The Paramount Young Women Initial (PAYOWI) has launched a new project for ten schools in Montserrado County called "WASH for an equitable education campaign and wash in school facility-level improvement plan."
Madam Facia Harris and Hawa C. Wilson were fortunate to be awarded the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund 2022 as Alumni of the US State Exchange Program in order to carry out advocacy for action on girl-friendly wash projects in schools.
The Alumni Engagement, Innovation Fund is a type of grant that is only available to fellows who have participated in the US Exchange Program, and the US Department of State has supported approximately 400 such projects through such funds since 2011.
"This program is a huge priority for our partnership with Liberia, and we are excited to work with some of our distinguished Alumni," says Sally Hodgson, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Monrovia.
The project he mentioned will benefit female students by providing a decent wash environment.
"The fund's small investment will have a huge impact, and I can't wait to see the positive results." "This fund is one of many ways the US supports WASH activities in Liberia," he adds.
The launch, which took place over the weekend at a local hotel in Monrovia under the theme "WASH For Equitable Education, let's wash together and promote menstrual health girls education and access to clean and toilet facilities," saw the gathering of stakeholders in the WASH sector, a representative from the US Embassy in Monrovia, students, and administrators from the ten schools that were chosen to serve as ambassadors for this project.
Kollie Jallah, principal of the Caldwell Community School, commented that he had benefited greatly from PAYOWI.
According to Jallah, the institution has had an impact on his life through its 'Men Initiative Project.' He assures the institution that he will fully implement the project and future projects, ensuring that all materials provided for the girls and school are taken care of.
"We have learned a lot in our short time with the institution; there are things I learned about which I had no prior knowledge," said Grace, Vice Principal of the Peace Island Community School.
According to her, they are having a difficult time getting parents to cooperate with them, and she suggests that the PAYOWI team make time to attend PTA meetings to help sell the idea to parents.
During the project's launch, Prince Capleh, an Executive of the wash Commission, stated that the country has a lot to do with wash in schools, especially since 50% of students do not have access to WASH facilities in schools.
WASH, Capleh says, plays a pivotal role in student enrollment noting, "Most children fall sick due to lack of WASH's activities in schools, with Five percent practicing good hygiene."
"So, when the UN report says you can hardly find data on hygiene in schools in Liberia, it means that strong WASH measures need to be put in place in order for the country to address this gap."
According to the WASH executive, "a collective effort as a country and people is required to undo the situation," adding that "international partners will only supplement our efforts, but it is up to us to keep this running on the ground."
Meanwhile, as part of its survey findings, PAYOWI suggests that schools establish sustainable water sources, The EPA established a collaboration to see if testing could be done, to ensure regular water treatment, and schools that do not have wash facilities can begin to collaborate in that direction, robust cleaning facilities to improve sanitation conditions, and PTA. Instead of sending girls home, establish hygiene clubs and a Menstrual Focus Person to provide first aid.
Magdalene Matthews, a WASH expert, revealed that during the survey, 50 percent of schools in Liberia met all three indicators (water, sanitation, and hygiene), and that data collected within the 30 schools was consistent with global findings.
According to Matthews, new indicators were introduced as part of the project, including waste management, COVID prevention, and infrastructure maintenance.
"Seven schools had hand pumps, and all had some sort of toilet situation in place to meet the needs of both boys and girls. Except for one, all have the issue of tainted water, and there was no washing hands menthol at the time of this survey "Matthews remarked.
She went on to say that there was no adequate menstrual hygiene disposal mechanism in place to allow girls to properly dispose of their menstrual materials, and that none of the schools had a sustainable maintenance budget.
While period products will have to be available free of charge in Scottish educational institutions and municipal facilities in the future, developments in poorer countries are still a long way off. In many regions of the world, women's menstruation is still a taboo subject that is hushed up. Education and normalization through the global society of completely natural processes is necessary and indispensable to bring about gender equality, an increase in hygienic standards and a reduction in diseases.
More information: https://allafrica.com/stories/202208040083.html