Barmwony Primary School
Barmwony Primary School is located in Oyam, an economically very weak area in northern Uganda. The majority of pupils come from socially underprivileged families. The unemployment rate in the region is 93% and, as in other parts of the country, child labor is part of everyday life. The approximately 1,253 pupils at the elementary school learn without any electricity or water supply, and the school’s sanitary facilities are in a desolate state. These conditions make a concentrated learning atmosphere almost impossible. Together with our partner organization Link to Progress (LTP), we have therefore planned the construction of new latrines, a hand-washing facility and a new school building. The existing classrooms will also be renovated and refurnished.
Around 1,253 pupils aged 6-13 are registered at Barmwony Primary School – around 525 girls and 728 boys. 13 employed teachers teach the children in classes with an average of around 180 pupils. The school is located in an economically weak area. Most pupils come from socially underprivileged families with a low level of education. The inhabitants of the village work mainly as farmers, provided they have a regular job. As in other parts of Uganda, child labor is part of everyday life in this district.
The school consists of a building financed by the Ugandan government in 2002 with 7 classrooms, a bookshop and three residential buildings for the teaching staff. As these were not sufficient, the parents built two more temporary teachers’ dormitories. In rural regions of Uganda, teacher accommodation at schools is common, as teachers would otherwise miss lessons due to long and often poorly developed service routes.
LACK OF SPACE WORSENS THE LEARNING ATMOSPHERE
The acute lack of space in 7 classrooms for 1,253 pupils not only leads to an enormous loss of concentration, but also makes it impossible to teach the pupils efficiently. As a result, they do not learn necessary basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. A vicious circle develops: the reputation of schools and education in general declines. In addition, the teachers do not have the space to prepare and follow up lessons. The employees also have no rooms in which they can attend to the concerns of the school management. As a result, the concerns of pupils and parents fall by the wayside and there are hardly any suitable organizational structures.
UNHYGIENIC SANITARY FACILITIES LEAD TO SCHOOL DROPOUTS
There are 9 latrines for all pupils and the school’s 15 employees, four of which are for girls and five for boys. However, the latrines are in such a desolate and unhygienic condition that they cannot be used. The borehole that was dug for a well has also collapsed and is now unusable – but if it were intact, it would provide clean groundwater. This makes basic hygiene almost impossible while attending school. Although this affects all pupils, girls in particular are denied hygienic and therefore safe school attendance during their menstruation.
After several on-site visits to the school by our partner organization LTP and discussions with the school management and teaching staff, we came to the conclusion that the school urgently needed support. The school’s greatest current needs are adequate sanitary facilities and a hand-washing facility.
There are two main focuses in the implementation of the project: the renovation of the existing seven classrooms and the construction of a school building with four classrooms and an office room, including an integrated water supply system with rain gutters and a water tank. The second central focus is the construction of single cubicle latrines that can be emptied in two blocks and a hand-washing facility.
THE CONSTRUCTION MEASURES ARE ACCOMPANIED BY WORKSHOPS.
WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) workshops are planned following the construction work. They are designed to teach children how to handle water and the importance of hygiene in a playful way. Through small exercises, the pupils should, for example, go through the entire hygienic process of going to the toilet, washing their hands afterwards or brushing their teeth properly and thus internalize them better.
COVID-19 educational work is also planned for all pupils, teachers and staff at the school. There will also be a workshop on menstrual hygiene and puberty for older pupils. They learn how to make their own bandages from simple materials. This workshop should indirectly help to ensure that female students are not absent from lessons due to their period and do not receive an educational disadvantage. During the workshops, a WASH committee is set up and responsibilities for maintaining and monitoring the sanitary facilities are transferred to the students.
We will also be offering a finance and savings workshop for parents. The school management committee is also trained through a workshop on how to effectively request help from the education authorities. Subsequently, student committees are established on the topics of hygiene and school maintenance. An evaluation of the project implementation will take place at the end of the project.
OUR LOCAL PARTNER - LINK TO PROGESS
LTP is an NGO registered in Uganda and was founded in 2008. The main focus of LTP is to provide vulnerable communities in Uganda with basic hygiene infrastructure, access to basic education and quality learning. LTP monitors, documents, supervises and evaluates the entire construction process. The workshops are also organized directly by LTP.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED SO FAR
THE CONSTRUCTION WORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED!
After just six months, the seven classrooms have been completely renovated and the newly built latrine blocks are gleaming in their final coat of paint!
IT'S GOING AHEAD!
Following the excavation work for the latrine blocks, the foundations and pillars for the foundation walls have already been poured. The inner wall of the latrines has been smoothed with cement and the concrete ceiling wall is also in place! Great progress can also be seen in the renovation of the classrooms.
THINGS CONTINUE AT BARMWONY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Construction work on the follow-up project is progressing: in addition to the planned renovation of the seven classrooms that are still in a state of disrepair, ten additional latrines with an integrated washroom for girls are also being built. The excavation work for the latrine blocks has already taken place.
REASON TO CELEBRATE
The premises were handed over to Barmwony Primary School. This enabled the construction of a new school building with four classrooms and an office room, including an integrated water supply, drainable latrines, a hand-washing facility and a well, to be implemented as planned.
FRESH COAT OF PAINT
Despite the ongoing lockdown and restrictions, construction work was able to continue. The hand-washing facility has already been completed and the latrines and the new classrooms only need to be cleaned and the buildings painted.
FOUNTAIN IN OPERATION
The newly built well was put into operation. At the beginning of the project, the borehole that was dug for a well had collapsed and was unusable.
COMPLETION OF THE FOUNDATION WORK & START OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE SANITARY FACILITIES
The construction work continues to progress. Now that the foundation work for the new classroom building has been completed, the walls are already being diligently raised. In addition, excavations for the new sanitary facilities have already taken place. Two blocks of emptiable latrines in individual cubicles and a hand-washing facility are being built here.
COOPERATION TALKS ON SITE
During our trip to Uganda in June 2019, we held initial discussions about the project with our project partner LTP.