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WaSH – Boreholes

January 31, 2020

What is a Borehole? Boreholes are narrow wells operated by hand pumps, which tap into the deep water reserves of aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock), providing safe, accessible and reliable water for entire communities. IRT are working to fund boreholes in rural northern Uganda. It costs IRT £3000 to install a Borehole. This […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

What is a Borehole?

Boreholes are narrow wells operated by hand pumps, which tap into the deep water reserves of aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock), providing safe, accessible and reliable water for entire communities. IRT are working to fund boreholes in rural northern Uganda.

It costs IRT £3000 to install a Borehole.

This is small price to pay to ensure that no child has to choose between an education and safe water.

Following a period of high population growth, 22 million people in Uganda lack access to safe drinking water – that’s 51% of the Ugandan population. High demand and poor management mean there is a fundamental lack of facilities providing clean water, leading to the spread of chronic waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. One effective solution is borehole wells, sources of fresh water which are created by drilling into the ground.

The construction of a Borehole.

The Ugandan government has previously installed boreholes during the creation of camps set up for villagers to flee to during the terrifying insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Following the aftermath of the LRA’s destruction, internally displaced Ugandans have been able to move back to their homes, where they are now hours away from the camp boreholes. Villagers are faced with the choice of trekking several miles a day to fetch clean water from camps or make shorter trips to contaminated water sources such as unprotected springs. Often, the job of fetching water falls on women and girls, reinforcing gender inequality as they are unable to work or go to school as a result of travelling on foot for 4 or 5 hours a day.


WaSH – Protected Springs

January 29, 2020

What is a protected spring Springs are a source of water for people and wildlife alike. On the other hand, many of them come out onto a dirty bit of land leading to stagnant water, diseases and ultimately death. Therefore, springs are protected through building concrete steps, a wall and a raised spring around them […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

What is a protected spring

Springs are a source of water for people and wildlife alike. On the other hand, many of them come out onto a dirty bit of land leading to stagnant water, diseases and ultimately death. Therefore, springs are protected through building concrete steps, a wall and a raised spring around them to ensure it is a more sanitised way of collecting water. The spring water is also filtered through an underground pit with rocks to clean the water.

It costs IRT less than £1,000 to install a protected spring.

A protective spring in a Ugandan village means that the villagers, who previously drank contaminated water with the risk of diseases such as typhoid and cholera, will be able to drink safe clean water. The ability to drink clean water only a short distance from their homes is life-saving. It ensures the villagers can get back to education and work. In particular, young girls who are going backwards and forwards to contaminated water sources, instead of going to school.

Villagers using their life-changing protected spring for the first time.

WaSH – Sanitary Towels (Petal)

January 29, 2020

In many low-income countries, menstruation is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful, and unclean process Consequently, many adolescent girls find themselves unprepared for their periods and how to manage them. Staggeringly, less than 50% of girls in low- and middle-income countries have access to basics such as sanitary towels or tampons, soap and water, or […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

In many low-income countries, menstruation is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful, and unclean process

Consequently, many adolescent girls find themselves unprepared for their periods and how to manage them. Staggeringly, less than 50% of girls in low- and middle-income countries have access to basics such as sanitary towels or tampons, soap and water, or facilities to change, clean, or dispose of hygiene products.

Across Uganda as a whole, only 22% of girls are enrolled in secondary schools compared with 91% in primary schools.

In rural areas, the statistics are far worse. One factor in keeping girls out of school is known to be the cost of hygiene products. Almost unthinkably, of those who do attend school, many will have to use old rags, dried leaves, grass or paper – sometimes even tearing pages from school books – in lieu of sanitary towels. Such improvisation frequently leads to the contraction of menstrual diseases.

The stigma surrounding menstruation, lack of understanding, and the unaffordability of hygiene products, all leave girls feeling that they have to stay at home. They miss out on 25% of their education and, in many cases, drop out altogether.

Members of a Petal micro-business demonstrating their wares at a Farmers’ Market

In Uganda, IRT is working together with Wessex Social Ventures and our local partners, Organisation for Community Action, to tackle this appalling situation through a scheme known as ‘Petal’. Under Petal, micro-enterprises produce affordable, reusable sanitary towels that are made and sold by local women. In addition, Petal delivers free, menstrual health education to women and men of all ages, with the aim of eradicating social stigmas.

