Child-Friendly Latrines Improve Hygiene, Health, and Safety
Out of the 20 schools that were in the Nuwaragampalatha division, 6 had did not have toilets and 7 were without any kind of water supply. Without water systems to safely dispose of solid and liquid waste, many students suffered from poor health and were forced to drop out of school.
As a solution, Plan worked with the local communities to design and implement new sanitation programs. These programs would not only lead to the construction of new bathroom facilities, but it would also cultivate hygienic and sanitary environments for both schools and the entire communities.
The Early Stages of the Sanitation Programs
In the early stages of the programs, the school principal, teachers, students, and the School Development Society conducted a series of interviews to learn about the bathroom conditions.
After interviewing the students and staff, Plan discovered that many of the bathroom facilities were outdated and did not have ventilation systems.
To tackle this problem, the principal, teachers, students, and the School Development Societies worked with Plan to design and implement child-friendly sanitation programs. One of the main objectives of these programs was to increase the number of toilets in relation to the number of students in each school to improve hygiene and sanitation conditions.
Students Can Make a Difference in the Community
Prior to the interviews, students had never been asked to voice their opinion during high-level discussions. After being included in the interviews, students were eager to voice their opinions and work with community members to create safe and sanitary school environments.
In one school, students propsed placing flower pots around school perimeters to improve the appearance of the latrines. Under the guidance of school staff, the students also prepared a roster of students who would act as bathroom monitors.
Through their collaborative effort, a total of 10 ten latrines were constructed and hygiene-promotion programs were conducted in schools. Students were happy to be involved in maintaining the latrines as it was a chance for them to demonstrate creativity through the creation of charts and records which enabled them to observe their progress.
The Continuance of Community Involvement Through Hygiene-Awareness Programs
In order to keep communities abreast of new developments, local public health staff continues to conduct hygiene-awareness programs within each of the participating communities. These programs will ensure that communities are always educated on the important role that water and sanitation best practices play in the prevention and spread of sanitation-related illnesses.
Visit our Water and Sanitation page to learn more about our work or view our Child-Centered Community Development page to learn more about our unique approach to our program work.