Every year, over 4,000 children in Uganda die from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Diarrheal disease is caused by pathogens ingested from unsafe water or contaminated food and hands. 88% of cases of diarrheal disease can be prevented with the use of safe drinking water and improved hygiene and sanitation.
This bad health impacts the education of children. In Uganda, primary school completion rate is only 40%. Lack of access to WASH facilities contributes majorly to why children are dropping out of school. Children will leave their studies due to water-borne disease, caring for sick family members, need to collect water and inadequate facilities for menstruating girls.
With dirty pit latrine toilets that lack privacy, no sanitary pads, limited personal cleaning facilities, a lot of social stigma and no safe disposal of used cloths, girls will miss school due to the shame and difficulty of having a period. Many girls will use newspaper and rags which they then have to carry with them once used until they can dispose of them after school. This is unhygienic, embarrassing and causing many girls to miss out on an education.
All these barriers to education contribute towards the 20% illiteracy rate.
Without change, this is a self-perpetuating cycle. It is within school that children are able to learn life-saving information about good hygiene practices yet in sickness, they cannot attend school. WASH helps children stay in school; education provides a path out of extreme poverty and increases productivity and lifetime earnings.
With improved facilities in schools, better knowledge of hygiene practices and improved access to clean water at home and school, fewer children will be burdened with diseases and sanitation issues preventing them from an education.
What is International Needs going to do?:
There would be 272 million more school attendance days per year around the world with improved WASH facilities. We want to help all children access education in Buikwe.