NGO to promote hand washing in Mbale schools after heavy rains   

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By Judith Amusugut, Step FM/NECJOGHA

Mbale, Uganda – Following the recent heavy rains that have devastated many parts of the country including the Bugisu sub region, a nongovernmental organisation Native Kids’ Education Centre in Lwangoli Lower Village, Busoba Subcounty, Mbale district is to start promoting Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) services in schools around Mbale.

Heavy rains are usually followed by outbreak of disease like cholera, dysentery and typhoid which are due to poor hygiene.

The Director of the NGO, Mukiibi Rajab said the key benefits of WASH in schools include:  protective home environment minimizing the risk of disease, abuse and exclusion, promote gender equity leading to high girls’ school attendance and retention, discourage habit of defecation in open and investment in health and well-being of future generation.

“We did a survey and found out that most schools do not practice WASH and its worse in Lwangoli community with only 65% homes having drinking water facilities,20% households either without latrines or dysfunctional latrines, 41% wash their hands using only water and 12% households have soap or detergent available at their hand washing space,” Mukiibi explained.

He adds that if people are healthy for instance if they all have pit latrines, washing hand places and cleaning their homes and surrounding environments, money which is being used to pay for treatment can be saved to do other things for development and hence empowering the youth and children to come into adulthood as independent and contributing members in the society.

Ezra Masolaki working with another NGO called Mbale Coalition Against Poverty says they will help to address so many things like environment and poverty reduction so that people stop practicing peasant farming just for food but engage in commercial agriculture.

‘We want people to also adopt agro forestry a type farming where trees are grown with food which builds the resilience of farmers against the stress of climate change and drought and if grown together they can help crops like coffee to withstand the sun.

Kusolo Fred, the chairman Mbale WASH coalition, which has been initiated to promote water and sanitation and hygiene in the district, says they have to ensure that communities have safe water and health. He urged the communities to copy the practices through participation since as it helps to identify the inner problems and by the time they start with children next year, homes should be already practicing it.

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