By Adiga Julius.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency and UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – have launched a five year programme to scale up water, sanitation and hygiene services in schools in Karamoja.
The programme will be executed until 2022, benefitting 56,000 children from 100 schools in all Karamoja districts – Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Napak and Nakapiripirit.
The interventions will be implemented by UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Education and Sports and the seven District Local Governments of the Karamoja region.
“The Government of Korea is proud to partner with UNICEF and the Government of Uganda to provide safe water, adequate sanitation and effective hygiene services to tens of thousands of vulnerable school-going children in Karamoja,” said His Excellency, the Korean Ambassador to Uganda, Kim You-Churl.
“This grant will help to improve the school environment of all 100 schools targeted, thereby helping Uganda achieve many of its Sustainable Development Goal and NDP 2 targets.”
By the end of the programme, all selected schools will have a comprehensive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services package, including school latrines, a solar powered water system and handwashing facilities.
This package will help schools in Karamoja meet the recommended national standard of one latrine for every 40 pupils, up from the current ratio of one latrine for every 70 students in Karamoja.
It will also reduce the distance that children have to cover to access safe water to within 500 meters, a significant reduction from the more than 30 minutes it presently takes the majority of children across Uganda to access safe water.
“This grant will help the more than 50,000 children attending these schools to stay in school as well improve their learning outcomes. It will also help to improve the school health environment, thereby reducing the likelihood of a spread of contagious diseases,” said Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda.
“UNICEF is very grateful to the people of Korea for this contribution, which will help lift some of the poorest children in Uganda out of debilitating poverty; where they are deprived of many of the basic services and rights they need to develop to their full potential.”
Other interventions of the programme include: provision of life skills education for girls, including menstrual hygiene management; social mobilization campaigns to accelerate positive behavior change among individuals and broader social change among communities; and district-level advocacy.
The overall programme contribution is worth 37 billion UGX (10 million USD), with nearly 30 billion UGX from the Korea International Cooperation Agency and 7 billion UGX contributed by UNICEF.