In an effort to improve girls’ education in Rukwa by keeping girls in school, a project in the area was able to renovate 35 rural school toilets in the area.
The decision of the Girls Get Equal Integrated Approach to Ending Child Early and Forced Marriages project in Rukwa to construct toilets, handwashing facilities, changing rooms and water facilities in schools is driven by extensive evidence that shows that the availability of WASH facilities in schools has improved student attendance. and performance in subjects while being one of their rights.
According to Kisasu Sikalwanda, project manager Girls Get Equal Integrated Approach to Ending Child Early and Forced Marriages Rukwa, a total of 30 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities have been constructed and rehabilitated out of the 33 targeted in 2021 .
“The facilities are modern and disability-friendly, as you saw on your media tour,” Kisasu told the Daily News, adding that the design also took into account the special requirements for boys (urinal section). as well as girls’ menstrual hygiene. Needs.
He said that adequate sanitation and sanitation facilities in schools encourage girls to attend school due to reliable hygiene needs during menstruation, which improves their academic performance and reduces the risk of school dropout.
During a media tour, the Daily News saw each facility have specially designated changing rooms for girls to change menstrual pads during their monthly cycle.
The bedrooms are equipped with closets for storage and trash cans. Rehabilitation latrines and constructed latrines are modernized.
In Rukwa region, according to adolescent girls and young girls, poor access to WASH is one of the biggest barriers for adolescent girls and young girls completing school.
“If a girl has to miss between 5 and 7 school days each month when she is menstruating, that means a girl misses almost 63 school days, while boys continue their studies,” said Patrick Sichalwe, a parent from Ilemba neighborhood, adding that such circumstances cause girls to lag behind boys and some simply decide not to go to school.
“Inadequate WASH conditions in schools can hinder girls’ full participation in school, leading to poor performance and increased dropout rates. WASH facilities can help girls better manage their periods and improve attendance and their completion. Sichwale pointed out.
According to the Tanzania National Schools WASH Report (2018), only 25% of Tanzanian schools met the minimum government standard for learners per toilet (20 girls and 25 boys per toilet) and 16.7% of schools had changing rooms with toilets. basic amenities, such as water, trash can, soap and emergency supplies.
The facilities are filled with Menstrual Hygiene Management facilities such as baskets, bins, gloves and step-by-step posters along with other Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) messages. There are also posters that aim to educate parents about supporting adolescent girls with affordable sanitary pads and using MHM-friendly educational materials to improve child retention in school.
“I thank the Girls Get Equal Integrated Approach to Ending Child Early and Forced Marriages project for improving our toilets. Prior to this, our school had limited access to clean water, proper sanitation facilities and sanitary pads, which made it difficult for us (girls) to manage our periods in a hygienic way. Ilemba Primary School, which declined to disclose its name.
According to the student, this will also help improve their attendance and therefore their abilities/performance from now on. “Education is key to realizing our dreams,” she added emphatically.
Girls Get Equal Integrated Approach to Ending Child Early and Forced Marriages Project, works in 152 schools in Rukwa. The project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for International Development (Norad).
Adequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is a basic human right. It is essential to the realization of all human rights and necessary for improving health, education, nutrition and other indices of human development.