A Good Education Begins With Access To Safe Water And Proper Sanitation

Effective provision of basic services can contribute to state legitimacy and is vital for poverty reduction. There is a general consensus that improving community involvement and increasing accountability of service providers to their constituencies is a good way to improve service delivery outcomes. Community participation in service delivery significantly enhances the responsiveness and accountability of service providers to community members.

UWONET has facilitated community led monitoring visits for community members to learn about government programmes available in their localities. Through these monitoring visits the community members have been at the fore front of demanding for the required and better service delivery in their communities.

During the preparations for the 2012 16 Days of Activism against Violence Against Women/Girls (VAW/G) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Pajule Sub County, Pader District, Wangdugu Primary School was reserved as the celebration point for the launch. A pre-visit to Wangdugu Primary School revealed that the school did not have any source of water except a seasonal well which served the community and the school as well. The organizing committee then proposed to have the celebration point moved to another sub county. When the Pajule Sub County Community Watchdogs heard about the new changes they mobilized other concerned community members to discuss a way forward. The community members and watchdogs decided to write a letter to the sub county chief seeking budgetary / resource allocation towards drilling a new bore hole at Wangdugu Primary School.

Meeting with Pupils

Before submitting the letter, the watchdogs visited the school and prepared a report highlighting the situational analysis. “We used strategies borrowed from the advocacy training conducted by UWONET” a watchdog noted. The report highlighted that lack of water had serious effects on the pupils’ academic performance and attendance rates. For girls, the situation was especially worrying. Without water at the latrines, girls were dropping out once they reached puberty. Further, it was typically the responsibility of the girls to fetch water for school use thus limiting their time in class. With the many additional burdens that the lack of water was creating, education was simply becoming less of a priority. Beyond the seasonal well the pupils had to go to the nearby Palenga parish to fetch clean water which was about 5km.

“We mobilized and decided to write a letter to the district chairperson based on the need for water in the school to enhance learning of the pupils, the 16days of activism gave us an opportunity to further make demands for water service delivery in the sub county” Lilly Aryemo the group leader noted. Prior to the launch, the sub county chief in consultation with the other Leaders approved the rehabilitation of the borehole at Wangdugu Primary School which had taken over three years when broken-down. Thanks to the community monitors, the launch of 16 Days was hosted at Wangdugu Primary School and the borehole was rehabilitated. The community watchdogs have also reported improved performance of the pupils and increased attendance rates than before.

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