Prior to the intervention of the Rotary-USAID partnership, New Bibianiha Basic School in Ghana’s Central region had only one toilet facility for a student population of 395.
In this situation, most students either defecated in the open or went home (often not returning). There was also no source of clean water in the school. In August 2017, work began on new latrine blocks for the school under the supervision of Rotary members who periodically checked on the quality and progress of the construction until completion.
With the completion of the facilities and their handover to the school, Rotary members have been supporting the school’s hygiene promoters, including the School Health Education Program Coordinator, the school health committee and the school health club in fulfilling their responsibilities. The support is provided through a series of follow-up visits in which Rotary members engage school health promoters in a participatory self-assessment of their performance in various aspects.
One of the key promoters of hygiene is the school’s health club. During a November 2021 visit, a team of Rotary WASH advocates met with New Bibianiha’s health club and discovered that the club was not properly constituted and had never held a meeting. Rotary WASH advocates John Michael Acheampong and Rockson Dutenya used this opportunity to provide a reorientation on the School Health Club concept, objectives and roles and responsibilities of members and elected executives.
The Rotary team also facilitated the election and swearing in of executive members of the club.
“When a school says that they have a health club, it’s really easy to assume that everything is as it should be, but by interacting with the SHEP coordinator and the school health club members, we found a lot of gaps,” said Acheampong. According to him, conversations revealed a lack of understanding of “what a school health club represents, which activities they are doing and even how they carry out their meetings because some of them did not have a clue about the roles of the different executives.”
Reporting by RI’s Mohamed Keita