Willy Grace Canifua lives in Atido Village in Nebbi District, Uganda. He is married with 11 children (6 girls and 5 boys).
Signpost International, working in partnership with ARUWE (Action for Rural Women’s Education), has been able to install a borehole and new latrine facility at Avubu Primary School. This was accompanied with training and awareness raising in menstrural health hygiene and water and sanitation.
Willy shares the impact that the new latrine facility and borehole has had on his family and community.
What was life life before your involvement with the project?
I was the first head teacher of this school. I’m retired now. I live in the school’s neighbourhood.
We always had a challenge of obtaining clean and safe water for drinking. I have 4 children that study from this school. We have also always had a challenge of pit latrines as the ones that we (school and parents) built would not take long before they would get filled up.
This is a government aided school but the government had failed to support the school due to overwhelming priorities with limited budget. One would think that, access to water and sanitation is a basic right and priority especially for our children but they could not afford to improve the situations and for most community members.
We had no other options for schools to send our children but to Avubu. It was sad because the school environment was not appealing to them to stay in school. 1 of my adolescent girls had to stay home during her menstruation period as she had no access to a safe latrine. Interacting with the teachers, they mentioned that this was a common issue especially for girls in upper classes and this affected their regular attendance.
How has life changed?
My children are now excited to go to school and keep in school daily. This means that there is more regular attendance among pupils and retention. My girls told me that now, their school is safe because they have a safe private sanitation facility.
My family has benefited from the borehole that was constructed by ARUWE. We get to drink water which is clean and safe for drinking. We do not have to worry about suffering from illnesses like diarrhoea.
What improvements have you seen?
My children now go to school on time as they do not have to move around the village looking for water for home use. They just go to the borehole to fetch the water that is needed for the day.
Generally, the children are now clean in their uniforms. In one way, this boosts their confidence. The cleanliness is as a result of the accessible water from the borehole that was bult in the community. My children can now wash their uniforms anytime they want to because access to water is not a problem any more.
What effect has this programme had on you, your family and your community?
I have witnessed unity and realized the benefits of working together. You know ARUWE involved us the parents right from the start. My family and I are no longer worried about how we can access clean water for drinking. When water is lacking in a home or any social setting, it is very difficult for other activities/ chores to be carried out well.
What other major issues does your community face?
I think that we should look at finding ways to preserve food to consume during the long dry spell. You see, when the question of feeding is sorted, the other needs or problems are easy to handle/ solve.