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24 October 2017
It came from Africa: Local solutions for local problems in Uganda Print
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:10

Like most African countries, Uganda has its fair share of social problems, one of which is an alarming dropout rate among school pupils. A 2010 UNESCO study found that despite the country`s Universal Primary Education policy, which has seen many more children entering school since its introduction in the late 1990s, the dropout rate was the highest in East Africa, ahead of Kenya and Rwanda.

 

Of particular concern are girls dropping out of school, since the education of girls is considered central to breaking Africa`s cycle of poverty. (See the World Bank`s 2012 Gender Equality and Development Report.)

 

A study done on behalf of the Ugandan government, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and UNICEF, lists the biggest reason for girls leaving school as pregnancy and early marriage (41.5%). The second most common reason why girls leave school is lack of money for school fees (26.9%). Lower on the list is poor sanitation.
 

Carried out by the Child Health and Development Centre at Makerere University, the “Sanitation and Hygiene in Primary Schools in Uganda” study bears this out: “Primary schools offer inadequate privacy and cleanliness of toilet facilities and washrooms are ill-equipped for use by female pupils/students. Facilities for proper means of disposal of used (sanitary) pads are missing and this does not prepare girls for proper use of these facilities.”

Enter inventor and entrepreneur Moses Kizza Musaazi -- a shining example of just how innovative and sustainable home-grown African solutions can be.

 

Musaazi’s was a three-pronged answer to the problem: In his lab on the campus of Makerere University, he invented the Makapad, a cheap sanitary pad made of papyrus and paper waste. He then designed a disposal incinerator that heats to nearly twice the temperature of other incinerators manufactured in Uganda. (A bigger version is sold to hospitals for the disposal of medical waste.) And to deal with the problem of the lack of running water, he built rainwater-harvesting tanks and solar water heaters, claiming that his is the only building on campus that is never without water and always has flush toilets. The tanks are built with interlocking dirt bricks designed by Musaazi as an alternative to regular bricks that have to be fire-baked and thus deplete the forests.

 

Musaazi’s company, Technology for Tomorrow (T4T), operates from the Technology Development and Transfer Centre in the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology at Makerere University, where he is a lecturer in electrical engineering. It is from here that he invents, develops and markets his products. Back to Network News.
 

Read the full story by Inc. Magazine's Leigh Buchanan.
 
Linda Cilliers is an Online Media Specialist at Organisation Systems Design
 
 
...Back

Comments


Viola Nilah Nyakato said on 2012-06-22 07:13:45:
The issue of early marriage and girls education in Uganda is real. However, such studies which pick on one factors without looking at the problem in totality will always miss a point. Pregnancy is a problem caused by a number of factors; many girls our communities still live amidst spoken and unspoken messages always reminding girls that they are destined for marriage. We see many cases of pregnancy resulting from rape and the girl is always at fault. There are still many cases of arranged marriages. When there is no fees it the girl child to stay at home. When there is a patient to care for, girls are made to miss school to care for the sick. I know many women who have been stopped from work by their husbands because they must stay at home to care for the family. If women cannot advance their career, then there are no role models for girls education. Therefore, the models for promoting girls need to be holistic in nature.
Caite Mccann(C) said on 2012-07-03 17:01:47:
Very well contextualised, Viola. Thanks for that.
chanyuan said on 2017-04-13 09:56:22:
chanyuan2017.04.13

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