Training of new Petal entrepreneurs

Petal brings numerous benefits to the community, the customer and the entrepreneur. At community level, women and girls are no longer isolated during menstruation. Girls are able to complete their schooling without interruption. This is critical because, over the long term,  education is crucial to lifting communities out of poverty. For the customer, packs can be as little as 10% of the cost of alternatives.

Women gain back 25% of the year to work and study, and girls can attend school with confidence.

For the entrepreneur, Petal provides a source of sustainable income, enabling them to afford healthcare and schooling for their children. The scheme also empowers women, training them to lead small businesses and developing valuable skills. IRT believes that it is a human right to have access to adequate menstrual hygiene, and is committed to continuing to fund and spread the Petal scheme in Uganda.

Petal entrepreneurs are sensitising schoolgirls on menstrual hygiene and the use of reusable sanitary towels. The girls gain confidence, freely share their experiences, being able to talk about menstruation without shame.

WaSH – Toilets (Roots)

January 29, 2020

ROOTS The treatment and disposal of human waste is becoming increasingly important as the world’s population increases. Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrhoeal diseases – the second most serious killer of children under the age of 5 (WHO). The main source of such infections is human excreta. Clearly, the effective management of […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

ROOTS

The treatment and disposal of human waste is becoming increasingly important as the world’s population increases.

Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrhoeal diseases – the second most serious killer of children under the age of 5 (WHO). The main source of such infections is human excreta. Clearly, the effective management of human waste is key to reducing infant deaths worldwide.

In the developing world, many people use pit latrines

These consist of a hole in the ground, which may be unlined or lined, with a reinforcing material to contain human excreta. They generally provide little shelter or security. Moreover, larger pit latrines, which are often used in schools, are prone to collapsing into the holes over which they are built.

In Uganda, studies have shown that most pupils in rural schools are demotivated by the poor hygiene and sanitation facilities. Pit latrines often lack privacy, have poor ventilation, inadequate hand-washing facilities, and present a high chance of contracting air- and water-borne diseases. Girls especially are likely to drop out of school because of the lack of privacy

New eco-san lavatory blocks at Adoma Primary School, northern Uganda, alongside old pit-latrine block.

In Uganda, IRT is working together with Wessex Social Ventures and our local partners, Organisation for Community Action, to tackle this appalling situation through a scheme known as ‘Roots’. Under Petal, micro-enterprises produce ‘eco-san lavatories’ in schools. These enable the conversion of human waste into 100% natural fertiliser. The fertiliser is then sold to local farmers at a lower price than other commercial alternatives.

Pupils pose for a picture in front of the newly-constructed eco-san lavatory block at Adoma Primary School, northern Uganda.

The Roots scheme confers enormous benefits.

For the user, it reduces the chances of contracting disease and is both safe and discreet. The school is able to avoid the repetitive and costly task of filling-in existing pit latrines when they fill up, and having to construct replacement toilet blocks. Roots also removes the barrier to girls attending school, especially during menstruation. For the local community, the gains are apparent in a reduction in the spread of disease and the prevention of soil contamination. For the fertiliser customer, the end product can be 70% cheaper than alternatives, and has also been shown to increase crop yields. The entrepreneurs running the Roots micro-enterprises are able to establish a sustainable income over the long term, allowing them to afford healthcare and an education for their children (secondary schooling in Uganda is not free).

“IRT believes that it is a human right to have access to safe, secure and private lavatory facilities, and is committed to continuing to fund and spread the Roots scheme in Uganda”.

Steven Smith, CEO of IRT
Access hatches to waste collection buckets at rear of eco-san lavatory block.
Access hatches to waste collection buckets at rear of eco-san lavatory block.
A pupil poses for a picture in front of the newly-constructed eco-san lavatory block at Adoma Primary School, northern Uganda.

WaSH – Impacts on health

January 28, 2020

WaSH stands for ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’. Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WaSH is a key public health issue within international development. Successful WaSH programmes can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, and gender equality, while reducing poverty and infant mortality. Since 2000, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

WaSH stands for ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’. Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WaSH is a key public health issue within international development. Successful WaSH programmes can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, and gender equality, while reducing poverty and infant mortality.

Collecting water from a contaminated source – Uganda

Since 2000, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. But, often, these remain unsafe. Many homes, medical facilities and schools still lack soap and water for handwashing. This puts the health of all people – but especially young children – at risk of contracting diseases, such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.

