Lack of boreholes at the school has compelled parents to load their children with water containers to carry to school for daily use. Girls in boarding schools are exposed to dangers as they trek several miles daily to fetch water for school use.
The absence of water sources in some primary schools in
Kitgum district has forced pupils to report to school with water on a daily
Some of the affected primary schools include Alero and
Gweng in Labongo Amida Sub County, Morongole in Orom Sub County, Alima Lagot in
Namukora Sub County and Aputubere in Kitgum Matidi Sub County where both
learners and teachers have to trek long distances daily in search of clean and safe water.
Alfred Odong the head teacher at Gweng Pa Mon Primary
School confirms the water crisis that is that grave during the dry season, saying the
nearest safe water sources are located over 4 kilometers in the neighboring
villages of Lalur, Lagot-Oywee in Lapyem Parish, Laguti Sub County in Pader.
Odong says the Lack of boreholes at the school has compelled parents to load their children with water containers to carry to school for for drinking and other uses while at school.
//Cue in: “the biggest problem…..
Cue out: ….not even Kitgum”//
At Alero Primary school, teachers told URN that says the situation is greatly affecting learning since girls
at the boarding section are always sent kilometers away to fetch safe and adequate
water for cleaning and cooking at school.
Milton Okech Ojwang the Chairperson of the school management
committee says the nearest boreholes are located about 4 kilometers away in
the neighboring villages of Gweng-Coo and Wao Central. There is one unsafe water
source at the Asipa water stream.
Despite previous efforts by the Japanese International
cooperation (JICA) to establish two boreholes at Alero Primary, the
intervention didn’t address the water crisis challenge since the boreholes were
dismantled because the sources were condemned as unfit for human consumption.
Charles Okello, a parent, says the situation has affected
the observance of the set standard operating procedures to curtail the possible
spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) since adequate and safe water availability
for handwashing which is considered a priority in fighting against the pandemic,
has been compromised.
Okello says the situation also puts the lives of pupils
at risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery because
they do not wash their hands before eating or after visiting the latrine for
fear of trekking long distances in pursuit of clean water.
According to Okello, the situation has also affected
children’s learning environment and led to challenges of dropping out of school since
learners often miss lessons as they have to abandon classes to look for safe
water to quench their thirst.
//Cue in: “Latin acel acel…..
Cue out: …..kwan pa lotino”//
Joel Opira a parent at Morongole P7 School says although the
water crisis is minimal during the rainy season due to availability of water
harvesting facilities at the school, during the dry season the scarcity is
immense as the nearby borehole becomes dry.
He says that despite several reminders to stakeholders,
sub county and district leaders about the gravity of the water crisis, nothing
is being done to address the problem of water shortage in the area.
//Cue in: “pii ma wan….
Cue out: ….Morongole eni”//
The Kitgum district Water Officer Willy Picho attributes
the water crisis in the affected areas to the lowered water tables during the
dry season and the rocky topography that has bogged down efforts by government
and development partners to drill boreholes.
The Kitgum district Chief Administrative Officer Martin
Jacan Gwoktoo affirms to the difficulty but says they have forwarded the
matter to the water ministry to consider establishing water sources
that are compatible to areas with
in: “water in schools….
out: ….rain water”//
However according to Gwoktoo, Kitgum district in its
2020/2021 budget has prioritized to invest more in shifting from borehole
drilling to establishing solar powered piped water systems in water stressed