Friday, July 22, 2011

Keep Katosi Clean

18th July 2011 marked the day of the Third Annual Keep Katosi Clean Day. This year, Katosi Church of Uganda Primary School scheduled a full day of activities to promote sanitation and hygiene in their community, homes, and schools. The day began at 8:00am as the students ensured all supplies had been gathered and prepared for their guests. Although the opening ceremony was delayed until the arrival of our guest of honor, we were honored by the visit of the Officer in Charge (O/C) of the Katosi Police Station with two fellow officers who wished the school a successful day and thanked everyone for their work in the community.

At 10:00am, the students in classes Primary Three though Primary Seven were lined up and ready to go. The students had been divided into five groups, and each group leader had been given a wheelbarrow with sixteen (16) brooms, two (2) rakes, one (1) slasher, one or two (1-2) sacks to be used as trash bags, and twenty (20) latex gloves. The first person in each line carried the Keep Katosi Clean Sanitation Club posters that the students had designed to encourage everyone to join us in keeping Katosi clean. Two students led the school to the town center by carrying the official Katosi Church of Uganda Primary School Sanitation Club banner high above their heads.

Assembled in the town center, a student led the school in singing the Uganda National Anthem, the School Anthem and the Sanitation Club Anthem. Our guest, Mukasa Jane Ssozi, the District Woman Councilor of the Local Council 5 (LC5), welcomed us all and announced that she would be leading a group. Also, the Officer in Charge Kirikumwino Janipher of the Katosi Police Post gave a speech and stayed with us throughout the day. Christopher Luwaga, the Head Sanitation Club teacher, announced the designated areas that each group was to clean and sent us off one group at a time in the direction of our area.

Assigning sections of the town of Katosi to each of the five groups ensured that all areas of Katosi were reached and cleaned during the event. Group One began in the town center, went down Bunakija Road, turned left at the junction toward the church, turned left again at Paradise Hall and continued to Mukono Road. Group Two was responsible for the section of Mukono Road from the town center to Mutebi Road and along Mutebi Road. Group Three went down Mukono Road from the town center until the Katosi C/U school sign post, then turned left and cleaned past St. Joseph’s Primary School and up to Mutebi Road. Group Four began in the town center and cleaned the road toward Katosi C/U P/S and turned right towards Mutebi Road. And finally, Group Five cleaned from the town center to the landing site and along the road to the police post. As each group stuck to their designated roads and sections of Katosi, the entire town benefited from our efforts of increasing sanitation and the awareness of the importance of maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in order to improve health and prevent diseases.

Over the course of the next hour and a half, the three hundred students in the Primary Three through Primary Seven classes, their teachers, our distinguished guests, Kristen Babirye, and Leslie Nakato swept, raked, moved, piled, and burned rubbish from the main roads and walkways of Katosi. From dirty to clean we made Katosi. Each student did his or her part in our efforts to Keep Katosi Clean. While we were cleaning, a selected member of each group carried a tin to ask for donations and support from community members as we passed by their homes and businesses. Receiving some generous donations, the students raised Ush46,900 to go toward long-term sanitation and hygiene in the school and community. The money was used to buy brushes, squeezers, and basins to be used in the cleaning of latrines.

At 12:00pm, the five sanitation groups reconvened outside the BMU Landing Site for speeches and an awards ceremony. An intercom system was set up to project our speeches so that we were more accessible to the community, the main reason why we moved our ceremony to the landing site instead of having it at the school.

The Headmaster Reverend Yosamu Kintu, O/C Kirilumwino Janipher, the Health Officer Katosi Town Board who is in charge of sanitation in the town, the Guest of Honor Katosi Town Clerk Kalagi E. Bukanya, Sir Christopher Luwaga, and Leslie Nakato gave speeches to the members of the school and the community thanking them for their work and participation while encouraging them to maintain Katosi’s cleanliness and to practice proper sanitation in their homes, schools, and community.

Additionally, awards were presented to the classes and individual students who have exhibited the best sanitation in the school. For the month leading up to Keep Katosi Clean Day, the P1-P7 classes at Katosi C/U P/S have been competing in an Inter-Class Sanitation Competition. They have been judged on the cleanliness of their classroom and assigned compound area, as well as on their personal hygiene. Points were awarded based on the extent of effort that was put into improving the condition of these three categories. After the speeches, the rankings were announced and the winners were congratulated. In second place with a score of 405 points was Primary Seven, and the winner, with 415 points, was Primary Three. Leslie Nakato and Kristen Babirye with the Headmaster Yosamu Kintu and the Guest of Honor Kalagi E. Bukenya presented a framed Outstanding Sanitation Award certificate to the Primary Three Class Monitor. Congratulations to Primary Three and thank you to all classes for participating in the competition to improve the sanitation of the school grounds and the personal hygiene of individual students! From now on, the Inter-Class Sanitation Competition will continue every term with a new winning class. This will set a good example for the numerous other schools in Katosi to follow.

In addition to acknowledging the most sanitary class, the top two students who have shown outstanding personal hygiene throughout the duration of the competition were recognized. Mutebi Lawrence and Nakabugo Juliet were awarded a new uniform tailored by a Katosi C/U parent, Joyce.

Returning to the school, students in the Primary Three through Primary Seven classes assembled in the church for the reading of student-written compositions about sanitation and a drama production performed by the students in the Sanitation Club. Seven students submitted writings to the Sanitation Writing Competition and were allowed to read their compositions to their fellow students at this assembly. Mutebi Lawrence, the Vice Chairperson of the Sanitation Club, also gave an opening speech welcoming everyone and thanking them for their participation and inviting them to join us in Keeping Katosi Clean.

The drama production, written, produced, and performed by Sanitation Club members, kept the audience engaged with its humor, songs, and phenomenal acting. A message about the importance of being knowledgeable of proper sanitation and good hygiene practices and the importance of sharing this knowledge with others was taken away from the production.

Much effort was put into making the Third Annual Keep Katosi Clean a huge success. The day ended with lunch, including the addition of sugar to the students’ porridge. It was a celebration and achievement shared by all.

Thank you to everyone who worked in the preparations for Keep Katosi Clean, who made donations, who participated in the day’s activities, and who have vowed to improve and maintain proper sanitation in the community. Thank you to our guests and our speakers for taking your time to acknowledge the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene in our homes, schools, and community by supporting our efforts of community awareness and the eradication of diseases in the town of Katosi. Thank you to the members of Katosi Church of Uganda Primary School Sanitation Club and the teachers of Katosi C/U for your hard work and support. The Third Annual Keep Katosi Clean Day would not have been successful without all of you!

Thank you,
Leslie Nakato Willis

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