Unhygienic toilet in girls' secondary school (Nigeria)


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Idea for sanitation and hygiene in Schools in Nigeria

It is challenging but real that Nigeria seems to be one of the most failing countries in the world on access to sanitation. Even though data entry, records and information in water and sanitation in this part is abysmal but from my analysis, it is showing worsening trends – with a disheartening and steady decline in the number of people with access to improved sanitation facilities and increase in open defecation. In fact, in urban areas vis a vis where there are slums, the number of people defecating in open has increased and will continue if we do nothing about it. Worrisome is the bandwagon effect this has on young school children without toilets.
Kaduna State is situated in the northern part of Nigeria with a population of over 8 million people densely living in urban areas of the State. Over 80% of its populace lack access to water, and sanitation is an issue especially to the most vulnerable in the society which include children and women, the elderly and children with disability.
Within Kaduna urban areas are Kaduna metropolis, Zaria and Kafanchan Local Government Areas amongst the 23 Local Government Areas. These three mentioned Local Government are urban centers of the State and are interwoven with slums; where the poorest of poor lives. Sanitation situation in these slums are extremely poor and is deepened by poverty. Poor sanitation affects their health ignorantly and has recorded high number deaths especially among the vulnerable children and women than any other. Lack of access to information about sanitation could be traced to the root of the big problem, which is life threatening. But fortunately this challenge can be brought to knee, simply by engaging and teaching children at schools about sanitation. So as they grow they can grow up with it. We can simply catch them young.
Interestingly, children can learn faster and they learn better in music and dance. In this case, if we can connect with them on time through drama, music and dance, they can play a strategic role as drivers of change in spreading the message of water, sanitation and hygiene to themselves, by themselves, their peers, parents, families, neighbors, communities and at the global stage. They are catalyst to ending open defecation by 2025. And if we don’t see it so, we have already missed the target and our effort may
The idea
• To educate and enlighten school children on the danger of open defecation and raise awareness to community led initiatives in line with UN’s campaign to end open defecation globally and promote SDG goal 6.
• To join voice in amplifying access to toilets for children with disabilities as human rights.
Target - Children and Young student of aged 5-11 years.
Objectives –
- To identify the causes of open defecation
- To create solid foundation for finding a solution for open defecation
- To raise awareness to the status of sanitation in Kaduna state
- To draw attention of school management towards provision of clean toilets at schools.
- To raise future champions that will amplify water, sanitation and hygiene to policy makers and shape policies in time to come.
The program activities will be segmented into 3 phases.
a. Identification and Notification – Slums within Kaduna Metropolis, Zaria and Kafanchan Local Government Areas shall be the target areas. 50 slums in number shall be identified and selected. Within the 50 selected slums, 100 schools in numbers shall be identified and selected for participation and for survey. Letters of notification will be sent to select 100 schools for approval.
b. Survey- Questionnaires will be printed, distributed to students at schools and collated. Schools with special needs have/ will be identified and selected, with slight difference in the frame up of the questionnaires. But respondents with disabilities schooling with able students is more focused. Questions for those living with disability may include-
i. Do you have privacy when using the toilet?
ii. When you need assistance when using the toilet, what do you do?
iii. Is there anything to make noise inside the toilet if you need help?
iv. What do you think makes you feel discriminated when using the toilet etc
c. Collation/Interpretation - Surveys are collated and analyzed. Photocopies of surveys questionnaires will be sent to DTO. From the survey, we will develop creative communication strategies for awareness materials like posters, flyers and stickers.

a. Awareness Campaign-25 most at risk schools will be selected from the 100 schools and at random location of the selected slums. Letters for approval for the awareness program will be sent to schools. The program concept will use theatre art – drama, music and dance to demonstrate and communicate the message such that it is stamp on the subconscious mind of target beneficiaries/audience. The program will also make room for interaction via a 20 minute debate competition among target beneficiaries. The debate shall be between boys and girls team. The topic shall be – “WHO NEEDS TOILET MOST” BOYS OR GIRLS?
The program will be short so that it is interesting and appealing. It will not exceed an hour.

Post Monitoring Survey–10 selected schools in the selected slums will be revisited to ascertain if there is any shift in attitude, behavior or lifestyle arising from the program. The visit will focused on the state of school toilet, before, during and after the campaign.

All of the above is open for discussion.
Dennis Ekwere
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