Tucked away in a remote rural sub-county of Kamwenge district is Biguli Primary School, where Moreen leads the school’s health club. Her face exudes confidence and leadership. Moreen lives with her grandmother and some of her siblings. Before joining the health club, her family used untreated water for drinking and cooking, which caused water-related diseases. “We used to get stomach problems, typhoid, and diarrhea,” Moreen said. “One day I drank dirty water and got typhoid and stayed in the hospital for one week. I felt so sick, like the body was not mine,” she added.
But thanks to JESE and Water for People WASH Program and health clubs like the one at our School. The situation has improved. Our schoolteachers coordinate with executive club members to teach pupil’s good hygiene and sanitation practices. The children learn to treat water and wash their hands at critical times (before eating and after using the latrine). “Through our health club, we have been taught
to treat drinking water (using Water Guard, a chlorine compound sold in shops). We have also learned about the importance and proper use of latrines and also about general body cleanliness,” said Moreen.
Biguli Primary School is now teaching other children of their age in the area how to run vibrant health clubs, construct tippy taps with locally available resources, wash their bodies, how to sustain menstrual hygiene management through making sanitary pads (wash with soap, dry and iron).
“The school has won many local prizes in organized health and sanitation competitions, e.g.; music, dance and drama, poetry slam.” said Monica, the health club patron.
Many students say the health club has made a positive difference in their lives says Claire; a primary four girl, “I did not know science very well, but because in the health club we learn science, my grades have improved.” Indeed, school attendance has improved since hand- washing facilities were installed and the health club began spreading messages on good hygiene practices. This has contributed to school enrollment increasing from 305 to 500 pupils. And the school is among the best performing schools in Biguli Sub sounty.
According to teacher Monica,(club patron) pupils volunteer willingly to ensure the school and latrines are kept clean. The health club trains children to be leaders in their school, home, and community. This behavior change will carry on into their adult life, which means change also happens in the community. “We now have toilets at home and handwashing points at our homes; said Rovence another student.