By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – School going kids and instructors of three institutions in rural Margibi county, are now relieved of the stress, embarrassment and difficulties accessing latrine and safe water facilities.
The Life Public School, Dinnatah Public School, and Hope Christian Mission School had over the years been without latrine and water facilities, a situation that compelled students and teachers to use nearby bushes as latrine and fetched water from creeks.
But with the reopening of schools following the minimization of the Ebola epidemic which was prevalent in that part of the country, the students now have all reasons to smile while returning to school.
They and their instructors were seen singing praises to God and appreciating Living Water International (LWI) Liberia for the construction and subsequent dedication of the modern latrine and hand pump facilities.
The facilities were turned over on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at separate elaborate ceremonies, attended by authorities of the Ministries of Education, Public Works and Health, Margibi County Administration and partners of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector, among others.
The cost of the facilities is thirty thousand (30,000) United States Dollars, according to the Country Director of Living Water International Liberia, Austin Nyaplue.
He described the construction of the facilities as a pilot project aimed at providing improved sanitation and safe water to three schools in Gibi District.
Mr. Nyaplue giving an overview, said the project is also aimed at reducing the high level of open defecation and at the same time promoting hygiene practices on school campuses.
Mr. Nyaplue said with the provision of latrine and safe water, students at schools benefiting from the project will not go into the bushes to defecate or go to the creek to fetch water to use.
He described schools that benefited from his organization’s gesture as schools that were in desperate need of WASH facilities.
Speaking further the Country Director said, his entity as a Christian Charity will not only preach the Gospel, but will contribute in catering to the physical needs of God’s children through improved water and sanitation services.
Mr. Nyaplue reminded the beneficiaries that the project is purposely for the use of the school and not the community.
Making remarks at one of the dedicatory programs of the project, the County’s inspector, Tah Sackie said the project has restored the dignity of pupils at beneficiary schools.
Mr. Sackie reminded the schools of a greater responsibility ensuring that the facilities are maintained and sustained.
He commended Living Water International for the facilities and urged the Charity to continue the good work in the county.
Cutting the ribbon to the facilities, the WASH Coordinator at the Education Ministry, Zoe Kanneh described the construction of a modern latrine and hand pump facilities by Living Water International as a challenge to the government of Liberia.
According to her, government needed to improve on the infrastructure in providing a more conducive learning environment for the students, based on the fact that the new latrine facilities are more beautiful and decent.
She extolled efforts of Living Water International and promised that government, through the Education Ministry will double its efforts to ensure hygiene promotion in all schools across the country, inclusive of WASH activities.
Madam Kanneh also urged the students and school authorities to fully utilize the facilities provided by Living Water International.
In separate remarks, the authorities of the three schools described the gesture as timely and appropriate.
They commanded Living Water International for the facilities, promising to fully utilize and maintain them.
They said before the toilet and hand pump facilities were constructed, pupils and teachers used the bushes not far from their respective schools, describing the situation at the time as embarrassing.
“It really used to be shameful for us as teachers using the same bushes with our students to defecate, one of the Principals told the audience.
The school authorities noted that before the construction of the hand pump, students used to fetch water from the creek for drinking purposes.
With the modern latrine and hand pump facilities, the school authorities disclosed that students are no longer using the bushes to defecate and drink from the creek.
For their part, the students thanked Living Water International for providing the facilities at their schools.
The students said the provision of these facilities have brought an end to them using the bushes to defecate and drinking from the creek.
They called on other organizations to follow the good example of Living Water International (LWI) to improve conditions at other schools across the country.
Living Water International is a faith-based non-profit organization that helps communities in developing countries create sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in response to the global water crisis.
Living Water International exists to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience “living water”—the gospel of Jesus Christ—which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.