Our School Challenge Project & Covid-19
Greetings School Challenge Project participants! Given the current global pandemic and mass lockdown of many countries, we wanted to give an extra update to let you know how your project is going. Poor health care infrastructure in some African countries is making them particularly susceptible to the coronavirus; but the nation of Uganda, with a population of almost 45 million people, has reported less than 65 confirmed cases so far! Experts say its experience with previous viral outbreaks, such as Ebola, meant it was already prepared for this pandemic. To date, there have been no reported Covid-19 cases in Western Uganda, which has allowed our local partner, the Rukungiri Women’s Integrated Development Foundation (RWIDF), to continue their project work. RWIDF was able to train all students and staff at both Kabasoni Catholic and Kafuka Primary Schools by the end of February, and continued to facilitate maintenance training and WASH Committee training until the lockdown began in Uganda on March 31st. Even throughout the lockdown, the Ugandan Government has highly supported local organizations involved in the construction/rehabilitation of water and sanitation projects to continue their critical work to help the most vulnerable communities prepare for the virus. However, we wanted to ensure the safety of our local partner and of the students and staff, so we delayed project work the past 3 weeks while we have been closely monitoring the evolving situation in Uganda. The most recent update indicates that the lockdown will be lifted on May 5th. It is our hope that RWIDF can return to the two schools at this time to facilitate an experience-sharing workshop for the students and staff, as well as a final evaluation of the project and it’s immediate/intermediate impact(s).
Be sure to check this page for our next update, and remember – WASH your hands!!
You have been working hard, and so have we!
We have just returned from a monitoring trip to Western Uganda where we evaluated the project work completed to date, and are excited to share details directly from the students you have been fundraising for! Keep up the great work, and remember to send your donations in to Ryan’s Well Foundation.
Here’s a pic of some students at Kabasoni Catholic Primary School who wanted to say ‘Agandi’ (hello)!
The construction part of the School Challenge project has been completed by the Rukungiri Women’s Integrated Development Foundation (RWIDF) team! Kabasoni Catholic Primary School received two 4-stance latrines (one set of 4 toilets for the boy students and one set for the girl students) and one, large rain water harvesting tank to provide safe water for the students and staff. Kafuka Primary School also received their rain water harvesting tank, and have been using it since students returned to class in February.
Fun fact: did you know students in Uganda have a 3-month holiday from November to February instead of a summer break? This means the children still need to participate in WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) training sessions now that they have returned to school. For example, some of the students are still practicing open defecation in the nearby bushes, but WASH training will teach them why sanitation matters. However, change does not happen over night, and evidence proves that WASH clubs in the schools are critical to improve long-term hygiene and sanitation behaviour change, and act as an inclusive way to re-enhance the WASH lessons on an annual basis.
Meet Hillary Arinaitwe!
He is 8 years old, and attends Kabasoni Catholic Primary school. When asked how he feels about the new water tank, he said he’s happy he and his classmates won’t have to walk in the morning before classes to fetch water. Hillary’s mother, Katsushabe Mauda, said:
“I hope Hillary will get the chance of excelling now that he has the time to concentrate!”
Don’t forget to send in your donation!
The project is close to completion, but the hard work continues for us to reach our fundraising goal of $45,867 CAD. Let us know if you have any questions, keep sending us photos from your own fundraising initiatives, and be sure to check out our website for new and exciting fundraising ideas!
‘Agandi’ (hello) from Western Uganda! While you’ve been hard at work fundraising in your own country, Ryan’s Well Foundation and the Rukungiri Women’s Integrated Development Foundation (RWIDF), have been busy working in Western Uganda. We started our project work in October by mobilizing the 8 selected primary schools, and got them excited about their new water source and upcoming WASH education training. We then selected student and staff leaders to form ‘WASH Clubs,’ which will ensure our newly built water and sanitation services will be properly managed and taken care of for many years to come. As we continue our WASH training, including live demonstrations of how to properly wash your hands with soap and water, our Uganda team, RWIDF, are also continuing construction at Kabasoni Catholic Primary School. This school is receiving two 4-stance latrines (one for the boy students and one for the girl students) and one rain water harvesting tank to provide safe water for 501 students and staff.
As you can see from the photos, we still have some work to do at Kabasoni Catholic Primary School, including construction of the water jar for handwashing, and then the RWIDF team can move to Kafuka Primary School in about two weeks to begin constructing their rain water harvesting tank. There have been a few weather-related delays with this project (heavy rains have made some of the roads inaccessible at times), but we are still on-track for a June 2020 completion date. BUT until the project is done, students and staff from Kabasoni Catholic Primary School and Kafuka Primary School, and their surrounding communities, are having to collect and drink water from extremely dirty sources (like rivers, streams or ponds). Here is a photo of some students from Kabasoni Catholic Primary School fetching water for their school use.
The hard work continues, both locally and in Uganda, as there are still many people to help! Let us know if you have any questions, keep sending us photos from your fundraising initiatives, and be sure to check out our website for new and fun fundraising ideas!
In Western Uganda, students are often required to travel long distances during class time to collect water for use at school. This burden of collecting water disproportionality falls on women and children, especially girls, who typically spend 1-2 hours per day collecting contaminated water. For many schools in this area, children take alternate morning classes off to collect water for the school, thus missing 25% of their education annually. As a result, many students fall behind in their studies, and are not provided with equal learning opportunities. Apart from the time spent fetching water, the water collected comes from rivers, and often carries water-borne diseases, including cholera, dysentery, and diarrhoea. This contamination is caused by a lack of proper sanitation and hygiene behaviours, including poor human waste disposal, which is then washed into river streams and valleys during the rainy season. Without access to safe water and clean toilets, many unhygienic situations occur, causing young students to become sick and miss school. The absence of sufficient sanitation services and hygiene training most negatively affects girls because they are inadequately educated about reproductive health and how to manage their menses; without knowing how to make or use a sanitary napkin during their menstrual cycle, many girls are forced to stay home for one week every month, missing another 25% of their annual education.
It is for these reasons that Ryan’s Well Foundation has partnered with Rukungiri Women’s Integrate Development Foundation (RWIDF) in Western Uganda for this year’s School Challenge project. This School Challenge project aims to support development in poor, rural schools by improving access to clean water and sanitation services, thus allowing students to stay in school. This will be accomplished by providing two vulnerable primary schools with rain water harvesting tanks, and one primary school with two 4-stance latrines, one for the male students and one for the females, along with accompanying handwashing jars. In addition to these two primary schools, another six schools in this region will be mobilized and receive critical WASH training. This will significantly improve the learning environments at these eight primary schools, allowing students to remain in school longer and, ideally, reduce poverty in this region. This project will inform the students, teachers, staff, parents, and surrounding community members on the importance and advantages of using simple techniques and readily available resources to manage their water sources and reduce water-related sickness.
We Can’t Do It Without Your Help!
The teacher or group leader must fill out the following form to join the School Challenge: