The Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MESD), in partnership with the United States Government, will hold a launch and ribbon cutting ceremony for the ‘Schools Ablution Rehabilitation Project’ in Gumare next week on Friday, 14th June.
Over 1600 students are expected to benefit from the rehabilitated ablution blocks in two schools in the Ngamiland region under the Ministry of Education’s ‘Adopt a School’ program.
According to a press release from the USAID, the rehabilitation of the facility was made possible by the American people through funding under the auspices of Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP).
SAREP works collaboratively with the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) to improve the livelihoods and protect natural resources within the Okavango River Basin.
The rehabilitation of the ablution system is said to be a significant milestone for local education, in that it will enable students to use on-site facilities rather than leave school to attend to their biological needs. The lack of functional toilet facilities has been a chronic challenge to community education, as it has encouraged the environmentally unsustainable trend of “open defecation”. This reportedly compromised hygienic lifestyles and caused absenteeism from school.
According to SAREP Communication Specialist, Lovemore Mose, what makes this initiative different from others is that it is not simply a once off effort to repair defective toilet facilities but, instead, efforts will be made to improve and monitor the facilities. He further said this donation is an extension of the American people’s commitment to improving the health, education and general well-being of rural communities across Botswana.