In 2011, a teacher shared with us his anguish after a girl was rushed to hospital. Their school had no toilet facilities, so she had wandered into the bushes to use the toilet. Whilst she was in the bushes, she was bitten by a snake. A few months before that, two boys passed away because of their bites. We realised something as simple as a toilet could help make schools safer.
In consultation with two rural communities in Sierra Leone we’ve rebuilt two schools: one in Ronietta, and one in Magbafth Line, and included new toilet blocks in both schools to make them AWESOME places to learn.
We work through a local partner, CORD Sierra Leone, to drive the construction – they are an established NGO with a proven record of building schools, toilets, and more across Sierra Leone. They use local materials and labour, and work in consultation with the local community members and chiefs at every step of the construction process.
WHY MAKE SCHOOLS AWESOME?
Many of the schools we work in don’t have facilities that enable learning, or provide a safe environment for the girls and boys enrolled. During the decade long civil war in Sierra Leone, over 1200 schools were burnt to the ground or severely damaged by rebel soldiers. In many rural communities the local school is the ONLY one accessible for miles around – so if there isn’t a safe school, there is simply nowhere else for the community’s children to learn.
A lack of toilet facilities has been linked to girls being absent from school, particularly when they have their periods.