Good hygienic practices and access to basic services are the cornerstone for ensuring healthy communities and key to prevent the spread of disease. Although 88% of SA households have access to water, less than 50% of households have access to piped water. 13% of the South African population share a communal tap. Access to uninterrupted water supply is a major challenge for our project communities where they lack adequate Water & Sanitation Hygiene (WaSH) facilities. Through providing access to critical water and sanitation, households are able to protect themselves against preventable diseases and the COVID-19 spread.
According to the ‘Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure’ regulations, published in 2013, pit latrines are ‘not allowed at schools’, however in 2018, a research study reported that more than 4,500 state schools in South Africa have pit latrines. Although much progress has been made, there remains far more to be done. Schools reopened mid-July 2020 and the need for safe and suitable sanitation infrastructure is a critical need identified in 6 schools in HFH SA’s current project communities.
In an inspection conducted across a total of 130 schools in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal in 2018, conditions of school ablution facilities differed, but what the research showed was how the dignity of pupils was being violated.
Many of the toilet cubicles did not have doors that locked, 9% of the pit latrines did not have pit covers and 18% of these were broken, allowing pests to infiltrate the space and spread contamination. Only 18% of the pupils consulted thought the toilets were sufficiently private. Of all the schools visited, only 35% had basins for handwashing; only 50% of these were functioning.
In HFH SA’s Covid-19 Response & Rebuild Project’s Community Hygiene Component, HFH SA proposes to facilitate the construction of suitable ablution facilities together with best practice hygiene education in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and -related diseases amongst school children.
Lawley Primary School is located in the South-West of JHB, under Enneradale Township. The school has over 2000 students enrolled in 2020. The school is currently faced with the shortage of ablution facilities, students are using the portable toilets which are not safe/clean, nor enough to service the 2000 students. At this stage, the school has only four suitable ablution facilities – 500 children to 1 toilet.
Nedbank answered the call and the development of 8x ablution facilities using alternate building technology (ABT) will be achieved in partnership with the school management by the beginning of December this year. The community stakeholders’ requirements and inputs were incorporated in to the design. The appointed contractors have been locally recruited and local youth and women are employed during the implementation of this facility. Monitoring of the building process will take place on a day to day basis, to ensure that the facility adheres to building regulations. We look forward documenting and sharing this development.
BEFORE: Current state of school toilets
Although HFH SA believes that the journey out of poverty starts with a decent home, the solution is multi-dimensional. Through living their purpose of ‘to use our financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society’, we commend Nedbank on how they continue to engage ‘beyond the build’ to assist and improve the livelihoods of the communities in which they have built. Thank you!