By Elizabeth Mandala Mana:
Umodzi Youth Organization (UYO) says it will construct eight latrines at Sonjowa Primary School in Blantyre in a bid to promote education standards in the country through the provision of hygiene facilities.
Speaking on Thursday during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting, UYO Project Manager, Shy Ali said poor standards of education in most rural areas could partly be attributed to poor sanitation within the school.
Ali said high absenteeism is either as a result of water and sanitation related diseases or lack of privacy on the part of girls during menstruation, hence the need to construct hygiene facilities.
“The organization plans to construct two sanitary facility blocks which will have six pit latrines and one urinal for boys and one change room for girls during menstruation, “said Ali.
Currently, Sonjowa Primary School has two latrine blocks of two rooms each, which serve 530 learners (286 boys and 244 girls) from surrounding communities of Traditional Authoity Chigaru in the district.
In addition, UYO will also carry out hygiene promotion activities geared at engendering behaviour change on water and sanitation hygiene in the interest of maximising benefits from sanitation facilities before and after construction.
“We will engage famale teachers in providing menstruation management lessons to girls with due attention and equip them with skills and knowledge on proper hygienic ways of conducting themselves, “ said Ali.
Sonjoya Primary School head teacher, Juma Eleven expressed gratitude towards the project UYO is to undertake at the school.
“We face a lot of challenges at the school due to lack of sanitary facilities. It is our hope that once we have the required facilities, cases of absenteeism, especially among girl learners will go down,” said Eleven.
Funded by the German Embassy, the project is expected to be completed by February, 2019.
UYO is a non-governmental organization that focuses its operations on education, human rights advocacy, governance and democracy sectors to ensure that citizens are fully involved and participating in all socio-economic programmes towards achieving national development.