Bank of Ireland - Staff Charitable Fund
VISIT TO PROJECT LOCATION, UGANDA
World Vision – Busitema Area Programme
Tuesday October 4th 2023 – Field Visit
I’m Tom Buckley, Reporting Officer of the Bank of Ireland Staff Charitable Fund (SCF).The SCF has been supporting the World Vision Busitema Area Programme (AP) for a number of years, during which time we have funded the construction of 50 stances of pit latrines with 5 urinals and 5 washrooms across a number of primary schools. Busitema is a sub-county situated near Busia – a border town between Kenya and Uganda. The plan today was to visit two of the target schools at Sikuda and Nangula.
Our first stop on the visit was at the programme office in Busitema, where I received a presentation on the AP from Betty, the Area Coordinator, and met with programme staff. I also met with technical staff from the sub-county administration and some political leaders. It was very obvious that World Vision work closely with local government. Challenges were outlined - teacher accommodation is an issue. Teachers travel long distances and they typically don’t live in the community. Some classes have to sit on the floor as there are no desks. All present expressed a ‘Big Thank You’ to Bank of Ireland staff.
Before heading out on the road trip I noticed that Busitema primary school was just across the road. It wasn’t on the programme for the day, but I requested to visit it as we had funded a project there in 2020, when we supported the construction of two latrine stances (1 boy / 1 girl), hand washing stations and a rain water harvesting system.
Our first planned visit of the day was at Nangula Primary School. A detailed programme for the visit had been prepared – timed from my arrival at 9.00am till the closing remarks and lunch at 12.45. It was about 11.30 before we arrived at the school! The entire school had been assembled out front for hours. There was a ‘top table’ set up under a gazebo. Things began with a tour of the facilities SCF had provided. The tour was led by the head-boy and head-girl. These facilities included construction of blocks of latrine stances and a water tank.
There were speeches of welcome from the head mistress and a pupil. Also, from the chair of the school management committee. There were songs from the school choir; poems (one about the Wash Club) and dancing. Some of the songs and poems contained slogans such as “For a Better Life” and “Supporting our Education.” Along with teachers and pupils, there were representatives from church, political life, and the parents’ association.
The planned second school visit was to Sikuda primary school. Once again SCF provided latrine blocks, handwashing stations and water tanks. A detailed programme had been prepared timed from 2pm to 4.30. We were still running late. Here too there was a very formal welcome with similar elements to Nangula. As usual the schedule included a speech from me – I don’t know how many speeches I made and how many visitor books I signed during my visits.
Before leaving I requested a visit to Busitema school. We funded a project there in 2020 supporting the construction of two latrine stances, hand washing stations and a rain water harvesting system.
In her welcome address, the headteacher thanked the Fund for its support. Without our provision of the latrines, the school faced closure as it did not meet the minimum sanitary standards as laid down by government. They were so grateful.
Another interesting development is that having seen the latrine blocks provided by SCF, a private donor has committed to provide the school with dormitories. As I learned on my visits in Kenya and Uganda, the provision of dormitories does not mean a ‘boarding school’ as we might understand it. Quite often they are places of safety and rescue centres – especially for girls. The dormitories were a direct result of the provision by SCF of the water and sanitation facilities. The headteacher also stated that the new facilities have greatly added to improvements in pupils’ daily attendance due to improved hygiene and sanitation.