Last year Funsani received a generous donation from the European School Culham following their annual Readathon. We proposed for some of these funds be donated directly to one of our partner schools, Maanu Mwami School in Livingstone, to go towards funding the construction of much-needed toilet facilities and a new classroom.
Lack of sanitation facilities in schools has been highlighted by a number of organisations, such as the U.N., Water Aid, Save the Children and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a significant cause of disease, and a key barrier to children pursuing secondary education, especially for adolescent girls.
Prior to this project there was 1 toilet at the school, shared amongst approx. 1000 students.
The WHO estimates 62% of Africans do not have access to an ‘improved sanitation facility’ - separates waste from human contact.
The lack of appropriate toilet facilities can lead to varied consequences -
- Health: diarrhoea (second biggest killer of children in less economically developed counties) as well as cholera, schistosomiasis and trachoma.
- Social: giving these students clean and proper facilities installs in them a sense of self-esteem and dignity.
- Educational: The two factors above combine to have huge educational impacts, furthermore, a report by the UNICEF indicates that schools that offer separate toilet facilities for boys and girls, retain a larger proportion of the students especially female students.
Construction of the toilets was started in September 2014 by a group of students from the European School on the Funsani Zambia Trip. The students toiled tirelessly to shovel a pit deep enough to house the sanitation tank (shown above), no mean feat in the scorching sun!
Four months later, we were pleased to receive report from Maanu Mwami School that the construction of a block containing two toilets, one female and one male, had been completed. The toilets consist of a ceramic toilet bowl housed over simple pit latrines. Water is poured in by hand after each use.
The construction of these facilities now means the children are able to pursue their studies with dignity, in a safe, hygienic environment.