The brick and mortar, concrete, and hard manual labor is coming to a close with only minor piecework inside the individual stances remaining. This includes grab bars, railings, the approved wheel chair height, and the appropriate water tanks and basins for cleaning. An elongated walkway from the school to the latrine will deplete the final count of cement bags and funds for construction, as the budget and supplies have run its course in the latrine construction.
We must finalize a date for inclusivity and hygiene training involving the teachers, parents, school leaders, and students in these final weeks of work. Community and school inclusivity between all parties will strengthen the relationship between the District Education Officer (DEO) and GDPU as well as open the way for GDPU’s model to be used more in 2020 and ensure sustainability. Girls and boys will enjoy an improvement in WASH services, with an increased assurance of privacy and equity for girls, and the inclusivity of disabled students. We want to prevent bullying of disabled students and increase their attendance numbers and prove their value to the community by including them in all school functions.
The head school teacher, Joseph, was telling Patrick and me of the Gulu District’s proposal for a secondary latrine for boys at Abaka, as this GDPU latrine will be girl specific. To our surprise, they were planning on hiring the same contractor who built the condemned latrine to complete its refurbishing for a secondary latrine. We fail to see the sound reasoning in this decision, as the contractor wasted district funds, time, and damaged the relationship between Abaka Primary School and the Gulu District. This is a very questionable decision making process that needs to be revisited and we both expressed our disappointment with the proposal, with hopes that it can be amended.
Although no exact date has been set and nothing is written in stone, Joseph mentioned the proposal includes the plan to dig a new pit latrine beside the failed one. Yes, an entirely new dugout pit for a substructure. Patrick retorted with the lack of need for a new pit. Simply use the old pit, clear out the damaged substructure, and work from there. As we have seen from the previous blogs, the pit excavation and substructure is the most time consuming and laborious part of the entire process.
GDPU and Kinyera David should be awarded the contract, as the decision was definitely not well researched and there seems to be obvious influences beyond our scope of vision. David’s present work stands on its own for acceptance as the working engineer for the GDPU model. It is possible that the second latrine construction plan can be altered by the DEO once the Gulu District Ministry of Health and Safety gives the final approval of the Abaka Primary School latrine. This will provide resounding support for the GDPU model and may drive the DEO to alter the plans.
GDPU has also demonstrated success in installing accessible toilets at three schools in Gulu District before, at Tochi primary (2015), Ogul primary (2017) and Awach Central primary (2018). The continued success at Abaka will lead to a surge in enrollment, reduced bullying, and motivated teachers. The DEO will be excited by these results and will want to ensure a long-term sustainability of latrines and delight in the positive effects on enrollment, attendance, and quality of life.
Posted By Spencer Caldwell (Uganda)
Posted Jul 29th, 2019