The United Nations Children’s Fund- UNICEF has donated 457 high-performance tents to support school reopening in flood-affected districts.
The unique 72 square meter tents – which can be easily transported and reused – include ventilation systems and elevated shade nets to keep internal temperatures cooler in hot and dry climates; electrical and solar kits for lighting and energy; and three-layered windows to help block out disease-carrying mosquitos.
The straight walls allow for more space for social distancing. “For nearly two years, children across the country have suffered prolonged pandemic-related school closures, combined with extreme weather events that have destroyed schools across the country. Their education and well-being have suffered immensely. UNICEF is working with the government to help every child recover the education they have lost,” said Dr. Munir Safieldin, UNICEF Representative in Uganda.
“The new tents will provide safe environments for children in disaster-affected areas, ensuring they continue to learn, play and interact.”
Children in Uganda endured the longest school closures globally, missing 83 weeks of their learning. The government projected a third of schoolchildren would drop out completely. The devastating impact of COVID-19 restrictions has been compounded by heavy flooding in some parts of the country.
At the end of January, UNICEF installed seven high-performance tents in Kasese, Western Uganda, where water damage caused by heavy flooding destroyed schools. Additional ordinary tents have been installed in districts including Ntoroko, Sheema, and Buliisa. UNICEF is also providing 540 desks and 30 blackboards to schools affected by flood damage.
Uganda was one of three countries to field test the prototypes, which were used as health centres for South Sudanese refugees in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement in Yumbe district.
The tents were also tested in the Philippines for wet and humid weather and Afghanistan for extremely cold temperatures.
“It’s fantastic to see these new and innovative tents being rolled out to support children. The straight walls mean there’s more space in the tents for desks and social distancing, while the improved ventilation will keep these classrooms cooler so that the children can focus on their lessons,” said Kristoffer Gandrup-Marino, Chief, Product Innovation, UNICEF Supply Division.
Catherine Ntabadde, the UNICEF Spokesperson in Uganda said the tents were specifically developed to suit the environment of the countries where they were going to be deployed.
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