Models of Good Hygiene

January 8, 2014

by Kaitlyn McDonald, Samaritan’s Purse Intern

An optimistic principal in Uganda encourages his students to be models of good hygiene to their loved ones.

For the past 30 years, Norbert has been teaching at various schools throughout northern Uganda.

“Growing up, I always admired the behavior of teachers and the way they were respected,” Norbert explained to me. He taught as a primary school teacher for 11 years, and then served as a headmaster for another 19. He currently works at Atura Primary School, and it was here that he first encountered Samaritan’s Purse.

For the past three months, Samaritan’s Purse has been working with Atura Primary School to promote school hygiene and sanitation. Our partnership has encouraged Norbert, and he has been involved in each step of the school intervention. He, in turn, constantly encourages his students to share the hygiene messages they are learning with their families. He believes that his students have the ability to improve the health of their families by being models of good hygiene behavior.

Although Norbert is optimistic, he acknowledges that there are several barriers to overcome in order to significantly improve the hygiene and sanitation practices at Atura Primary School. Sometimes the greatest obstacle is the attitude of parents and students.

“Some parents don’t see the importance of school hygiene,” Norbert told me. As a result, it is difficult to get full support from the Parent-Teacher Association to invest in school hygiene initiatives. The school also has limited resources, making it difficult to buy supplies for maintaining and improving school sanitation facilities.

It’s my hope that Norbert will continue to be optimistic and gain support from the school community in order to improve hygiene at Atura Primary School. I also hope that he will continue to foster leadership skills in his students and encourage them to be positive agents of change in their communities.