Latrines are a big deal in public health – keeping poop from spreading around a community massively decreases illness and death (particularly among children).
So, my first reaction to this story was that it was great that people understood that using the latrine was a good thing and were even willing to break in to poop there if they didn’t have their own latrine. But, it seems that the people breaking in have the means to build their own latrines, they just find it easier to use the school’s.
I like the suggestion that anyone arrested for breaking in should be made to dig a pit latrine at their own home. Fair and productive.
Teachers and officials in Uganda are desperately trying to flush out the villagers who are breaking into schools to use their toilets.
Some break padlocks and brave barbed wire to use the facilities meant for children, because they do not have pit latrines in their own homes.
The extra use means the school toilets fill up fast and new ones must be dug.
One teacher said the trespassers should be arrested and paraded naked in front of the children to discourage others.
Charles Iroota, a teacher from Atiri primary school in eastern Uganda, said most people who live nearby do not have their own toilets and so break in to use the school facilities.
“These people just trespass and defecate even on the compound. From the doorway, you find faeces up to inside the latrines,” he said.
Administrators in primary schools in Jinja, Kamuli, Iganga, Tororo, Manafa, Pallisa and other districts in eastern Uganda made the same complaint.
Local social worker Saraha Akello says it is shameful that people who spend money on nice clothes and even cars have not bothered to build a pit latrine in their home.
“A man in a neck-tie and a coat during the day, trespassing in pit latrines. It’s very disappointing indeed,” she said.
“If you can’t take care of your own faeces, how can you be sure you are taking good care of yourself?”