A new campaign to enhance empowerment of local people to demand and promote sanitation in the eastern and northern districts has been launched. The initiative by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash)United- Uganda is seeking to increase latrine coverage and empower the local people to demand for easy access to safe water because it is their right. Working in four districts of Kibuku in the east, Gulu and Lira in the north as well as Kampala in the central, the project is aimed at averting diseases resulting from improper disposal of human waste and lack of safe water. “People have been very reluctant and little or no attention was put on hygiene, water and sanitation. People could go to latrines that have no hand washing facilities like a small jerrycan and soap while many others did not know the importance and application of the hygiene facilities,” says Francis Opande, the project coordinator, Kibuku Youth Wash Association said.
He says other people do not have toilets and are using polythene bags in their houses which they throw in the wee hours of the night on the road side, dust bins, bushes while others dump them in the neighbourhood. Opande says the campaign started in primary schools as first priority because most of the schools do not have washing facilities; “But also school children can easily spread the message of hygiene to their homes.”Wash United uses football-based games to educate children about the importance of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene and facilitate behaviour change.
“World Toilet Cup is a WASH United trademark game that allows both children and adults to approach the touchy issue of sanitation in a fun way. Through the game, participants learn about the crucial importance of sanitation for health, safety, the environment, prosperity and dignity,” says Opande.
“Participants make an effort to tackle the sanitation crisis by kicking as many brown “poo-balls” as possible where they belong – into toilets and latrines. Players who aim particularly well can win a Wash United team shirt.” says Ms Annet Tamale, an activist with Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (Uwasnet), the project coordinators. She argues that washing hands with only water is not good enough because one needs a good scrub with water and soap if they want to get rid of all the germs.
Source: Juliet Kigongo, Daily Monitor, 12 August 2010