By Richard Chirombo:
The Federal Republic of Germany has said it is committed to complementing the government of Malawi’s development efforts, especially in the education sector, where the provision of sanitation facilities remains a challenge.
German Ambassador to Malawi, Jürgen Bosch, said his government is committed to ensuring that education programmes are inclusive.
He was speaking during the official handover of school sanitation facilities at Sonzowa Primary School, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chigaru, in Blantyre District.
Umodzi Youth Organisation (Uyo) has, with funds from the Embassy of Germany, constructed six pit latrines, one urinal and one changing room for girls in a bid to solve the problem of absenteeism when school girls are menstruating.
Borsch said every child needs a chance to access education services at an early stage as it is easier to absorb information than when one is fully grown up.
“We want to give every child a chance to go further with their education,” Borsch said.
Uyo embarked on the project aimed at increasing access to sanitation facilities so that levels of hygiene could improve in the country’s schools.
“It is for this reason that Uyo felt compelled to construct blocks of toilets for learners and a changing room for girls, which will create a safe environment and help retain learners in school, especially girls who abscond classes due to lack of privacy during menstruation.
“We believe that improved sanitation will make pupils healthier and active in class,” said Uyo Programmes Director, Shy Ali.
Sonzowa Primary School Head teacher, Juma Eleven, said the facilities would ease the problem of access to toilets, a development that led to increased cases of school dropout.
“Four girls dropped out of school recently because of lack of toilets,” he said.
He said the toilets that were available could not cater for the 536 enrolled learners.
Standard Eight learner, Shakira Burton, said the facilities would go a long way in reducing cases of school dropout.
Uyo has been implementing various projects aimed at improving social and economic wellbeing of marginalised groups in Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje and Phalombe districts.