Upon completion of this project, the implementing partner reported from the field...
The Sierra Leone team constructed two latrines; one for girls and one for boys. There are 16 stalls in each building with four of those being designated for those with disabilities. The girls' structure also has two squat urinals. It is important to keep the pits as dry as possible, so the other stalls are used for defecation only. There is water that is used to flush out the urinals and water at the sinks so the students can wash their hands with soap and water, but the latrines themselves are composting latrines. We explained how they are used to the students and the teachers and the hygiene staff has been on hand daily to make sure that they are being used properly and that they are being kept clean. Once the Child Health Club is formed duties will be more organized. School started late this year, September 19th. There are students attending this school who attended Campbell Town where we built our first toilets in 2009, Magbafti, Huntingdon Primary School and Foo Foo Water Primary School and the staff was encouraged to use students from these communities in the Child Health Club, especially those who were members from their previous school.
The idea of a composting toilet is in line with the millenium 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. We 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 constraint 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 we 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, community members and students were using a well that was unable to meet all of their water needs. Because of this, students were suffering from 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 by petty trading, some are professionals and teachers. There are very few large market areas. The local well contact is Mr. Alfred E. Coker, principal of the Sr. Secondary School.
The Sierra Leone team had an opportunity to meet with twelve year old community member and student JSS2 Grey, Rebecca Sennessie, who stated, "Going to the toilet in the bush made me feel bad. I have no toilet at home. This toilet makes me feel fine. It has no diseases. I told my parents, they have built for me a toilet at school. I want to have one at home but the house is in an area where the water overcomes us and it's not possible. I live in Tombo. The houses are so close together. There is no place for a toilet. When I grow up I want to be an accountant." Rebecca was 11th overall in her class last year. She is aiming for even higher this year.
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 we taught here. 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, we 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. We will do a further workshop with those teachers who want this information. Already we have designed some 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. During the hygiene education, the 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, Good-bad hygiene behaviors, Disease Transmission Stories, Clean Hands Clean Hearts and Dental Hygiene.