Africare News Release

 

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Schoolchildren pose around a new well, under construction, in Uganda. (Adam Finck photo)

New Water Partnership “Breaks Ground” in Northern Uganda

Africare Partners With Invisible Children, African Well Fund To Bring Clean Water to Northern Ugandan Schools ...

... and Students Around the World Can Help!

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2007 ... The Awere Senior Secondary School was established in northern Uganda in 1982, that is, 25 years ago. Yet for the past 16 years, the school has been essentially homeless. Civil conflict during that time forced the school — its teachers, its students, and whatever books and supplies they could transport — to move in search of safety from building to building across the region. They lacked, not only a building to call their own, but an overall environment that was safe.

In the coming months, Awere’s 720 students will make their way back to the original school site in the rural Gulu district. And there, they will find — not only peace, not only the re-opening of a permanent school — but also brand new water-and-sanitation facilities, which are essential to the students’ basic health and nutrition. The water-and-sanitation facilities will be delivered collaboratively by three nonprofit organizations: Africare, Invisible Children and the African Well Fund. Beneficiaries will be the Awere Senior Secondary School and six other schools in the northern Ugandan districts of Amuru, Gulu and Pader.

"The 2006 Human Development Report tells us that only 60 percent of the population in Uganda has access to an improved water source,” noted Africare President Julius E. Coles. “That number decreases to 43 percent for sustainable access to improved sanitation. Improving education for children in Uganda demands that we first address the basic necessities of life — like water and, specifically, access to clean water and sanitation facilities.”

The project broke ground in August 2007, refurbishing deep-bore wells (“boreholes”) and drilling an additional well at the Awere Senior Secondary School. Well construction and rehabilitation are following at the other six sites. The wells will provide students, teachers and their communities with water that is both accessible and clean — decreasing the incidence of water-borne illnesses and otherwise improving the quality of life for more than 8,000 students and faculty.

“[The knowledge] that sanitation does not stop at providing access to water, health and hygiene training will also be instituted into the project,” noted Invisible Children Uganda’s Assistant Country Director, Adam Finck. “The lessons learned from these training sessions can also be passed on to the greater community.”

The new wells open up endless new opportunities, according to Ruth Mufute, Africare’s Regional Director for East and Anglophone West Africa. For example, Mufute hopes to utilize the boreholes within community income-generating projects.

“Using simple irrigation systems such as drip kits, nutrition gardens can be set up to grow a variety of highly nutritious vegetables,” noted Mufute. “Not only are the drip kits considered labor saving, but they conserve the soil and water used to grow the crops and allow for the community to invest in the vegetables produced from the gardens.”

Monitoring the impact of the boreholes on education remains a central focus. Northern Uganda was once the heart of the country’s educational system; and for decades before the recent war, at least five of the 10 top schools in Uganda hailed from the North. Currently, no northern Ugandan school places among the top 100 schools nationally.

 

Students Around the World Can Help!

Schools for Schools is an innovative new program that aims to revive northern Uganda’s schools and give students around the world an opportunity to help — via the Internet.

Launched in 2006 by Invisible Children, Schools for Schools allows international and Ugandan students to work together to build capacity and improve education in schools in northern Uganda. Currently, Schools for Schools has linked more than 580 international (non-Ugandan) high schools and colleges with 10 schools in Uganda’s Amuru, Gulu and Pader districts. Twenty-six of the international schools have commitments directly to the Awere Senior Secondary School — raising more than $95,000 to date. Those funds will allow completion of the water-and-sanitation capacity building: underwriting plumbing refurbishment and additional supplies, equipment and technology. Click here to view Awere’s interactive site, and the sites of the nine additional schools.

 

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