Mother and baby visit a medical facility in Uganda

Lack of sanitation contributes to hundreds of thousands of child deaths every year. The statistics are shocking:

  • Today 1 in 3 people or 2.2 billion people around the world lack safe drinking water.

  • Over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation.

  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.

  • Some 297 000 children – more than 800 every day – under five who die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water. 

  • Children younger than age 5 in countries experiencing protracted conflict are 20 times more likely to die from causes linked to unsafe water and sanitation than from direct violence.

  • 1 million deaths each year are associated with unclean births. Infections account for 26% of neonatal deaths and 11% of maternal mortality. 

  • Hygiene promotion is the most cost-effective health intervention.

  • 2 out of 5 people or 3 billion people around the world lack basic handwashing facilities at home. 

  • Universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene would reduce the global disease burden by 10%.

In Uganda, the situation is particularly desperate

The current child mortality rate in Uganda is listed at 131 per 1,000 live births, or an effective mortality rate of 13.1%. This makes it the highest under-5 mortality rate in Eastern Africa. According to reports from the World Health Organization, Uganda is one of 24 countries that contribute 80% of the world’s deaths of children who are under the age of 5.

It is estimated that diarrhoea alone, one of three major childhood killers in Uganda, kills 33 children every day. In most cases, children get the disease by drinking unsafe water or coming into contact with contaminated hands that have not been washed with soap. 

Early childhood diarrhoea can be deadly. Even when it is not, it contributes to Uganda’s high levels of stunting, which goes on to undermine children’s cognitive development and performance at school.

One key measure that will reduce childhood illness and death is to stop using open fields or the bush as toilets. In Uganda, nearly a tenth of the population practices open defecation, and two thirds of households do not use soap when washing their hands. 

Through our programmes in Uganda, IRT aims to:

Delivering education in WaSH to a community
  1. Provide clean water through boreholes and protected springs, located close to communities.
  2. Encourage communities to construct pit latrines.
  3. Provide education in sanitation and hygiene measures – including the use of ‘tippy-taps’ for handwashing, dish-drying racks, the need to wash hands with soap and to ensure the cleanliness of homes.
  4. Create waste management systems through the use of rubbish pits.


IRT help Wafaa at the Italian Hospital in Amman, Jordan

July 18, 2019

Flora Barker IRT volunteer Flora Barker writes about the impact IRT are making in Amman, Jordan: Like millions of other refugees, 41-year-old Wafaa was forced to flee her home in Syria following the devastating civil war. She and her family made the treacherous journey to Jordan in 2013. With her husband Mohamed being trapped in […]

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Flora Barker

IRT volunteer Flora Barker writes about the impact IRT are making in Amman, Jordan:

Like millions of other refugees, 41-year-old Wafaa was forced to flee her home in Syria following the devastating civil war. She and her family made the treacherous journey to Jordan in 2013. With her husband Mohamed being trapped in unemployment, due to his crippling physical disability, the family’s income is extremely limited. Wafaa and Mohamed survive month-to-month on food vouchers and cash assistance from The UN Refugee Agency. Even with some additional income from Wafaa’s brother, who works as a porter, the family members are still left stretched to their financial limit. Her brother only earns a meagre monthly wage of just 150 JOD (£162) and he uses it all to support his parents and other siblings as well.

Faced with these immensely challenging circumstances, Wafaa was diagnosed with anaemia. The family simply did not have the funds to pay for the lifesaving treatment which could end her suffering. As a refugee in Jordan, Wafaa is not entitled to government assistance; this is where The International Refugee Trust steps in. IRT sends regular funding to The Italian Hospital in Amman to ensure that financial support can be given to refugees who are in desperate need of urgent medical treatment, surgery and medicine. Wafaa was treated and able to successfully recover from anaemia, thanks to funding from IRT and the medical attention of The Dominican Sisters of The Presentation, who work tirelessly to run the hospital. With your generous donations, IRT will be able to save the lives of even more innocent refugees, just like Wafaa.


