School Sanitation Centers
A positive learning environment for children is imperative. Unfortunately, most of the schools in these areas have no water and no latrines.
This means children miss school not only to fetch water but also because of the lack of sanitation.
Girls stay home from school during their menstrual period because of the shame and no facilities at school to wash.
Open defecation is a health hazard! These centers do not just preserve dignity but improve the overall health and learning environment around the school.
If children are sick with diarrhea (which is the most common), and there are no toilets at school, then children will simply stay home.
TIME FOR CHANGE
We want to change this narrative.
A sanitation center is constructed at the school with boys, girls, & teachers latrines, feminine hygiene rooms, and a hand-wash station.
The materials and design are specifically created to support behavior change in hygiene and sanitation. Given the statistics throughout the community, many of these children have never used a proper latrine — and many have never been taught or had the conditions to wash their hands. As simple as it may seem — these are huge hurdles to be handled delicately.
We choose to use zinc panels for the siding because this is a material that is commonly used in the community for some houses. A cement structure is not much more expensive but would be an intimidating structure for many of these children.
Since the entire sanitation situation is new, we do not want it to become taboo or associated with something negative, so we paint the structures and try to create a bright and welcoming environment.
The entrance and cement pathways in front are specifically designed so that the children must enter and exit by passing in front of the hand-wash station, and it will be evident if they don’t use it. All of the training promotes hand-washing, and we have witnessed children making sure their peers wash hands. In fact, it has become a popular thing to do during their free time!
The latrines are porcelain pour-flush, squat toilets that lead to dual, self-leeching, alternating septic tanks. A bucket is in the room with water to wipe and flush. No toilet paper is required, which ensures there will never be an issue of lack of funds for this.
Health, equality and dignity through Sanitation & Hygiene.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 include a specific goal to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
All children deserve the right to clean water and basic sanitation, as stated in the Convention on the Rights of a Child.
IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD, 50% OF DIARRHEAL AND RESPIRATORY DISEASES IN CHILDREN CAN BE REDUCED BY THE SIMPLE ACT OF PROMOTING AND PRACTICING HAND-WASHING AT SCHOOL.
Our hands touch everything, but if you've never had clean water, how would you know about the importance of hand-washing?
The school provides a perfect environment to encourage new hand-washing and sanitation behaviors.
Water Underground installs a hand-wash station outside the latrines in each school to make hand-washing with soap and clean water second nature for children. Instilling these habits in children at school leads to the improvement of hygiene habits for their families at home as well.
Members of the Hygiene and Sanitation commission together with the teachers in the school, educate the children on proper hand-washing techniques and maintain a supply of soap and cleaning products at the school at all times.