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Four Pillars PLUS: Building Capacity to Advocate for Improving Safe Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Practices in Schools

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Universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation is one of the seven promises made by 71 Heads of State at the World Summit for Children in 1990 to transform and improve the lives of the world’s children[i]. Building on that promise, the Four Pillars PLUS project, funded by GE Foundation, realized the urgent need for one of its project schools to have access to clean water, inculcate good sanitation and hygiene practices. At Government, Secondary School, Henshaw Town with a population of about 3,872 students and 63 teachers, students have had to severally interrupt their daily learning schedule and walk distances outside the school compound to get drinking water. This includes water for sanitary purposes or for use during practical sessions in subjects requiring the use of water. Newly constructed toilets remain under lock and key for lack of water forcing students, both girls and boys, to leave school in order to answer natures call. This results in missed classes, which ultimately compromises their academic attainment and in some cases, their personal safety.

The Four Pillars PLUS project team paid an advocacy visit to Mrs. Tina Effiong, GSS Henshaw principal, and provided her with technical tips on how to advocate for school infrastructural development and mobilize resources from private business owners and philanthropy groups around the school community. And that was it! As an active member of the Calabar–Akpabuyo Island Lion’s Club International, Mrs. Effiong presented the case at the club’s next meeting and garnered the support of the club members and within two months, a new water borehole with an overhead tank was constructed and handed to the school in March 2017 along with a power generator to ensure water supply is never again interrupted due to power failure.

Pre-Intervention: The Derelict Borehole at GSS

Post-Intervention: The Overhead Tank and the Water House Housing the Water Taps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GSS Henshaw school now has water that is clean and always stored in the overhead tank which holds and dispenses the water as needed through taps erected inside the water house. Mrs. Effiong expressed heartfelt appreciation to the Four Pillars PLUS project for the technical support, and the Calabar–

Akpabuyo Island Lion’s Club for donating the borehole and power-generator to the school as its community legacy project. She had this to say… “Thank you Four Pillars PLUS project for drawing our attention to the critical needs of our students and for adding another safety dimension to our school.”

[i] https://www.unicef.org/french/wash/files/spen.pdf

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