Tippy taps in Uganda
13 August, 2012
Children in Kumuli district use school tippy taps. Photo: Steve Dunham, Plan International Australia
‘I’m proud to say that even my little three- and nine-year-old siblings are now washing their hands!’ exclaims Jessica, 14, a Health Club member at a school in Kumuli District, Uganda.
Jessica is one of the many students who championed improved hygiene for herself and her family as part of the Plan International Australia Uganda Schools Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project. Funded through AusAID’s Civil Society WASH Fund, the projects teamed Plan representatives with in-country partners to improve water supply, sanitation and hygiene across 36 schools and surrounding communities in Lira and Kumuli districts in Uganda.
Jessica was part of a unique approach to awareness-raising and skills development that drew upon young people’s influence to improve understanding of good water and sanitation practices. Jessica received child-to-child training in school about the importance of hand washing and was also shown how to construct a tippy tap. She then went home and built a tippy tap for her family so they could have easy access to hand washing facilities.
A tippy tap is a low cost hand-washing station operated by a foot lever. It can be made with simple and locally-available materials including buckets, sticks and string, and is especially useful for rural environments where there is no running water.
Jessica and other female students across 21 schools also benefited from separate hygienic sanitation facilities being built as part of the project. Previously ill-equipped and unused toilets have been replaced, and girls now feel more comfortable being at school and enjoy increased self-esteem and pride. Senior teachers attribute improved WASH facilities to reduced absenteeism during menstruation and boys in the schools said they better understood the needs of girls and teasing reduced as a result.
The success of better WASH facilities in increasing the attendance of girls at school during menstruation has encouraged Plan International Australia to begin designing a four year menstrual hygiene project in Uganda. This will be partly funded by the AusAID–NGO Cooperation Program.
AusAID also supported civil society organisations (CSOs) working in Africa, Asia and the Pacific through the Civil Society WASH Fund. The fund was a competitive grants program designed to improve the health and quality of life of poor and vulnerable communities through enhanced access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. Activities under that Fund were completed in March 2012.
Applications for funding
Applications for funding are now open for a new Civil Society WASH Fund.
Last Reviewed: 13 August, 2012