Child Sanitation Diplomat, Miss Mawadatu Naziru, has urged the Ministry of Education to adopt practical measures to ensure that school toilets are sustainably operated and maintained.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, the 12-year-old winner of the 2021 edition of the School Sanitation Solutions Challenge said it was regrettable that while many schools did not yet have toilet facilities, those who were lucky to have been provided were also unable to operate and maintain them.
“I have heard that some of the schools are not able to raise enough funds to buy cleansing and other materials like detergents and toilet rolls and for minor maintenance when parts of the facility wear out. When this happens, it is not only a waste of money and energy but also entrenches the habit of open defecation around the school compound by the children,” she said.
Mawadatu said she was focused on supporting the campaign to raise a sanitation conscious generation and that would advocate the removal of every barrier that prevented children from practicing good sanitation, adding that absence of clean toilets in schools, and poor operation and maintenance of available school toilets were some of the major barriers.
She suggested that the Municipal and District Assemblies create a special fund dedicated to the maintenance of school toilets and possibly engage cleaners to always be stationed at the school toilet to ensure that the place was clean all the time.
Mawadatu was designated the Child Sanitation Diplomat after she won the second edition of the School Sanitation Solutions Challenge (Triple S) in 2021. The Triple S Challenge, organised by World Vision Ghana and Kings Hall Media annually, is a nationwide sanitation campaign focused on raising a sanitation-conscious generation.
Children from Primary and Junior High Schools are made to write a sanitation-related essay. The best writers are invited to face a panel of sanitation experts to verbally defend their essays, and the best four candidates qualify for the final stage where they are taken through some problem-solving drills and a quiz to select an overall winner. The winner is then designated a Child Sanitation Diplomat by the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, and is supported by the organisers to implement a one-year sanitation project.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY