Sinon Primary School Pit Latrines ~

Arusha, Tanzania

Celebrating World Toilet Day on 19 November 2020, under the theme ‘Sustainable sanitation and climate change,’ the Teacher training team set out to visit Sinon Primary School in Arusha City Council, to catch a glimpse of the maintenance as well as have a dialogue with the school head to find out if the structure has served the purpose and its impact on the learning environment, one year down the road.   

In line with the 6th Sustainable development goal, which sets out to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, the Water Bridge Outreach Partnership made a credible intervention that led to construction of a new toilet block with 10 stances, which reduced the toilet-student ratio from 1:121- which posed a high sanitation risk to the school population, to 1:80 that is even below the national average of 1:90.  

                                                                     

On this visit, we were welcomed by the school head teacher- Mrs. Rose Shayo who pointed out the outstanding impact that the structure has had on not only reducing the toilet-student ratio but has also raised the sanitation bar in the school, not to mention dignified education as a whole. 

 

To ensure sustainability of the intervention, the school has put measures in place to keep the toilets clean and do overall maintenance of the structure.   The former is currently being done by an employed a cleaner who runs her errands after every school break and at the end of the school day.   Maintenance is done with the support of ‘capitation grant’ from the government.

 

The biggest challenge is that there is still pressing need for more toilets as the school population grows larger every year. For example, Sinoni Primary school enrolment last year was 3,486pupils, while that of this year is 3,540 pupils.  The growing numbers are a good sign of the significance of the school to the surrounding community, hence the challenges that come with it cannot be undermined.   

                                                                                                                              

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of sanitation, hygiene and adequate access to clean water for preventing and containing diseases. The fore sight that Water Bridge Outreach in partnership with The Foundation For Tomorrow had in aliasing this critical infrastructure has been fundamental in fighting the virus and preserving the health and well-being of hundreds of school children. 

 

The Foundation For Tomorrow has strengthened this initiative by ensuring that it is not enough to simply ensure access to sanitation but critical to address sanitation behaviors. The Foundation For Tomorrow continues to support Sinon Primary to realise health, dignity by driving the image of the toilet from being dark, smelly and gloomy to bright, clean and happy. 

 

The toilet infrastructure a year on continues to be a well designed and built, with well-lit and ventilated space that's easy to clean and much more comfortable, convenient, enjoyable and desirable for use. 

One scholar remarked that it's a "happy toilet," speaking volumes of how the toilet block continues to make the learning environment clean, beautiful, safe and happy.

Noah Kayanda 

Teacher Training Program Manager, The Foundation For Tomorrow

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