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Clean Water Access Boosts Learning in Karamoja Schools :: Uganda Radionetwork

Clean Water Access Boosts Learning in Karamoja Schools

Before the interventions, the girls who lacked access to safe water and sanitation faced significant at school which contributed to absenteeism and poor performances.
Pokot Secondary School girls fetching water from one of the facility established by KOICA project

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Access to clean water facilities has in the past couple of years boosted learning and sanitation in the schools of Karamoja sub region.

The schools received fully solar - powered motorized systems from UNICEF supported WASH program funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to address the challenge of water crisis and boost learning especially for girls.

Before the interventions, the girls who lacked access to safe water and sanitation could face significant challenges at school which greatly contributed to absenteeism and poor performance.

But with the availability of safe water and sanitation, the learners testified that they have got enough time to attend the entire class lesson that has improved on their performances at school.

Sophie Nambozo, a student at Pokot secondary school in Amudat district told URN that when the school lacked water facilities, they were responsible for collecting water for preparing meals at school and for their personal use.

Nambozo noted that this was collected from four kilometers away from school and this could expose them into danger mostly to drunkards who always target them for sex.

She said the water facility has made the school environment very conducive for them and their personal hygiene has greatly improved.

Nambozo said they are also able to wash their uniforms regularly adding that gone are the days when they would only wash during weekends if there is water.

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Epifany Alakara, a pupil at Kotido Army primary school said that the water facility has helped to save their time that was used for collecting water from far distant places.

Alakara recalls that they used to spend more than two hours away from school looking for water which affected the classwork.

She said that since water was extended to their school compound, they are able to manage the menstrual hygiene and attend all the classes.

‘’Since we got clean water, we can now practice good hygiene and our meals are cooked and served in time unlike those days when they would send us to look for water outside the school’’ Alakara explained.

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Irene Adokorach, a senior woman teacher at Pokot Secondary School said she encountered many challenges in managing the discipline of girls when the school used to lack water.

Adokorach noted that there was poor sanitation among the girls especially in their dormitories and during the menstruation periods where girls could use sand for cleaning the blood stain on the floor.

She said the water facility has now eased her work and is managing the adolescent girls who were taking advantage of water stress at school to engage in dubious activities.

Adokorach said during those days, they could send girls to go and fetch water but in the process some of them would branch off for "their own missions".

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Robinson Opio, the head teacher of Kotido Army Primary School said the water has enabled the school to start its own vegetable gardens which provides a changing diet for the learners.

Opio said the girls used to abscond from the classes due to menstruation but with more than enough water in the school, many girls have picked interest to come back to school.

He said that sometimes when the whole municipality is hit with a water crisis, they are able to supply water whenever there is a crisis in town and the money is used for maintaining the water system and paying support staff in school.

Moses Jino, the head teacher of Lokitelaebu primary school in Kotido district says girls used to drop out of school at the onset of menstruation  because the facilities were poor.

Jino says the water system has increased the enrollment of the school from 700 to over 1,000 pupils and others are still reporting.

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John Paul Kedi, the Kotido district water officer, observed that water scarcity and drought are worsening despite government interventions to preserve catchment areas.

Kedi said the water supply is low because there are no perennial water bodies and the only source of water is boreholes which also get affected during drought.

He also revealed that there has been competition for borehole water between livestock and human beings which makes the preservation very difficult.

//Cue in : ‘’Kotido as  a district……..//

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In 2019, UNICEF with support from KOICA selected 88 primary and 12 secondary schools to benefit from the water and sanitation facilities in Karamoja sub region.