When my dad enrolled me in primary (Basic) school as a child, i was very happy because i found the school environment quit fascinating. I could see beautiful structures, standard football pitch/play ground, dinning hall, serene environment, adequate toilet facility on each floor/block of classroom building, and a water dispensing tap.
After resumption of school activities at the beginning of the term, i observed that whenever pupils took permission to go and urinate, instead of going to use the toilet they always urinate on a part of the school’s field close to the fence. I had no choice than to follow the trend which the school authority seems not to be bordered about.
Everything was going on smoothly as anticipated until one fateful day when i had stomach disorder, and needed to use the toilet. As usual, i took permission from my class teacher, but when i got to the toilet, each room was a complete mess. I tried checking each block to see if i could at least find any that is in good condition, but i was disappointed because i had to go home in order to comfortably ease myself of my stomach upset. The journey home was not funny, as i won’t like to bore your with much details. The reason the school’s toilet facility was in such sorry state was due to lack of proper maintenance coupled with the fact that the water supply to the facility is no longer functional and there was no engagement of janitors.
As i look back today at the current state of most public schools, the situation is not different or even worse, considering the provision of toilet facilities and sanitation.
52% of schools in Nigeria are without a toilet and about 62 million children do not have a decent toilet at home. About 40 million Nigerian still defecate in the open. Assess to sanitation is crucial for a healthy life.
The challenges are enormous but we can make the difference. I call on all stakeholders to join efforts in order to improve the lives and well being of our people. Let us work the talk in our advocacy.
Check out and support these SI4DEV causes and pilot projects to provide toilets and other WASH facilities in rural communities.