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Team Achievers

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By Samuel Ayammah

Team Achievers of KNUST IDL in collaboration with Catholic Relief Service (CRS) WASH Department initiates WASH in Schools Project aimed at contributing to achieving SDG 6 in Tamale Senior High School.

Introduction

Every child has the right to a quality education, which includes access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services while at school. Children spend a significant portion of their day at school where WASH services can impact student learning, health, and dignity, particularly for girls. According to JMP data, 2019, nearly 584 million children worldwide lack basic drinking water service at their school. Among them, over 287 million children (15 per cent) have no drinking water service at their school. Also, according to the same source, nearly 698 million children worldwide lack basic sanitation services at their school and among them nearly 367 million (19 per cent) have no sanitation service at their school. The same source also reports that, in terms of hygiene within schools, nearly 818 million children worldwide lack basic hygiene services at their school with over 462 million children (25 per cent) having no hygiene services at their school.
As a result, Team Achievers, a group of MSc. Development Management students at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), (which includes, Victor Raul Puobabangna Plance, Mariama Fuseini, Akoba Charles Kweku, Abdallah Suad, Philip Yelmongmine, Nyunmon Duut Millicent, and Emmanuel Edem Agbedanu), as part of their Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (SEaP) Project course work, identified some key WASH gaps and challenges confronting Tamale Senior High School after conducting a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) needs assessment and baseline survey, using key WASH indicators and standards. The assessment was designed with focus on open defecation, refuse management, availability of sanitation equipment and tools such as dust bins, BCC materials, and the status of latrine pits emptying. Other issues looked at, included the quality and adequacy of water supply, functionality of water points, and water storage facilities. On hygiene, the assessment mainly looked at the availability handwashing equipment, health and hygiene education, menstrual hygiene management, personal and food hygiene. The findings are of grave concern and pose a major public health risk to teachers and students at the school.

Summary of Key Findings

The following are the key findings from the WASH needs assessment conducted for the Tamale Senior High School between July 2021 to August 2021.

  • Issues Bothering on Sanitation
    ✔ Presence of Open Defecation
    ✔ Poor Refuse Management
    ✔ Inadequate Sanitation Materials such as Dust bins, BCC Materials, etc.
    ✔ Full up Latrine Pits (Faecal Sludge Management)
    ✔ Absence of Operation and Maintenance related issues for WASH facilities (e.g., Poor Latrine User Management, unsanitary school latrine, broken down latrines, etc.)
    ✔ Inadequate Latrines (Student per squat hole ratio)
  • Issues Bothering on Water
    ✔ Inadequate Water point (Erratic Water Supply)
    ✔ Broken down water points
    ✔ Inadequate Water Storage Facilities and Management
  • Issues Bothering on Hygiene
    ✔ Inadequate Handwashing/ Hand Hygiene Point
    ✔ Inadequate Hygiene Education
    ✔ Menstrual Hygiene Management Challenges
    ✔ Personal Hygiene Related Issues
    ✔ Issues with Food Vendors

Stakeholder Engagement and Partnership for Solutions to identified WASH needs
The Team Achievers as part of efforts to fully achieve WASH friendly status for Tamale Senior High School and maintain conducive and healthy teaching and learning environments for students and learning environments for students and teachers, approached the Catholic Relief Services, Tamale office to discuss the findings from the assessment and to further discuss a collaboration through their Urban WASH program in Greater Tamale to address some of the issues identified. Another key stakeholder engaged for similar reasons was the Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly. Following very successful meetings with the above stakeholders, the team Achievers launched the WASH in School Project, with the immediate action to build the capacities of staff and students of the Tamale Senior High School on WASH best practices and behaviours. The key areas for the capacity building were on relevant skills to aid planning, budgeting, activity implementation, monitoring, and sustainability issues for school level WASH improvement. In addition, the team constituted and trained a WASH Club, with membership open to all students interested in championing improved WASH behaviours in the school. The target population for these interventions is 3,895 direct beneficiaries including 3,685 students, 169 teaching staff and 41 non-teaching staff of the Tamale SHS. 

Through the collaboration with CRS and with the support of the Regional Coordinating Council the Tamale Senior High School, the 2021 World Toilet Day was commemorated in the school. Through this event the school environment got a boost in cleanliness, including the toilet facilities which hitherto were an undesirable sight to view. This was the first of its kind the school had experienced. The project team continues to find inspirational ways of ensuring a sustained behaviour change and infrastructural improvement in the school.
This project contributes directly to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 aimed at ensuring access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. The project design also makes it easy to scale to other schools within Greater Tamale and beyond.

Figure 3: Team Achievers with Headmaster (middle) of Tamale SHS and Head of Programming (fourth from right) of CRS. 

Some Key Innovations by Team Achievers
• Establishment of a gender balanced WASH Club in Tamale Senior High School to promote and maintain a conducive and healthy teaching and learning environments by ensuring improved and sustainable WASH behaviour and practices
• Conducted a WASH Training on key Sanitation and Hygiene behaviours for both teachers and students of Tamale Senior High School
• Introduction of the reusable menstrual hygiene pad to complement the disposable sanitary pads already in us, with support from CRS who provided funding and technical expertise
• Introduction of the ‘tippy-tap’ to complement existing handwashing facilities in the school to help address the inadequacies and improvised dustbins to help with waste management
• Menstrual Hygiene Management education targeted at both male and female students to help minimize or eradicate the stigma attached to mensuration and to educate the girls on how to properly manage their menses and properly dispose of their used sanitary pads.

Figure 4: Capacity Building Training on WASH organized by Team Achievers for students and Teachers of Tamale SHS.

Sustainability Measures
The group intends to continue to work closely with the school to ensure that all gains made so far are sustained while working to improve and address all other gaps identified. Also, the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) WASH team have adopted Tamale Senior High School and are working closely with the project team and school to address some of the WASH challenges and have already conducted an independent needs assessment of the school to proffer solutions.

Figure 5: Team Achievers with invited guess during the 2021 World Toilet Day Celebration organized in Tamale SHS. Present were the Regional Minister, Tamale Mayor, Head of Programming for CRS, Headmasters of some SHS. 

 

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