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After the success of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Menstrual Health Management (MHM) programme in Zanzibar, African Adventures Foundation has been awarded funding to continue this vital work at our partner schools in Ghana.

We are excited to be rolling out the WASH Programme at three of our partner schools in Ghana, with the construction work already underway at Dornorgbor School.

What is our WASH Programme?

The WASH Programme provides equal opportunity for girls and boys to reach their full potential at school through the construction of better sanitation facilities and access to clean water, to create an environment that’s more conducive to learning. Alongside the construction work, educational workshops have been introduced for the students, to improve their knowledge and understanding of good hygiene and menstrual health management, helping girls to feel confident in managing their menstruation so that they can attend school.

16,000 students at three of our partner schools in Zanzibar are already benefiting from the project, and an increase in the female students’ confidence has been seen, with some of them nominating themselves as menstrual health management mentors, encouraging younger students to approach them when they start their period for support.

school-toilets-zanzibar

The new toilet block built as part of the WASH Programme at Kijito School, Zanzibar.

Through the WASH Programme, we are supporting five of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Why is it important?

All of our partner schools in Ghana currently have inadequate sanitation facilities. At Dornorgbor School, which educates 716 students, there are just four latrine toilets, of which only two are functional, with no toilet paper or hand washing facilities. Currently, only 2% of girls who attend Dornorgbor feel confident managing menstruation and 100% of girls do not have access to underwear and sanitary pads.

The inadequate toilet block at Dornorgbor School.

Inadequate facilities, combined with a lack of understanding of good hygiene practices, is having a massive impact on children’s education, with attendance being markedly impacted by illness. Girls also have low confidence due to a lack of knowledge, products and support to manage their menstrual health, leading to reduced attendance.

“Most of the girls abscond themselves from school during their menstruation period due to lack of better school facilities and inability to buy sanitary pads. With the provision of this WASH programme facility, it will go a long way to encourage the girl students’ attendance and also increase their performance in the classroom.” Teacher at Dornorgbor School.

What will the programme involve?

Our WASH and MHM Programme will improve understanding of good hygiene amongst students through the delivery of hygiene education workshops at all three of our partner schools.

We’ll also construct 12 new latrines and urinals, install clean piped water, and build hand-washing facilities at the schools. This will enable the students to put their new knowledge of good hygiene into practice.

Additionally, Menstrual Health Management workshops will be held for girls aged 11-17 during the school day, known as ‘girls club’. Female teachers will be championing menstrual health education and supporting girls to be better equipped to manage their menstruation whilst at school through a supply of sanitary pads.

“This programme will help us to stop using rags and other materials that are not hygienic during menstrual periods.” Student at Dornorgbor School.

Finally, we’ll construct a dedicated sanitation facility at each school to give girls a private and hygienic space in which to manage their menstrual health.

What will this programme achieve?

Through this programme, more than 1,600 children in Ghana will deepen their understanding of good hygiene and will have access to sanitation facilities with which to put this new knowledge into action. With the support of parents and our partner schools, we hope that this understanding will filter down to younger siblings, leading to improved hygiene at home.

Improved hygiene will mean that attendance increases, as hygiene-related illnesses and absences from school will decrease. Girls aged 10-17 will also have a better understanding of menstrual health, and girls will feel more confident about managing their menstruation at school, reducing the disparity in attendance levels between boys and girls.

Finally, as well as improving educational outcomes and providing equal opportunity for boys and girls to reach their potential, this programme has the capacity to positively change hygiene behaviour and attitudes to menstruation in the wider community.

Dornorgbor School Progress

Construction work started in January 2024, and our brilliant teams of builders (fundis) have broken the ground, laid the foundations and the brick walls are starting to take shape! The new building will house the urinals, gendered toilets, handwashing basins and a girls’ changing room to aid with menstrual health management.

school-toilets-ghana

The toilet block walls have been constructed this week.

“Following the success of WASH in Zanzibar, it is amazing to see work progressing so well at our first partner school in Ghana. The need for this programme is so great, and we cannot wait to see how the new facilities are welcomed by the school and the impact that the programme will have on the children and their education.” Rachel, Fundraising Manager, African Adventures.

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