WASH in Uganda
Back in 2018, Rotary International and the Rotary Club of Uganda approached The WASH Foundation and asked us to provide a WASH-in-Schools and WASH-in-Healthcare Centers education program to the town of Merikit in Uganda to memorialize the beloved Rotary International President-Elect, Samuel Owori, who passed away unexpectedly before he could accept and serve his appointed term.
In honor of Mr. Owori, it was decided that this program would take place in his home district of Tororo, and, upon suggestion from the Municipal Water Director, our sights were set on the community of Merikit: the most water-stressed sub-county in Tororo.
Through this large-scale partnership, the Rotary Club will provide improved water access and latrines to six community schools serving approximately 4,000 students and one healthcare center with a catchment area of about 15,255 people. The WASH Foundation will then provide a 9-month education program that will be taught to local teachers and healthcare center workers so they can continue to sustainably demonstrate the close connection between good health, hygiene, and sanitation practices through proper WASH, for generations to come.
Before the launch of the program, it was important to gain the approval of local leadership at every level and understand not only the needs of the community of Merikit, but what improvement projects were previously conducted and whether they were successful or not, and why. So, this past week, our Executive Director, Sam Stephens, and Director of Programs, Steffani Fields, arrived in Eastern Uganda to meet with local leadership and visit each school and the healthcare center to gain a better understanding of their individual needs.
Upon arrival, they were greeted with many questions and, ultimately, open arms.
A meeting was held at the district level and included the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, the municipal water department and local district-level representatives. Next, a meeting at the community level included local school district authorities who will receive the project, the director of the healthcare facility, youth counselors, village health team members, the area health inspector, district heads, and the coordinator of public and private schools. These important meetings provided the community leaders with a chance to ask their questions and gain a full understanding of The WASH Foundation’s role in this comprehensive project.
Our team returned home with fresh ideas in their minds and hope in their hearts. So now we’re off to work! As we prepare for the program to begin along with the new school session in May, we are so very excited for the opportunity to serve the beautiful community of Merikit, Uganda.
Be on the lookout for more pictures and updates in the coming months and be sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all things The WASH Foundation.
We would like to say a special thank you to the Rotary Club of Kampala and the Ugandan Rotary Team for their support and the chance to work in memory of Samuel Owori.
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