Kudos as Save The Children donates toilets to Lagos schools
Rita Michael Edet 11, a Primary Six pupil of St Paul UNA Primary School, Shomolu, Lagos could hardly conceal her excitement as she joined guests to commission a new toilet facility donated to her school yesterday. She was all smiles as she turned on the tap in the building and water gushed out for her and her mates to wash their hands.
“This new toilet is neat, It’s lovely, it’s beautiful. I always try not to use the old toilet unless I’m very pressed. It’s always smelling, full of urine and no water to flush. It’s full of germs,” she quipped as her classmate Michael Edet nodded in agreement.
The excitement was palpable among teachers and pupils in Shomolu LGA and Bariga LCDA of Lagos state as Save the Children International, in partnership with Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a multinational consumer goods company, handed over rehabilitated and newly constructed toilet facilities to 8 public primary schools in the area in an effort to promote hygiene education among the schools children.
Officials of the Shomolu Local Government were on hand as the Save The Children staff moved from one school to the other to inspect the new facilities and formally present them to the government for use by the schools. The tiled toilets were fitted with wash hand basins water tankers and in separate sections for male, female pupils and teachers, all designed to help the schools prevent the menace of diarrhoea, one of the leading causes of death among children.
Handing over the facilities, Save The Children’s Area Operation Manager, Lagos and Cross River, Mr. Roy Chikwem thanked the Local Government and teachers for giving the organisation and its partners the opportunity to impact on the children through the rehabilitation and construction of the facilities.
“Our work is to ensure children are protected and these facilities are being provided to ensure improved sanitation facilities and hygiene education that will result in the development of healthy behaviours by the children for life.”
He urged the teachers to encourage their pupils to use the facilities as they would at home. Chikwem also stressed the need for the children to cultivate the habit of washing hands and ensure that the facilities are also kept clean at all times.
Receiving the facilities on behalf of the SUBEB chairman, Mrs. Bunmi Oteju the LGA’s Director, Co-Curricular thanked Save The Children and RB for the gesture and assured them that the government would ensure that the facilities are maintained and kept clean to protect the children against diarrhoea and other diseases caused by poor hygiene and poor sanitation.
“Although you have been doing this in other parts of Lagos, we are happy that you have come to our local government too. I urge the teachers to ensure that these facilities are well maintained so that when our donors come back to inspect they will be happy that their money is being well utilised.”
The Save the Children has, in the last two years through the Stop Diarrhoea Initiative been carrying out lifesaving interventions using the WHO-UNICEF 7Point Plan for the Prevention and Control of diarrhoea in Shomolu and Bariga. A major part of these interventions is the rehabilitation of WASH Facilities in selected Primary Schools across Shomolu and Bariga.
According to Babatunde Folorunsho, Advocacy Adviser, Lagos, Save the Children International, it is important to put in place sanitary facilities like the Child Friendly Toilets in Strategic Locations such as schools, market places, places of worship, hospitals, airports and malls for our children to use safely when nature calls.
“This brings to mind the importance of having public toilets in strategic places, not just for children but for adults too. What we are doing here today is an extension of the November 19th, 2016 World Toilet Day Celebration we held at CMS Primary School in Bariga. Functional toilets with regular water supply are necessary in our homes, schools, offices and public places if we must stop open defecation which endangers our health and defaces our environment.
“We call out to the Leadership of Shomolu LGA, Bariga LCDA, SUBEB and the Lagos State Government by extension to take note of our modest efforts today and replicate this initiative in all the schools and communities in Shomolu, Bariga and Lagos State. We also call out to the Lagos State Government to approve and implement the Lagos WASH Policy.”
Save the Children disclosed that no fewer than 2,891 pupils have been reached so far in its efforts to support the school sanitary facilities.
Reckitt Benckiser’s Marketing Manager West Africa, Ms Omotola Bamigboye-Elatuyi told journalists that the company’s partnership with Save The Childen is in line with its global objective of helping to evolve effective and convenient solutions to everyday symptoms that make a difference to people all over the world.
“I’m glad to see these facilities being handed over to the schools. The smiles on the faces of the children are enough justification that the project is a worthy cause.”