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The district of Gulu in northern Uganda emerged from the war against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) with one of the highest rates of disability in the country. In spite of this and in disregard of government regulations the authorities have provided almost no accessible toilets in public buildings.

As we have found, this is particularly serious in schools, where students with disability often face severe bullying. The lack of accessible toilets and generally low levels of hygiene and sanitation act as further deterrents to attending school, forcing many of them to stay home and miss out on their education. School kids need to use the bathroom!

This project will take practical steps to reverse this crisis, and set in motion a whole new approach to accessible water and sanitation. Working with our Ugandan partner, the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU), we will build a new, sanitary toilet that is accessible to children with disabilities at the Layibi Central Primary School. We plan to install the toilet in early 2016, and then work with the students and teachers to promote hygienic and sanitary practices such as hand-washing and maintaining a clean toilet, as well as to promote an anti-bullying agenda.

In 2015 we successfully installed a similar toilet and hand-washing tank at the Tochi primary school near Gulu Town. Tochi has shown that if we can do this right, we can also stop the bullying which makes life miserable for students with a disability.

With your help, GDPU can really change public policy and the communities' attitudes in this remote part of Uganda!


The Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) has been working in northern Uganda since 1979 to help people with disabilities enjoy their rights and receive the same services as others.

Our group, The Advocacy Project (AP), has been at their side since 2008 when we sent our first Graduate Fellow to GDPU. Since then, several others have helped GDPU expose discrimination and launch advocacy campaigns.

We first became involved in promoting accessible toilets in 2011. In the years since, we have helped GDPU install accessible toilets at the Gulu Bus Station, a large new shopping center, and Tochi primary school. The Tochi project was launched in the summer of 2015, to enormous acclaim. Over 1,000 members of the community attended the opening ceremony, including government officials and the local press. Several teachers and students from other schools in the area also came to see the results of this pioneering project. Support from Givology will enable us to keep up the momentum!


This project will benefit four different groups. First, it enables students with a disability to go to the bathroom, thus encouraging them to attend school. By co-opting teachers, and engaging other students, we also reduce the threat of bullying against students with a disability and improve the level of hygiene for the entire school. Third, we provide the local community with a strong incentive to protect their school and new toilet from vandalism and be considerate of the needs of families who have children with disabilities. Finally, each new toilet encourages the local government to integrate accessibility into its long-term education plan. This is accomplished by using the opening ceremony as an opportunity to engage government officials on the process of enacting local ordinances stipulating the need for schools to have accessibility standards in their construction and refurbishment plans.

Team Credentials

The Advocacy Project (AP) has over 15 years of experience in helping community-based advocates deign and launch innovative campaigns and projects. We have worked alongside 110 organizations in over 50 countries, and managed large projects for foundations (Open Society, MacArthur, Humanity United), for governments (the US, Germany and Netherlands), and leading aid agencies (Zivik in Berlin and the US Department of State). AP will support and guide this project from Washington, while GDPU's experienced field staff will install the toilet and monitor progress. AP will also deploy a fellow in 2016 to assist with the project, at no extra expense.


  • Toilets Hold the Key to Enrollment at Embattled Ugandan School

    This article was drafted by Iain Guest ( on July 6, 2017. Auma Prisca Oyella, the head teacher of the Ogul primary school in northern Uganda, surveys her school with alarm. The classrooms lack doors and windows. The water tank is broken. Even the precious bore hole - the source of all water to the school - requires a mighty effort before water can be drawn. Toilets are the worst. Three latrines for girls, installed in 2009, are crumbling and almost full. They pose such a risk, said Ms Oyella, that "students are afraid they will collapse." The boys' toilets are in even worse shape. Two years ago, in desperation, Ms Oyella went with a group of school parents to nearby Gulu town and came away with three abandoned portable toilets from an old IDP camp. The mobilettes now serve Ogul school, but they inspire dread among older boys. "The plastic floors move and boys are afraid they will fall in," said Ms Oyella. "They also dislike going to ...
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