Upon completion of this project, our implementing partner reported from the field...
The team constructed two latrines in the community; one for girls and one for boys. There are 16 stalls in each building with four of those being designated for disabled individuals. The boys’ structure has two large urinals that look like trofts. Water is used to flush out the urinals and water is used for the sinks so the students can wash their hands with soap and water. The latrines themselves are composting latrines, so it is important that they are kept as dry as possible, thus the reason for the urinals. The Sierra Leone team explained how they are used to the students and the teachers. The hygiene staff has been on hand daily to make sure the latrines are being used properly and that they are being kept clean. Once the Child Health Club is formed duties will be more organized. There are students attending this school who attended Campbell Town where we built our first toilets in 2009 which was a pour flush system. Magbafti, Huntingdon Primary School and Foo Foo Water Primary School which are both composting toilets like these and the staff were encouraged to use students from these communities in the Child Health Club, especially those who were members from their previous school.
Because of the size of this school and the fact that it is a secondary school and the focus is really on education and pushing through the syllabus, it has proved to be a bit challenging to get some of our baseline data, but finally we have gotten the beginning of it. The CHC is formed and now the real work begins on mobilizing the students to take charge of their personal hygiene. Most sanitation projects in this country are done only at primary schools. Primary Schools are a lot easier and manageable. The team encouraged the school to have a caretaker to oversee the sanitation buildings and work with the Child Health Club. There is one hygiene person assigned to this school and she goes there each day for now to make sure that the toilets are being used properly. Not only is it the children that we have to get trained, but we also have to train the teachers how to use this type of latrine so that it is used properly. The team will be on hand to show them how to shut the one side down at the end of the year so it can cook, so to speak and then open a new side for next year.
The following year the first set of pits will be dug out and will hopefully be good for fertilizer. The idea of a composting toilet is in line with the millennium development goals (MDGs) of Sierra Leone which are encouraging good sanitation and also agriculture. With these latrines, the students, school and community will have access to manure for fertilizer for their gardens. The Sierra Leone team will work with the school when they are ready to harvest their first fertilizer. We believe this type of toilet will be more sustainable than flush toilets. One constrain but also a blessing for this project was that as the team began to dig the pits they met huge boulders of ball stone which is needed for the floors, so although the team didn't have to purchase as much ball stone for this project, the labor costs were higher. It was exciting to watch the awe in the students' eyes as they first checked out their new toilets. They all feel totally blessed to be the recipients of such a project.
When the team arrived, the community was dependent on a well that was located .1 of a kilometer away from the community and nearly unable to meet their water needs. Because of this, families were suffering from dysentery, typhoid and malaria. During the team’s stay, community members assisted the team with the water project whenever possible, provided any materials they had available and provided security over the water project during the night. Most community members earn a living working as: Petty traders, professionals, teachers, welders, and business people.
Waterloo is considered an urban area. It is located along the Main Motor Road that runs from Freetown right out towards the east of the country. Approximately 30 minutes east of Waterloo is the first junction to branch off to the North and Southern sections of the country. This school is located off of the Main Motor Road, down Benguma Road, which is the road that leads to the Peninsular. Along this Road are various shops made of sticks and others of cement. There is a huge market area not far from the school. There is also a huge area where people gather to get transport. This area around the school is an extremely busy area. The school is a Jr. Secondary School located in the community, who’s Principal; Mr. Kenneth Kromanty is the community’s local well contact.
The Sierra Leone team had an opportunity to meet with twelve year old community member and student JSS3 White, Abdulai Aziz Kamara. Aziz lives in Bassa Town. The primary school he attended did not have a toilet. He has a toilet at home. He said he was very excited when he learned about the sanitation project and that he would have access to a toilet. "I felt comfortable to use the toilets." "Going [toilet] in the bush isn't good. Everywhere you turn there is s--- and the flies follow me. It is not fine. I want to be a doctor when I grow up because I want to take very good care of my parents and my community and my patients."
The hygiene training was held over a period of four days. There are 78 teachers at this school and more than half of them attended this training, which was really a good turnout considering not all of the teachers will be teaching the hygiene lessons that were addressed. Because it is a secondary school and they have a very large syllabus to cover, only certain teachers, like the home economics teacher, will be covering these materials. Every student in the school has to go through that class. However, the team did emphasize that every class can bring hygiene training into their curriculum using a whole language approach, which some of the teachers were really interested in to make their classes a bit more creative. The team will hold a further workshop with those teachers who want this information.
Already, the Sierra Leone team has designed several ideas such as for language they can go through their curriculum and pull out certain hygiene words and write them on the board. They can then ask the students to write a story using those words. The words must be used in the correct context. Once the teacher has the short story and the context is correct, the student can then identify the parts of speech and so on. For Math, the teachers can make up word problems based on a bad or good hygiene situation in a community. In Science, which this school has a new Science laboratory fully equipped with microscopes, etc., they can test the water, soil, etc. and then when it is time to dig out the composting mixture, they can test it to see if they see any worms or parasites in the mixture.
For agriculture, they can do an experiment planting the school garden by planting one row without the composting mixture and one row with the mixture and then see what their yield of the vegetables is. Those are just some of the examples we gave them to use, which caused them to get very excited about hygiene. In addition to training the trainers, the teachers, the following lessons, we also had them teach the lessons back to us so that they could become familiar with teaching the lessons. The highlight of the training was the making of the tippy taps. It is the new sensation!! We supplied the school with rubber bowls to catch the water so there isn't a big mess.
Forming a Child Health Club (CHC) was discussed with the teachers and they were asked to consider students who could be a part of this club. The members of the club would then be paired up with other students so that eventually all the students in the school will have worked with a member of the club. The CHC's roles and responsibilities are to work with the other members of the school to keep the toilets clean, work with teachers to get dustbins dug on the school grounds, help staff with the hygiene training in their community, and to sensitize their communities on the importance of using a toilet versus open defecation. The goal of this project is eventually to have all the catchment communities become ODF or open defecation free. Though parts of Waterloo are considered rural, because of its growth, parts of it are also considered urban, and we will not be addressing urban sanitation because it differs from rural sanitation or the use of native toilets, though the students can still sensitize the community members, The CHC members will receive special TWP T-Shirts and will receive certificates for being members. The teachers who attended the hygiene training received certificates.
Before leaving the community, the Sierra Leone team addressed; Disease transmission, germs, hand washing- proper techniques and water saving methods, healthy unhealthy communities, Oral Rehydration Solution, proper care of the pump, keeping the water clean, Tippy Tap- simple hand washing devise, good-bad hygiene behaviors, disease transmission stories, clean hands clean hearts and dental hygiene.