Richard Homewood writes:
“The Schools Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. According to UNICEF, every day, over 800 children die, worldwide, from preventable diseases caused by the lack of these basic facilities. It is acknowledged that Sub Saharan Africa, which includes Sierra Leone, lags far behind other continents in addressing the problem. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures.
Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. Whilst we can’t tackle the problem in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, we can improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities.
The Link has already had a survey of the schools undertaken to establish what facilities they currently have and don’t have. The report of that survey can be seen here: WASH report on schools.
This is a huge project and we have been working with other established organisations in Sierra Leone and the individual schools to plan how we can improve the facilities and give the children a better chance for the future.
It has been agreed that the first priority is to ensure each school has a sustainable water supply. Phase one has begun with the first four schools being provided with funding to connect to a piped water supply or to improve their wells and pumping facilities.
St Mulumba and Kankalay schools in Hastings SL are able to connect to a piped water supply and work is almost complete on the water towers and piped connections. At Jui Upper School they have been digging the well deeper and replacing the pump to try to ensure a year round supply of water. At REC Hastings, the well is being refurbished and security improved to prevent abuse and damage. [We’ll put up more information and photos soon, at https://www.hastingshastings.org.uk/current-projects/schools-sanitation-project/ ].
In February 2020 a group of over 20 teachers and other volunteers are visiting Hastings Sierra Leone. One of the projects we will be working on will be to revisit every twinned school and confirm the specification for the work that is required to provide a sustainable water supply. The schools will then be able to obtain competitive estimates for the work and funds can be allocated.
None of this work can be achieved without the donations from our friends and supporters and we thank you all most sincerely for your generosity.
We were also delighted when local company Southern Energy Solutions recently contacted us to offer their support and to promote the Schools Sanitation Project amongst their customer base and staff.
Water has been provided to the first four schools in our twin town area, Hastings, Sierra Leone. Water towers and piped connections have been installed at Kankalay and St Mulumba Schools in Hastings, the well at REC Hastings has been refurbished and security improved, and the well at Jui Upper has been dug deeper and the pump replaced. [You’ll a fuller report soon in the current projects section of the website at https://www.hastingshastings.org.uk/current-projects/schools-sanitation-project/ ]