WASH-Programm Alebtong -  Visions4Children

WASH-Programm Alebtong

Alebtong, Uganda
Projectstart: 2023

Donation status: 337.954 €

Goal: 568.800 €

Donation status: 337.954 €

Goal: 568.800 €

After the first WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) program started in Otuke District in 2022, August 2023 marks the start of the project in the Alebtong region. At seven schools in rural northern Uganda, the project aims to improve hygiene standards, promote menstrual hygiene, educate about mental health issues and develop sustainable school structures with the help of various workshops.


The Alebtong region in northern Uganda is characterized by a weak infrastructure. Some of the inhabitants of the 547 villages live very isolated lives. Most families earn their own livelihoods and depend on the economic returns from animal husbandry and the sale of their home-grown products; child labor is part of everyday life here.

Due to past conflicts – northern Uganda suffered from a 20-year civil war until 2008 – and the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, life expectancy is low. High levels of financial poverty and large numbers of orphans characterize the region. Poor or no water and sanitation facilities and inadequate educational infrastructure and facilities exacerbate the precarious situation.




The supported schools are among the most financially disadvantaged, as the education authority only supports them with basic expenses such as teachers’ salaries. Class sizes reach numbers of up to 180 students.

The hygienic standards of the schools are in a more than inadequate condition, which leads to female students in particular staying away from classes due to their menstruation. There are currently between 108 and 213 students per latrine. These latrines are dilapidated and cannot be emptied, which is why they can no longer be used. Facilities for washing hands are not available.


School meals cannot be offered to the students, as none of the schools has an oven. Access to fresh water is available at most schools, but the existing wells are dilapidated, so the water available to students and teachers is brownish. All of this means that students are less able to concentrate, or even stay away from class altogether, as they are not provided with food or drink during a long day.




The Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in elementary school in Uganda being closed for almost 2 years, further exacerbating the precarious education situation. Remote learning is out of the question because most families do not have access to learning and educational materials, let alone adequate equipment for online instruction. They often rely on their children’s labor, which is why many children did not even return to schools for classes after the pandemic. One statistical model predicts an education deficit of 2.8 years for Ugandan students. Girls are often hit even harder: many more boys than girls are enrolled in school. The illiteracy rate for girls aged 15 and older is about 26%, while that for boys is “only” 16%. (Worldbank, as of 2021) Particularly in the context of the pandemic-related school closures, the rate of teenage pregnancies in Uganda increased very sharply – too often in the context of sexualized violence. In 2020 and 2021, a total of over 733,000 teenage pregnancies were recorded in the country, including nearly 200,000 in the first six months of 2021 (UNFPA 2021, 2022).



The conflicts described above and the accompanying post-traumatic experiences as well as challenges such as hunger, HIV and Covid-19 have a strong impact on the mental health of students in Uganda. Mental illness is therefore prevalent in school regions, but usually goes undiagnosed or unaddressed due to a lack of information and knowledge. Although the topic of mental health is supposed to be addressed in the classroom since 2022 according to Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports, the necessary funding, qualified personnel and prioritization are lacking. As a result, mental illness often goes undetected and students do not receive adequate care, which leads to students staying away from class or even dropping out of school.

Our solution approach

The project addresses three key issues: Improving hygienic standards, increasing students’ knowledge of sexual maturity, puberty and menstruation, and promoting sustainable school structures.


In order to improve the hygienic situation at the schools, two blocks of drainable, barrier-free latrines are being built at each of the seven project schools, with an additional washroom integrated into the latrine blocks for girls, which can be used during their periods. Each block also provides hand-washing facilities. In addition, a handwashing facility and well will be built at each school, providing access to groundwater for the communities.


Within the framework of various workshops, the topics of hygiene and virus prevention are explained to the children and young adults. For older girls and boys, additional workshops on menstrual hygiene and puberty are held to educate them on the topics of sexual maturity and the associated possibility of pregnancy. The workshop also teaches students how to make their own reusable pads from simple materials. Breaking down taboos and imparting knowledge throughout the student body helps ensure that students are not absent from class because of their period and are not put at an educational disadvantage. Various workshops on the topics of mental health and inclusion are aimed at students, parents and teachers in order to identify medical conditions at an early stage and thus protect mental health and promote inclusion.

In order to provide holistic information on the subject of mental health, the students, their parents and teachers take part in workshops in which they learn about the triggers of mental illnesses, ways and methods of dealing with them and how they can protect their mental health. Teachers are also trained to recognize mental illness in students, how to deal with those affected and what appropriate steps should be taken. Within the workshop, a program is designed at each school, together with the teaching staff, which will ensure the care of those affected in the future. The approximately 1050 students of the seven schools practice their self-defense in various exercises to prevent (sexual) assaults.


In order to promote sustainable school structures, we are working with the local project partner LTP (Link to Progress) to strengthen the school management committees and the parent-teacher committees. In various workshops, parents and teachers can learn measures to improve the school, including the maintenance and management of the new wells. The introduction of school meals is also a central topic. Meals at school help students concentrate on their studies or even participate in class. This increases the incentive for parents to send their children to school if they receive a meal there.

What has been achieved so far

Official project start in Uganda

In August, the WASH program will start at seven schools in northern Uganda. The aim of the program is to improve hygienic standards, menstrual hygiene and promote sustainable school structures.

Further educational projects

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