chickens and milk cows, as well as how to use animal waste in the gardens
- The children have all been provided with vegetable seeds to plant in the gardens of Monde Primary School, after they have prepared the land for the forthcoming rain season.
Maintenance and Sustainability
To ensure continued operation and maintenance of the school’s new water tank and toilets, Monde Primary School is committed to maintaining the structures provided to them.
In addition the following structures have been established to ensure maintenance.
- The school management committee has been trained to own and oversee the sustainability of the facilities installed at the school
- The committee was also trained on operation and maintenance, gender roles, record keeping and monitoring and evaluation
- The committee will take full responsibility for maintaining and sustaining the installed facilities and constructed structure
- The addition of a school health club will ensure that the pupils adopt good hygiene and sanitation behaviours to prevent breakages or damages to the facilities
- During the visit to the farm the children were able to see a well maintained water tank. They also learnt how to maintain toilets using locally available materials like ash and smooth plant leaves used as cheaper and sustainable toilet papers
- The school management committee and the teachers plan to raise maintenance fees from the local community, parents/guardians and local leaders
- Furthermore, the school also intends next term to make sure every child will pay a fee of 300UGX (approximately 7p) for maintenance purposes.
Sudat Namugerwa, 10 years old.
“I am the head girl of Monde Primary School. I have never seen a new toilet constructed at our school until now. Our toilet was full and most of my fellow students were defecating everywhere but we now use the new toilet. We girls use the wash rooms more during our monthly periods and wash our hands after using the toilet. I think diseases like worms and dysentery amongst us will reduce. I am also a member of the hygiene and sanitation club in my school. Thank you Just a Drop and SIGNEO for your support!”
Steven Tendere, 11 years old.
“I am the head boy of Monde Primary School. It is my first time to see a very big water tank. We no longer go to the well as we used to. The well is very far from the school and we would get tired and sleep in the class after we had collected water. These days we do not sleep in the class because we get water from the tank nearby. And even better, the water we drink or use for making our porridge is clean because it comes from the rain – but the water from the well we used to use is so dirty because even the animals drink from it.”
“My name is Florence. I am 27 years old and teach all of the English classes at the school. It was my pleasure to see Just a Drop and SIGNEO come and support our school together with the Maganjo Farmers Association. Our children are no longer walking long distances to collect water which has declined the school performance. In the past, we teachers would have to stop teaching and wait for the children to go and fetch water first. When they came back they were tired and become sleepy in class, which led to a poor performance.
They had one toilet which was full and used by both girls and boys thus there was no privacy. The new toilet has washrooms and hand washing facilities which has improved the hygiene among the children. Long live Just a Drop and long live Signeo and long live Maganjo Farmers Association.”
Our thanks to SIGENO for making this project possible.
Project Sponsor: SIGNEO
Date of Porject: August 2012