Kathryn Dutile (Uganda)

Kathryn Dutile (Gulu Disabled Persons Union – GDPU, Uganda): Prior to her fellowship, Kathryn earned an MA in international development at the University of Manchester. In support of her thesis she researched the challenge of delivering sanitation services in Uganda from a gendered perspective. Kathryn became interested in development during study abroad and through volunteering in Ghana and South Korea as an undergraduate student. After her fellowship with GDPU, Kathryn wrote: “Sometimes the best moments were when the power went out and all the staff was just chatting about life, politics, relationships, etc. (Also) grant writing at this level and amount was new. (I) gained more technical WASH knowledge - whereas my specialty was more about institutions and behavioral changes.” Kathryn remained in northern Uganda after her fellowship. kdutile@advocacynet.org

Building a long term program

25 Aug

Over the past two months my primary goal was formulating a three year accessible water, sanitation, and hygiene program. We’ve (a combination effort on the part of GDPU staff and AP staff) completed many drafts, with slightly varying objective, timeframes, and budgets. Our overall goal has remained the same: ending discrimination of persons with disabilities in the provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

In the program’s original conception we had planned to survey key public facilities including health centers, sub-county and division headquarters, and primary schools. Based on this assessment, toilet facilities would then be built. Through our rigorous revision process it was decided to target only schools for both an assessment and site latrines will be built. This decision was made for several reasons:

To give the project proposal as Iain (AP Executive Director) would say “laser-like focus”.

Evidence schools and schoolchildren are a good entry point for changing behaviors and attitudes both of children themselves and of community members.

Poor state of latrine facilities, which can cause water-borne disease such as diarrhea, which would cause students to miss school

Interviews with several children who identified that problem of latrines in schools

Ability to market school latrine program to donors

With that revisions continued. Our plan was to survey 25 schools, a quite large assessment which would give us quality baseline data, research which we could present to Net Law Man at regional conference, and strong data to advocate for change with the local government. In 2015, we would then build a large number of latrines with educational programs and begin to challenge institutional norms and strengthen the legal requirements. However, several weeks ago the project suffered a setback common in many programs. A donor pulled out a large donation. It was extremely frustrating for both GDPU and Advocacy Project. Due to the unforeseen circumstances, we once again continued with our drafts of the program.

With a reshuffling we now have a detailed program for 2014 and will focus on writing project proposals for phase two by the end of the year.  In 2014, our primary objectives are establishing need, completing repairs on bus park toilet to improve flow of water, and establishing a successful pilot toilet and educational program at one school.

To repair the bus park toilet we will continue to build a cooperative relationship with Pece Division (the area of Gulu which the bus park is in) and the District Engineer, which we have already begun. We will then sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pece Division which will specify responsibilities. With this document repairs of the toilet will begin. Simultaneously, GDPU will begin to identify a pilot schools. The original needs assessment will be condensed to a smaller sample size. However, at each school we will gain a large amount of data through physical observation, interviews with the head teacher, senior women teacher, and special education teacher (if there is one), as well as a focus groups with students themselves. A MOU will then also be signed with school administration. The agreement will also specify the importance of a sensitization program with administration and students so that all understand the importance.

Based on a successful program and lessons learned we can then write a large proposal or work smaller donations one school at a time. In 2015 and 2016 the objectives will also shift with a primary emphasis on ending discrimination through challenging government attitudes and institutional norms as well as scaling up the number of schools with accessible water and sanitation.

To donate to this program and contribute to our mission of ending discrimination click here. Please write GDPU in the comment section.

Posted By Kathryn Dutile (Uganda)

Posted Aug 25th, 2014

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