The WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) program is launching a project at seven government elementary schools to improve hygiene standards, menstrual hygiene and promote sustainable school structures, including various workshops. The seven project schools are located in Otuke district, a rural area in northern Uganda where the infrastructure in education and the supply of water and electricity has come to a partial standstill as a result of conflicts.
Most of the approximately 6,000 students come from financially weak families with a low level of education. They learn at the schools without electricity and three out of seven schools are even without water supply. Sanitary facilities are lacking and those that are available are in a desolate condition. For instance, 430 children share one sink and 78 children share one toilet. These circumstances make school attendance considerably more difficult, especially for girls.
The project addresses three key issues: Improving hygienic standards, increasing students' knowledge of sexual maturity, puberty and menstruation, and promoting sustainable school structures. The improvement of hygienic standards is achieved through the provision of a water supply, hygienic sanitary facilities, and knowledge transfer. Knowledge on menstrual hygiene, puberty and the female cycle as well as on school maintenance will be taught in workshops.
Access to drinking water as well as hygienic sanitary facilities have a positive long-term effect on the health and concentration of the children. In addition, school absences are prevented, especially for girls who previously stayed away from school during their period. This increases the children's well-being and the quality of their school education and improves their prospects for the future.