One year after our petition yielded impact for new building of tiled, water system toilets (five blocks) to school-girls at Government Girls Secondary School, Doka, Kaduna State, Nigeria, I and my team decided to visit the toilet for impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation.
Surprisingly the new toilet has become a shadow of itself. The students had stopped using the toilets, the whole place flooded with stagnated water filled with maggots; the borehole is epileptically functional and so on and so forth. We were disappointed and discouraged.
So we went and redesign a program tagged; “Why it matters most”, which centered on SDG 6, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for students through focused group discussion, music, play and dance. Another day scheduled for teachers and staff of the school separately. This was to allow all have a voice freely so we can together know what, how best to resolve the challenge. The design also specifies roles to teachers and to students in keeping the toilet clean and safe.
Day 1 (Focused group discussion with students)
During the discussion, the students were free and open to what is causing whole lots of issues on the toilet. And this were their views-
- That during the planning for the building of the new toilet, they were not involved in deciding location of the toilet.
- That the toilet is too far for them.
- That the borehole is not always running and at such, they poo-poo outside or at the entrance of the toilet given that the toilet is filled and unflushed, and that there are fear for infection.
- That there are no drums or buckets, brooms or detergent for use in the new toilet.
- That because of the toilet location and nearness to public houses, boys living upstairs by the toilet spy on them when using the toilet.
- That nobody is responsible for keeping the toilet clean.
We then entered into tete a tete engagement with the students pointing them to why it matters most to their health and well being by keeping the toilet clean for all.
At the end, students resolved that it is the responsibility of all, by all in keeping the toilet clean and safe for all.
Day 2 (Engagement with teachers and staffs)
The program design for teachers and staffs were framed on; “When Government provides infrastructure, it’s our responsibility to maintain and keep it safe".
Emphasis were laid on teachers and staffs to learn to take ownership and don’t have wait for Government on everything, after all they are the Government in real sense. The conversation hinged on that, it will be in place and encouraging for Government to provide another infrastructure when the former has been maintained adequately. At the end, staffs and teachers agreed to take responsibility of the toilet so as to attract other support from Government and or be able to hold Government account.