Water – our elixir of life. Our body consists of 50 to 65 % of water. Without regular replacement, our body cannot function properly and that also affects our concentration. In a primary school, of course, the children are all the more dependent on good concentration.
During a stay in Uganda we became aware of the elementary school in the village Kabaale-Ssanje. Kabaale-Ssanje is located in the south-west of Uganda and has a population of around 5,000. It is about 5 km east of the main road that leads from Uganda’s capital Kampala to Tanzania.
The school has a kindergarten and grades 1 to 4 are taught there. The school consists of two buildings in which classes take place. There are also latrines for the children and teachers on the school grounds. 170 children are currently attending the school, which is taught by 10 teachers.
Access to clean water is very important for the children. In the Kyotera district, which also includes Kabaale-Ssanje, people rarely have access to clean water. People take the water they need for cooking, for personal hygiene or for drinking mainly from distant wells or open, small and heavily polluted water points. In addition, there is not enough water available during the dry season, which can last up to 5 months. The pupils, who usually fetch the water for the family before school, have to cover long distances during this time.
At the end of 2017, a well was drilled in Kabaale-Ssanje by the national water supplier to ensure the water supply. After a visit to the village at the end of 2019, we unfortunately found out that this project is no longer being pursued. The newly built well was also not adequately secured, so that its later functionality is endangered. In the future it is planned to connect the village to the public water network. At what time this will happen is not clear.
Until Kabaale is connected to the public network, water should be made available to the school by collecting rainwater. In order to create better conditions and a safe place to study for the children, the following measures should be taken:
- Fencing of the school grounds so that the cattle grazing in the area stay away from the classroom buildings
- Set up water tanks beside the school buildings to catch the rainwater
- Renewing the roof surfaces to ensure that no pollutants enter the water through the roof surfaces
- Attaching rain gutters and installing a so-called “first flush” system
- Plastering the outer walls of the school buildings in order to make them more weather-resistant
- Setting up water filters to provide water for drinking
- Set up hand washing stations for the necessary hygiene after the toilet and before eating
On site we work with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) called Celebrate Hope Ministries. The project partner is very familiar with the local area and takes over the communication between us and the local people. More information about the NGO can be found at www.celebratehopeministries.com. Through a long-term cooperation with the project partner, we know that we can trust him completely and that the project can be implemented well even without our presence.
The aim of the project is to provide the children with clean water and thus to create better learning conditions. We also hope that this will help reduce waterborne diseases and that the children are less likely to be absent from school due to illnesses.
For the sustainability of the project, training courses with the children and teachers on the subject of “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)” as well as water quality and water tests are to be carried out. We hope that the knowledge imparted there will continue to be carried into the families. Furthermore, only locally customary materials and manufacturing techniques are used, for which the necessary know-how is available.