. . . roll out WASH reach out to learners across the country
MASERU – A safe living partnership between Trans Vanguard and Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) has helped introduce the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project to over 110 627 learners in primary and secondary schools as well as early childhood education centres across the country.
The project is aimed at investing in provision of hand washing facilities across all sectors, particularly schools and health facilities which do not have access to WASH, and for increased hand hygiene education using children as agents of change in the Covid-19 era. The LRCS was the implementing partner of the project in 300 public schools of the Qacha’s Nek, Thaba-Tseka, Mokhotlong and Botha-Bothe districts.
Key considerations included installing permanent handwashing infrastructure with capacity to cater for an entire school – on an average of 100 learners. The structures have five to 10 washing points with minimal learners’ supervision, with leg pedalling, rainwater harvesting and piped water feeding to reduce contamination.
The initiative further promotes rain water harvesting in schools for ecological restoration and environmental sustainability and to encourage other environmental-friendly water related measures. In also promotes the formation of WASH clubs in schools as well as the training of community members, school board members, teachers and learners for the right usage and maintenance of the facilities.
Speaking during a tour of one of these projects the Botha-Bothe District Resource Teacher, ’Malipolelo Tlali, said this effort has helped a lot in improving learners’ hygiene “especially because schools are considered Covid-19 super spreaders.” “Now the learners have been availed a safe and informed way on how to take care of themselves, others and the environment they live in.”
Life&Style spoke to ’Mapule Tjotjela, a student from Lepatoa Primary School, who explained that she has mainly learned that keeping good hygiene can help her avoid various diseases, particularly the spread of Covid-19. “After being trained, I am supposed to go and teach my school mates and my family about ways to keep good hygiene,” she said.
’Mahlompho Matobako, Trans Vanguard WASH Project Officer for her part said that “the project is also about menstrual hygiene as well, which means instilling the right information and showing girls how to use sanitary towels. Myths such as ‘when a girl starts menstruating it means she is sleeping around’ were also dispelled.
After each and every training I saw the learners having an idea about what hygiene is and being able to practise it.” Trans Vanguard is a non-profit making organisation founded in 2017 by professionals from the health, development, humanitarian and business fraternities with support from Beauty Pageant Association of Lesotho (BPAL) members’ pool to engage and address children, adolescent girls, young women and at-risk people on challenges they face in their communities.