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Our new school sanitation project

We'd like to introduce our newly developed School Sanitation Programme, which we are piloting this year at Bwembelelo, where we built a double classroom block in 2016. Here we look at why this new programme is so important and why we hope to roll it out to other schools in future.

The background: For all children, unsafe water at school can lead to outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery. This also affects their families, as family members need to stay at home to care for sick children, which means time away from their jobs and losing precious income. Poor sanitation in schools impairs child growth and development. It also limits school attendance and the retention of students, negatively affecting their ability to concentrate and learn. Open defecation remains a problem in many schools, allowing flies to transmit diseases from faeces to food; diarrhoea and ill health are a direct result. Stopping open defecation by providing latrines has a dramatic impact on health and wellbeing. Reducing diarrhoeal diseases saves lives.

Girls are already marginalized in accessing education, but are also affected by inadequate sanitation facilities with no privacy, particularly important during their menstruation period. The lack of appropriate sanitary facilities
discourages school attendance and contributes to the drop out of girls at puberty. The low level of literacy among women, as a result of the exclusion of girls, reinforces prejudice based on inferiority and superiority complexes between men and women. By promoting girls’ attendance and retention in school, the sanitation project influences sound cultural patterns of conduct for the future.  

The project: The key elements of a school sanitation project (as recommended by the World Health Organisation) are child and female-friendly sanitation, handwashing, menstrual hygiene management and drinking water.

Bwembelelo Community School has been chosen for this project as, despite being a relatively poorly-funded  school, it has a good track record of engaging effectively with infrastructure projects. The teachers, school management and Parent-Teacher Association are well motivated and concerned for the interests of their pupils. There is already drinking water from a borehole at the School but the goal of Kaloko’s pilot project in 2017 is to further improve the health and educational attainment of pupils there, particularly girls, and as such we will:

· Construct four latrines with two handwashing points

· Distribute disposable sanitary pads

· Pilot the creation and distribution of appropriate reusable sanitary pads

· Ensure appropriate health and sanitation education in the school and local community

We are extremely pleased to have funding from the Chalk Cliff Trust and The Levellers to start this project and look forward to updating you on progress.

If you would like to donate and allow us to expand the school sanitation project we’d love to hear from you. You can donate via our website or by sending a cheque to the Brighton office, mentioning this project.