UNAB Constructs VIP latrines and Pour Flash Toilets for visually impaired learners in Northern Uganda.

One of the latrines constructed by UNAB.

Inside one of the VIP latrines constructed by Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB) with support from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP).

Sanitation is a key issue in accessing quality education in all schools, however for the case of Northern Uganda, sanitation in schools has been a challenge for some time now. Due to the long insurgency in the northern and far eastern regions of Uganda, schools and their facilities got destroyed leaving many schools without good school infrastructure including sanitation facilities, this has negatively affected learning and teaching especially for pupils and teachers with visual impairment. Existing sanitation facilities are not accessible to the visually impaired persons in these schools due to lack of pathways, filth in and around the latrines, enlarged pit holes in these latrines which pause a life risk to the learners.

The poor accessibility and sanitation facilities have partly contributed to the high school dropout rates of visually impaired learners. However, with support from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP) and partnership with Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB) under education in emergencies fund, this is becoming a situation of the past, sixteen (16) schools in the north with visually impaired learners have received support for the construction of two stance VIP pour flash toilets that are easily accessible by the Visually impaired learners, it is expected that this improvement of sanitation facilities will help to reduce the high rate of dropout from the schools.

Visually Impaired Pupils at Ikwera Primary School in Apach district on the walkway to the VIP latrines

Other partners like National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have Joined UNAB in renovating resource rooms and constructing pathways to promote accessibility within schools for Blind and Partially Sighted persons.

The sixteen (16) beneficiary schools are; in Arua district are Mvara Secondary, Ediofe Girls, Arua Demonstration Primary, and Liria Primary, in Nebbi are Angaal Girls Primary and Pajobe Primary and in Gulu are Gulu Highl, Gulu Primary, and Laro Boarding Primary. Others are Aber Primary in Oyam district, Ikwera Primary in Apac district, Moyo Girls Primary in Moyo district, Ngetta Girls Primary in Lira district, Nyarilo Primary in Koboko district, Atanga Primary in Pader district, and Kitgum Girls primary in Kitgum district.

Mr. Ambayo Michael, the Project Coordinator UNAB-ODW Northern Uganda says that NABP’s financial support for the project was timely as for a long time, the visually impaired have been neglected and such projects will elevate their status through enabling them pursue their further studies which is key in their future.

Visually Impaired Pupils together with their teachers stand next to their new VIP latrine constructed by Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB) with support from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP).

Mr. Anguyo Richard Roy, the Executive Director - UNAB thanks partners like NABP for the support they give to the disadvantaged members of society in Uganda and urged the Government of Uganda and other Partners through UNAB to invest more in persons with visual impairment and encourages local organizations to do so and make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged Ugandans who are equally important to the nation as they have a lot to give if empowered and given equal opportunities.