IRT help baby Lilas in Jordan

July 18, 2019

Flora Barker IRT volunteer Flora Barker writes about one of many Syrian refugee children IRT are helping: Lilas’ (pictured) parents Ahmad and Hailma had already suffered unimaginable pain as refugees from Aleppo, they fled to Jordan in 2013. Displaced by the brutal civil war which continues to destroy lives across Syria, they felt hopeless when […]

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Flora Barker

IRT volunteer Flora Barker writes about one of many Syrian refugee children IRT are helping:
Lilas’ (pictured) parents Ahmad and Hailma had already suffered unimaginable pain as refugees from Aleppo, they fled to Jordan in 2013. Displaced by the brutal civil war which continues to destroy lives across Syria, they felt hopeless when they were faced with yet another undeserved trauma. Their 8-month-old daughter, Lilas, began suffering from bronchitis. Lilas is yet another statistic in the millions of innocent children whose parents have been forced to flee Syria in search of safety and basic human necessities like food and water. Just a baby, Lilas was in urgent need of crucial medical treatment, without which her bronchitis would have developed into life-ending pneumonia.

With father Ahmad doing the best he can working as a porter; the household income was still extremely limited. Ahmad and Hailma rely on financial support from The UN Refugee Agency just to cover the cost of keeping a roof over their family’s heads. Trapped in poverty, there was no money available for the family to pay for beloved daughter Lilas’ lifesaving medical care.

Thankfully, due to The International Refugee Trust’s financial support of The Italian Hospital in Amman, there remained hope for little baby Lilas. As non-Jordanian citizens, refugees are not entitled to government assistance towards medical treatment. A majority of refugee families simply do not have the funds to pay for medical treatment themselves. Therefore, the financial aid from IRT proves indispensable for many families just like Lilas’. With IRT’s help, Lilas was successfully treated for bronchitis and made a full recovery, ending her parents’ anguish. Without the ongoing hard work of The Dominican Sisters of The Presentation, who run The Italian Hospital, and your unbelievably generous donations as supporters of IRT, incredible success stories like these would not be possible.


Hope for baby Jenny in Nzara, South Sudan

July 18, 2019

Jessica Eames In Nzara, South Sudan, IRT support the St Therese Hospital. The paediatric ward in particular is incredibly busy every day. Sarah Rubino who is a certified Midwife, has been working at the hospital for the past ten months and recently told us about little baby Jenny (pictured). THE ST THERESE HOSPITAL IS RUN […]

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Jessica Eames

In Nzara, South Sudan, IRT support the St Therese Hospital. The paediatric ward in particular is incredibly busy every day. Sarah Rubino who is a certified Midwife, has been working at the hospital for the past ten months and recently told us about little baby Jenny (pictured).

THE ST THERESE HOSPITAL IS RUN ON SOLAR POWER, THERE IS NO ELECTRICITY.
Sarah has seen first hand how access to supplies can mean life or death for many children. Life there is considered precious and sacred because of how quickly it can be lost. Even though not all these babies lives can be saved, with support from IRT, the incredible staff at the hospital are able to save many of these precious lives.

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Jenny (pictured) was born at 32 weeks gestation, and is an example of hope in Nzara. After her mother pushed twice, Jenny shot into the arms of Midwife Sarah, mid-afternoon on a nice warm day. She immediately began to cry but it was quickly evident that she needed more help breathing. After one hour of positive pressure ventilation, and 2 hours of oxygen before the solar power ran out, Jenny was able to start breastfeeding with only a little bit of fussing. Because she was born during a warm week, we were able to control her body temperature much better with our makeshift skin-to-skin incubator. Likely due to the warm weather, Jenny was able to be discharged at a week and a half old.

AFTER CAREFUL AND ATTENTIVE FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS, JENNY IS A PLUMP AND HEALTHY 5-MONTH-OLD.

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Twins Elizabeth and Nambatayo want to become Doctors and help other refugees

July 18, 2019

Jessica Eames Schools in refugee camps around the world are often underfunded and overcrowded, making it extremely difficult for refugee children to access a good education. Many families cannot afford to send their children to school, and with a lack of education, it is difficult for refugees to get out the poverty cycle, and improve […]

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Jessica Eames

Schools in refugee camps around the world are often underfunded and overcrowded, making it extremely difficult for refugee children to access a good education. Many families cannot afford to send their children to school, and with a lack of education, it is difficult for refugees to get out the poverty cycle, and improve their lives.

Twin sisters Elizabeth and Nambatayo, who were once in this predicament, are now at the Moyo Redeemer Children’s Home. They have big dreams of becoming doctors to help the people at their former refugee camp in Gulu. Thanks to your donations, Elizabeth and Nambatayo are now attending a government school where they can turn these dreams into a reality. We are so proud of Elizabeth and Nambatayo and hope to see them one day, working in hospitals, saving lives.

Read more about the Moyo Redeemer Children’s Home