Education Ministry launches WASH competition

WINDHOEK: Seventy-eight per cent of schools surveyed in the 2013 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Interventions in Schools (WinS) survey were found to have access to safe water, but did not have access to toilets.

The survey also found that one in 10 schools do not have toilets, while at others large numbers of learners are forced to share one toilet.

The Minister of Education, David Namwandi said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Programmes and Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Education, Edda Bohn during the launch of the National Inter-School WASH Competition here on Tuesday.

Namwandi said the supply of toilets has not kept up with demand, noting that 52 per cent of schools have no soap or water available for hand washing.

Functional hand washing facilities are essential components for good health and hygiene practices of both learners and staff members. The situation was found to be the worst in the Kavango East and West, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, the minister stressed.

The aim of the WinS project is to promote good health and hygiene practices in all schools in order to create a positive environment for behaviour change, particularly by learners and staff members in Government primary and combined schools.

Namwandi explained that among the interventions his ministry is implementing is to ensure that learners have access to safe water and good sanitation through the WASH Interventions Schools supported by the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N).

“These initiatives are aimed at helping to cultivate appropriate hygiene behaviours which protect against water-borne or related diseases, including worm infestation. These initiatives, we believe, will also have a secondary impact on the wider community as learners become agents of change within their own homes,” the Education Minister said.

Meanwhile, the National Inter-School WASH Competition will run at 47 MCA-N focal schools to ensure that hygiene clubs in those schools are functioning and remain active.

For a hygiene club to qualify to enter the competition at entry level, it needs to submit an action plan with a minimum of three priorities and clear activities with timeliness indicating how these priorities will be met.

Hygiene clubs that want to participate at mid-level in the competition are required to submit a progress report which highlights what they have done and what challenges they have faced, and how they overcome these challenges.

The deadline for submission of the progress report for the mid-level competition is 20 June 2014.

The final entry requires hygiene clubs to submit final reports depicting their activities and demonstrating at least one change that has taken place in their respective schools due to the interventions of the club.

The greater involvement of the life skills’ teachers and principals in the activities of the club should be demonstrated as well.

The overall winning school in each of the participating regions will receive WASH materials and supplies worth N.dollars 3 300. The runners-up will receive WASH materials and supplies worth N.dollars 2 200, while second runners-up will receive WASH materials and supplies worth N.dollars 1 100.

The top three winning clubs out of the 47 MCA-N schools will also receive a trophy and gold, silver and bronze medals.

The deadline for submission of the reports for the final level of the competition is 08 August 2014, and a final decision will be made by 22 August after the panel of judges has made its final assessment, which will include a visit to selected schools.