05 Feb Improved access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for school children in Sabon Gari in central ward community Gwagwalada
An overwhelming number of school days can be gained when school children have access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). Proper access to clean water and sanitation facilities in schools is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. Clean water helps prevent waterborne diseases, while sanitation facilities reduce the risk of fecal-oral transmission of diseases. Hygiene practices, such as handwashing with soap, further protect students from illnesses.
When schools have reliable access to clean water and sanitation facilities, students are more likely to attend school regularly and remain in school. Lack of access to WASH facilities can lead to absenteeism, particularly among girls who may miss school during menstruation due to inadequate facilities. Especially for girls, adequate sanitation facilities are crucial for maintaining dignity and privacy. Lack of proper facilities can lead to embarrassment and discomfort, which can negatively impact a student’s self-esteem and willingness to attend school. When children are healthy and comfortable, they can better concentrate on their studies and perform well academically.
At SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, we believe that every child and young person has a right to quality education. This belief spurred the construction of WASH facilities for students of Pilot Science Primary School in the Central Ward community of Gwagwalada Area Council who for years were faced with the distressing reality of open defecation within the school premises, primarily because of the absence of a functional toilet facility. This situation has led to instances where students are compelled to leave school premises when nature calls, often resulting in irregular attendance due to the lack of proper restroom facilities and access to safe drinking water on the school grounds.
Following a comprehensive needs assessment conducted in 2021 for government-owned schools in the Gwako and Central Ward communities, Pilot Science Primary School was identified as a priority for intervention. The aim was to enhance children’s access to quality education. To enhance Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) standards among school children, SOS Children’s Villages undertook the construction of a solar-powered borehole system. Additionally, a block of six toilets was erected, catering to both male and female students, benefitting 1,511 pupils (758 males and 753 females). With the establishment of clean water sources, the challenge of open defecation has been notably reduced, leading to a remarkable improvement in school attendance.