Conclusion of Mbazwana Primary School Sanitation Project – South Africa

Conclusion of Mbazwana Primary School Sanitation Project – South Africa

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Susan Goodson Fatherree.
To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

Susan Reports:

FINAL PROJECT REPORT

MPS Sanitation/ Hygiene Project Background

 This project involved the refurbishing of 4 toilet buildings and developing and employing a hygiene /sanitation education component for teachers and students in a primary school serving 1,200 students.  These buildings had not been cleaned or sanitized for years.  The students who entered the school at the primary level had not been trained to use flushing toilets. So they would be sent to the toilet buildings but instead of using the flushing toilets that were too high for the fresh learners, these students would simply squat and do everything on the floor and teachers would not go in and correct them.  The learners carried these habits as they progressed to higher grades.  Teachers had not been inside these buildings for years.  The principal was taken totally by surprise when I showed him a video of the condition of these facilities.

However, when the project was completed the principal took all the teachers to each building and they were astonished.  The administrators stood inside one of the buildings and actually had a meeting.  The principal came running to get me to show me they were having a meeting inside a toilet building!  It was a day of celebration.  I thought this was pretty funny they were so full of joy over clean toilets.  The education component of the project has ensured the sustainability of the project.
The school has been declared a model school regarding sanitation and hygiene by the mayor and other officials who have come to tour the facilities. 

Goals Achieved, Changes in Initial Objectives

All the goals and objectives of this project were achieved.  What changed concerned the timeline.  The project was not actually completed until the end of August 2014 due to complications with contractors who did not stay committed to the project or ignored our expected schedule and worked at their own convenience.

Community Feeling

The community has been extremely supportive of this project including the mayor, officials from the provincial government, and other community leaders.

Sustainability

Teachers are committed to teaching about the importance of hygiene.  They are also committed to the cleaning of the buildings on a regular basis.  Their goal is to teach the learners to have as much pride in cleaning the toilets as the learners have in cleaning their classrooms every day and on Fridays.  This process is in place and in this regard, the project is in a sustainable model.
There may be a problem with the issue of repairs.  The school does not have a custodian whose responsibility is to repair broken things around the school and in facilities.  So, for example, if a toilet handles breaks and a toilet cannot be flushed, it may stay broken till the Vice-principal takes care of it.  But eventually, it will get fixed.  The supervisor of the NGO (CWP) has agreed to come over on a monthly basis and repair non-working toilets, sinks, and faucets.

Capacity and Skills Built

The principal is responsible for the capacity of the school’s growth and development.  When we initiated the project, he recognized the need was urgent to promote a sanitation and hygiene project.  His commitment was so strong that he assigned a line item in his budget for additional supplies for cleaning.  Instructions to add hygiene into the curriculum was given to the educators.  In this regard, the school has the capacity to maintain the project.   I would say the educating about sanitation and hygiene habits were skills that all the teachers gained from workshops that were facilitated by health officials from the local clinic and provincial department of health.  Learners, particularly boys, participated in the construction phase and were taught how to pour concrete and how to properly paint the interior of a building.  And more than anything, the community of this school witnessed the changing of an impossible situation.   This motivated the principal to lay concrete in an area that was deep sand but also the area where learners did their morning prayers.  In other words, the school admin took on other important impossible issues and resolved them motivated by the toilet project.

Responses from School Community

School Principal:  “We cannot express our happiness for these contributions to our school.  We thank you!”

School Vice Principal and Choir Director:  “This keyboard will be our treasure.  I cannot tell you how much you have made us very happy.  We will win any competitions with this.”

School Teacher: “You will never know how much the students care about these toilets and water taps…this makes such a difference and they will take care of them…you will see.”
We would like to thank Susan once again for executing such a fine project.

This project has been completed and has been fully funded through the generosity of Alan Pollard.