The welcome at Wera primary school was awesome. The 800 children ran towards us like a happy blue wave. We heard the welcome song and then listened to the speeches under the trees. I could tell that children were more alert, engaged and cleaner than those at Ojolai.
The school is government run, but with the help of WaterAid they now have a school borehole and some sparkly new latrines. The standard of construction was platinum in comparison to Ojolai School. Inclusive latrines were available for boys and girls too. It clearly demonstrated to me that the presence of water and sanitation facilities at a school is of massive benefit to education.
The school had a sanitation teacher and messages on the walls. The children knew the importance of good hygiene and the older ones teach the younger ones and take the messages home to their families. I watched the girls make reusable sanitary pads under the supervision of the male sanitation teacher.I asked him about it - there is no taboo about menstruation in Uganda. It is openly discussed and a big issue for education. If there are no facilities to change then girls miss school during their period, which can often lead to them dropping out altogether as parents are still paying for the time they miss.
I could see that school was clearly under resourced, but the benefits provided by a water source, latrines and sanitation education are invaluable. Sanitation underpins education and without it the children cannot properly engage.
|Meeting the children at Wera Primary School|