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High School Latrine Project - South Africa

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High School Latrine Project- South AfricaThis project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

This project summary has been redacted for security reasons to omit the specific project location.

Xxxxx Village, Mtubatuba Municipality, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

Community Description
Xxxxx is a semi-rural village that borders the Isimangaliso World Heritage Site near St. Lucia, Kwa-Zulu Natal. There are approximately 10,000 residents living in the (most of Zulu descent) according to the 2011 South African Government Census with an average household size of 4.3 members. Census data puts unemployment for the municipal area around 40%, while the rate is likely much higher within Xxxxx.

In spite of the abject poverty that is quite obvious in the community, Xxxxx is a peaceful village to live in. Many village members work in the nearby town of St. Lucia performing various duties to serve the incoming tourist population. Others find work in the town of Mtubatuba, or informally through manual labor projects in the village.

Like many rural areas in the country, the people in Xxxxx are personable, quick to befriend outsiders, and easy to get along with. In their free time most people meet up to chat with one another and spend time together. Maintaining social relationships is a very important quality within Zulu culture so it's quite common to see groups of 2 or more sitting under a shady tree talking and sharing a bottle of soda together as you walk through the village.

High School Latrine Project- South AfricaProblem Addressed
The high school in Xxxxx Village, called Silethukukhanya, has a student population of approximately 1,000 and 39 staff including teachers. The school's female restrooms, in particular, have fallen into severe disrepair.

The latrine block was built in 2005 and the toilets themselves, which are pit-style, have since become quite full, leading to foul smells perforating throughout the immediate area. In addition, the foundation of the latrine block has started forming large cracks, possibly on account of poor initial construction when the foundation was laid. There are also no hand basins for washing up, mirrors, or changing rooms in the building. Furthermore, there's no electricity to the building nor is it easily accessible for those with physical disabilities.

The result of all these issues is an undignified restroom and hygiene experience for the females at the school, which has further unintended ramifications on morale and academic performance.

Project Description
This project aims to construct a new and fully functional female latrine block at Silethukukhanya High School in Xxxxx Village.

The latrine block will consist of four pit toilets and one extra-spacious toilet with hand rails for the physically disabled, three changing rooms, three sinks for hand washing with mirrors, a ramp for easier handicap access, and a wall around the entrance of the latrine block for privacy. Electricity and overhead lighting will also be installed for night use since many of the learners have extra classes in the evenings.

Two highly-experienced builders in Xxxxx Village have been identified to perform the work, along with several bricklayers and an electrician. Construction of the latrine block will begin with clearing a large site adjacent to the current latrine block. The pits for the five toilets will then be dug and the building's foundation laid after that. All of the construction materials will be sourced from the nearby town of Mtubatuba, which has several hardware stores.

In addition to the construction of the latrine block, the PCV has been working with the school's principal and teachers to identify a group of female students who come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds within the village. An after-school club with the girls will be formed to teach them about topics related to the female body, including puberty and feminine hygiene practices while segueing into other pertinent topics, including teen pregnancy and STIs. Two Child and Youth Care

Workers from the village have volunteered to facilitate the club, while donations of sanitary pads have already been made by a separate organization.

Overall, the community has been very active in this project, with teachers encouraging learners to participate in the club, care workers and volunteer guest speakers offering to speak to the girls, and members of the community offering to help with the construction of the latrine block once it commences.

High School Latrine Project- South AfricaProject Impact
575 people will benefit from the project, including female learners and staff, with many more in the future as students continue to cycle through the school.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
J. Jones

Monitoring and Maintenance
The builders of the latrine block have estimated the life span of the pit toilets to be 10 years before they fill up, but this is able to be extended through use of chemicals that help decompose the waste.

The latrines themselves will be cleaned and looked after by the janitorial workers at the school while future repair and upkeep costs will be furnished by the school as needed (with the repair work to be carried out by the builders constructing the latrines).

The fact that the toilets are pit-style increases their sustainability drastically as plumbing costs are kept to a minimum and water is not needed to flush the waste. Furthermore, the latrine block is to be constructed in such a way that promotes a large amount of natural ventilation when wind is present in the air, with a large number of overhead wind ducts.

Regarding the girls club, the knowledge passed on from the lessons will ideally be self-sustaining in that the girls will be encouraged to share the information that they learn with their siblings and peers, while also carrying it with them as they grow and have families of their own, some possibly remaining in the village.

Let Girls Learn
This project is expected to greatly benefit female learners, both directly and indirectly. The girls at the high school will have a much more dignified experience as they use the restroom, which will likely have a positive effect on their overall morale, especially as it translates to their academics. The girls will also no longer have to go into the forest to change clothes for sports days, drama rehearsals, and other events.

Also, an increase in hygienic practices (through the installation of sinks for hand washing) is reasonably expected to reduce the spread of illness and thus decrease sick days for the girls. Furthermore, grade 11 and 12 students are required to attend night classes, but in the past it has been difficult for them to use the latrine at night because of a lack of lighting, which will no longer be an issue for them.

Project Funding
The funds for this project have been provided by an anonymous donor.

If you like this project, please donate to Water Charity, so that we will be able to continue to do great projects in South Africa.

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