The “Nguvu na Hadhi” girls’ health project, which is empowering girls “…to take care of their changing bodies…”, is expanding their interventions. One practical facet of encouraging girls to stay in school is the availability of hygienic WASH facilities. *WASH: water, sanitation and hygiene
Laura Kelly shares with us:
n November 2019, we launched the “Nguvu na Hadhi” girls health project (translated “Strength & Dignity”) because research
Did you know that 1 in 10 African girls skip school 4 to 5 days per month or drop out completely because of menstruation?! That’s the equivalent of 2 weeks of learning lost every school term. With studies showing that every year of school increases a girl’s future earning power by 10-20% and can reduce the risk of HIV and delay teenage pregnancy, keeping girls in school is a must.
Emmanuel International Tanzania has been responding to this need by delivering holistic training. These sessions provide physiological, social, and spiritual guidance around the taboo topics of puberty and menstruation. These newly empowered girls are now equipped to deal with their changing bodies, but unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and poor hygiene are making it impossible for girls to stay in school.
I think we can all agree that growing up in a clean and safe environment is every child’s right. Access to clean water, basic toilets, and good hygiene practices not only keeps children thriving, but also gives them a healthier start in life. That’s why we advocated to the municipal government, local church partner, and you to improve WASH services (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) at these schools.
In December 2021, we began work at the first school! It was exciting, but it was also a huge learning curve. I mean, my skill set doesn’t really fall into the construction or handyman category hah, but a friend of mine once told me that you don’t grow where you’re comfortable. In partnership with the municipal government and local church, my teammate (an engineer) and I are working with local fundis (contractors) to improve these WASH services.
Each of the schools (3 elementary schools and 1 high school) have different needs and priorities, so we make decisions accordingly. Also, we use their existing resources and structures when possible. For instance, instead of constructing completely new toilets at the first school, we made repairs (albeit significant) to the existing ones.
Written by Laura Kelly
Repairs have included: *plastered, tiled, and repainted 16 toilets, *fixed the roof on both toilet blocks, *installed 10 new metal bathroom doors, *installed some mirrors and shelves, *replaced the septic tank pipe, *plastered the 25,000L water tank, *replaced guttering for rainwater harvesting. Below are some before and after photos.
Would you like to share in the future of ‘Laura’s girls’? See the links below for more information.