US Embassy in Tanzania through the American people is set to construct modern toilets to improve sanitation and hygiene in all primary schools in Kipawa ward, Dar es Salaam Region.
Kipawa Ward councillor Bonnah Kaluwa told The Guardian in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the American Embassy is supporting the efforts being made by the government to ensure pupils study in a good environment.
Kaluwa said officials from the American Embassy have already visited Kipawa ward and seen the pupils’ studying environment and observed the shortage of toilets, promising to construct modern toilets in all schools.
She pointed out that the embassy came up with the plan after seeing that hygiene and sanitation is a problem in all primary schools in the ward, adding: “The project will commence any time in April and I am sure that it will be a success.” She thanked the American Embassy for its effort aimed at ensuring that pupils in primary schools in Kipawa ward study in environments that are education friendly.
She said all pupils in the earmarked schools will each contribute a single building block towards the project.
The rapid increase in primary school enrolment since the abolition of school fees for primary education in 2002 has put a heavy burden on the existing school infrastructures particularly toilet facilities.
Meanwhile, many new schools are built with no consideration of toilet facilities or if built at all they would normally of poor standards.
National data shows that on average there is only one pit latrine for every 56 pupils in primary schools (both public and private schools), yet there are sharp regional differences between public and private schools. For public primary schools in Dar es Salaam it is 1 latrine for 215 boys and 187 girls.
A detailed 2009 study supported by UNICEF and other partners that covered all schools in 16 districts showed that over 80 per cent of schools lacked functioning hand washing facilities, and virtually none had any soap available. Only four per cent of schools had any sanitation or provided hand washing facilities for children with disabilities.
Schools where sanitation facilities lack privacy, are unsafe, or are non-existent are likely to have the poorest attendance records and highest drop-out rates.
Improving sanitation in schools is essential for keeping students in school, and ensuring their right to education.
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (A-WASH) initiative is one of many community improvement projects supported by the US Ambassador's Community Grants Programme. Each year, the program provides approximately $220,000 (295million/-) in direct assistance grants to the Tanzanian community organisations whose projects benefit villages and urban communities.