Signs so common we hardly notice or read them – just as we take for granted clean, usable loos and somewhere to wash our hands. But for many school children in the Lologo and Cassava areas of Juba, South Sudan, this is not the reality.
In many schools in South Sudan there are far too few latrines for the number of pupils, and the ones that do exist may be unsafe, dark, smelly and fly ridden. Locks and doors that close (particularly important for girls using them) are often missing and there is rarely any soap or water for hand washing. These conditions all lead to the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea – particularly dangerous for the under 5s.
In response to this need Trumpeter Community health project is planning to expand its community work into three schools in Juba:
St Josephine Bakhita Primary school in Cassava, which has 1,600 pupils (aged 6 – 13)
Lologo Pre-Primary school with 272 pupils (age 3 – 6)
Little Angels Primary School (also in Lologo) with 461 pupils (aged 6- 13)
In these schools ‘There are ‘no handwashing facilities, misuse of school latrines.. and hygiene and sanitation not part of the curriculum’ UNICEF proposal for hygiene promotion and prevention of diarrhoea among school children and community in Kator Payam
On the practical side, Trumpeter Volunteers will work with other community leaders and the health authority to build and maintain latrines and hand-washing facilities in schools; they will also work directly with children and their teachers to raise awareness of good hygiene. Group discussions, drama, songs, observations and other ways to involve and interest pupils are on the sanitation curriculum!
Six Community Volunteers have been selected to work in schools, and each school will have a Committee for Health and Sanitation, with parents, teachers and children as members. Pupils will have other opportunities to be involved too: a group of children chosen from P4 – P8 (from 6-8 years) will be trained as ‘peer educators’. In this role they can take ownership of the message and pass it on to their friends, families and communities.
‘Creating awareness among children and youth will change ‘bad’ into ‘good’ hygiene and sanitation behaviors in the long term’ UNICEF proposal
The first aim of the project is that by December 2016 the three schools will have functional latrines, hand washing facilities with soap (in place and consistently used), and that hygiene promotion will be part of the school curriculum. Now that will be something to trumpet about!
On that note ….
An old open defecation site in Cassava by the river (White Nile) that has been cleaned after mobilisation by the Trumpeters. For more information about this project click here