By Joseph Baguma
Head teachers of Government aided primary schools in Masindi district have expressed their concerns over having scarcity of pit latrines at schools they are manning and that in near future, pupils and teachers may resort going to the bushes to ease themselves if government does not intervene immediately.
Most of the head teachers say that, there is low latrine coverage compared to big pupils’ enrollment while others have their latrines filled up.
Elizabeth Nyamahunge, the head teacher of Kisindizi primary school said that their five stance pit latrine got filled up with water in December 2015. “We have a total enrollment of over 450 pupils and over 10 teachers but we have a five stance pit latrines which we share with both teachers and pupils and this is big challenge.” She said.
Nyamahunge appealed to government to come to their rescue by constructing at least one more five stance pit latrine for the situation to normalize.
The situation in not different at both Waiga primary school in Pakanyi Sub County and Kigezi primary school in Miirya Sub County.
Waiga Primay School which has a total enrollment of 963 pupils has only five functioning pit latrine for pupils and four for the teachers much as Water Trust, an NGO operating in the district has constructed there a new five stance pit latrine.
“They situation was difficult when some of our toilets got filed up last year and we had no money to empty this toilets or excavate new ones,” Beatrice Baseka the head teacher at Waiga Primary School recalled.
Francis Kyomuhendo, the district education officer Masindi disclosed how they are battling with the problem of shortages of water and low pit latrine coverage. “By standard one pit latrine should serve 40 pupils but this does not happen in most government aided schools in the district. We have a total of 69 government aided primary schools in the district with enrollment of 40,077 pupils but latrine coverage is low in most schools,” he said.
Kyomuhendo said that the district needs over 461 five stance pit latrines if the situation is to normalize adding that 13 Government aided primary school do not have water sources out or the 69 schools.
Laula Garcia-piug, the program manager the water trust Masindi branch said that they have tried to build some improved hand shallow wells, pit latrines and water harvesting tanks at different primary schools and health centers in Masindi and Kiryandongo district.
Tony Mukasa Rushambu, the assistant commissioner in charge of primary schools ministry of education science technology and sports said that the problem is general in most primary schools in the entire country an issue he believes can only be solved if the ministry of finance increases budget funding for the education.
“We did a survey five year ago which revealed that the ratio of latrine coverage was 1:70 pupils and am sure that this must have increased because of the increase in the population yet the funding of the ministry has not increased,” Rusambu said.
He added that another survey has been conducted in the entire country and the findings will soon be presented to the ministry for discussion to before presenting them to the ministry of finance to forge away forward. “Currently we are depending on development partners like the water trust and water Aid who are helping us to construct pit latrines in some schools because of financial constraints, “he said.