The Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) has partnered with AP since 2008 and works for disability rights in northern Uganda, which was devastated by the LRA rebellion. GDPU seeks to make basic services accessible, and in 2015 Peace Fellow Josh Levy (Columbia University) raised the funds to install an accessible toilet at the Tochi School.
In 2017 Josh’s successor, Lauren Halloran (Middlebury Institute of International Affairs) picked up where Josh left off and helped Patrick Ojok, GDPU’s program manager, to install a second toilet and hand-washing tanks at the Ogul School. GDPU’s monitoring suggests that enrollment and attendance at Ogul has surged since the toilet was installed, which is highly encouraging.
The 2018 Peace Fellow, Chris Markomanolakis (University of Maryland) will help Patrick install a third toilet at a school still to be chosen and persuade the district government to adopt GDPU’s approach. This is the best way to ensure that all primary school children in this region of past conflict fully enjoy their right to an education.
Meet Ivan Olanya, 10, who was almost forced from Tochi school by bullying. Ivan’s story helped to launch the schools toilet project in 2014. After the toilet was installed at Tochi, Ivan graduated with distinction and went on to secondary school.
Patrick Ojok the program manager at GDPU has years of experience fighting for disability rights and is committed to ensuring proper WASH in primary schools of Gulu.
“It’s been an incredible learning experience so far. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know GDPU. It’s been a new experience for me working with a community-based organization.” – Lauren Halloran, the 2017 Peace Fellow in northern Uganda.