According to the Ghana Education Service(GES) national profile statistics, thirty-four percent (34%) of the Basic Schools in Ghana do not have access to improved sanitation.
This statistic is also similar for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area GAMA.
An assessment carried by the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project revealed that it would require at least a contribution of GHC45,00 per pupil per year to effectively operate and maintain school WASH facilities.
The cost includes Water supply, Electricity, Dislodging, Cleansing/Janitorial Services, Consumables/Toiletries, and Minor Repairs.
Presently, it has virtually become a tradition for parents, through their pupils, to annually contribute toilet rolls and cakes of soap for anal cleansing and for handwashing purposes in schools.
Though only about 60% of the pupils contribute, the approach appears to support the provision of some sanitation consumables.
According to Ing. George Asiedu, Coordinator-General, GAMA Sanitation, and Water Project, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the schools are therefore left with no other choice than to improvise their own ways of maintenance of schools toilets.
This is where the School Sanitation Solutions Challenge is providing some guidance in dealing with the issue.
Adding that the objectives of the challenge influencing and building the capacity of school children to become sanitation conscious is, therefore, a call in the right direction.
Mr. Asiedu furthered that the need to involve children in developing successful sanitation solutions cannot be overemphasized.
“It is in this vein that I consider the schools’ sanitation solution challenge appropriate and worthy of support,” he noted.
Mr. George Asiedu was speaking at the launch of the second edition of ‘Schools Sanitation Solutions Challenge’ Organized by World Vision Ghana on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, held at Sunlodge Hotel in Accra.
To him, the schools’ sanitation solutions challenge is very critical and in the right direction because when the schools have finally been given the needed resources, the cooperation and mindset of the pupils will be needed to support the cleanliness of the facilities.
Mr. Yaw Atta Arhin, the Technical Coordinator of World Vision Ghana added that the project, however, increasing its support to two institutional school facilities to the winner and the runner up in Accra and Kumasi where the project is currently operating.
The project will also financially support the sensitization activities of the winners. At the launch of the maiden edition of the school sanitation solutions challenge on 19th September, 2019, through GAMA support have agreed to construct two school toilet facilities in honour of the winner of the first challenge, Neriah Tettey.
To Mr. Arhin, the support will enable Nerriah Tettey to embark on various sensitization activities in some selected schools as part of efforts to generate the needed national attention towards maintenance and sustenance of school toilet facilities across the country.
He said according to GES, 49%, of public basic schools in Ghana, lack access to safe drinking water, and 30% of all basic schools have no toilet facilities.
This translates into 7,400 public basic schools, more than two million children in public schools, and 430,000 in private basic schools are affected by the lack of decent toilets while in school.
On his part, the winner of the first edition of the school solutions challenge Neriah Tettey, encouraged every Ghanaian child to be interested in the Triple S Challenge, even if it is just following how others participate. “I wish whoever succeeds me at the end of this second edition the best of luck.”
This to her, from the past one and half years, has been full of learning and appreciation of pertinent sanitation issues in Ghana. ” I have come to love sanitation and environmental issues the more, and I believe it will be part of me forever, ” she disclosed.
She added that the Neriah project has mostly been a learning point for most of the time, and covid-19 restrictions have also hindered progress to some extent. But she has managed to undertake a few activities both physically and online to set the tone for more advocacy and sensitization for any new Diplomat.
The first edition of schools sanitation solutions challenge was opened to school children from class (4) to JHS 2. while the second edition starts from class (6) to JHS 3.
The overall winner and the first, second, and third runners-up all will receive tablets, cash prizes, Books, and some souvenirs. The schools will receive Desktops computer and other attractive prizes.
Report By Bernard K DADZIE
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