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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education has embarked on a major $100 million project aimed at installing flush toilets at primary schools island wide, which currently use pit latrines.
  • The Primary School Sanitation Project, which is being jointly undertaken with charity organization, Food for the Poor, will initially target 50 institutions, where renovations will be carried out over the next three to four months. Work at the remaining schools is slated to take place later in the year.
  • Under the initiative, Food for the Poor has committed to constructing new sanitary blocks, which will comprise: water harvesting facilities and closets; toilets; urinals; and wheelchair access ramps, among other features.

The Ministry of Education has embarked on a major $100 million project aimed at installing flush toilets at primary schools island wide, which currently use pit latrines.

The Primary School Sanitation Project, which is being jointly undertaken with charity organization, Food for the Poor, will initially target 50 institutions, where renovations will be carried out over the next three to four months. Work at the remaining schools is slated to take place later in the year.

Under the initiative, Food for the Poor has committed to constructing new sanitary blocks, which will comprise: water harvesting facilities and closets; toilets; urinals; and wheelchair access ramps, among other features.

Work has been completed at the first beneficiary institution, Bois Content Primary School in south west St. Catherine, which served as the pilot, and where the project was launched on Friday (February 13).

An additional three schools are earmarked for similar improvements, which will be funded at a cost of $6 million by JN Foundation.

Speaking at the launch, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, described the occasion as “a very important day” for the school and Ministry, as it signaled “a time of transformation for education in Jamaica.”

He said Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, “gave me a directive” to eliminate the pit latrines in schools and render them “a thing of the past.”

“Today, we are in this place (Bois Content Primary School, which serves) as a stepping stone to the…other schools that we have contracted with Food for the Poor, to make these changes. We are beginning to realize that dream,” the Minister said.

Food for the Poor Chairman, Andrew Mahfood, said the organisation is pleased to undertake the project. He said the first 50 schools should be completed in April or May.

He said in addition to the new sanitary facilities, Bois Content Primary also benefitted from the installation of electricity; a newly build mathematics centre; and general painting work at the expense of Food for the Poor.

Board Chairman of Bois Content Primary, Rev. Lenford Newell, in expressing gratitude on behalf of the students and staff, indicated that “we are, indeed, happy…(for)…this very special gift…and for being the first (beneficiary under) this programme.”

South West St. Catherine Member of Parliament, Everald Warmington, in also expressing gratitude, urged the students, teachers, and residents of Bois Content to ensure the facilities are properly maintained and preserved.

He also implored other institutions to emulate Food for the Poor and JN Foundation, by partnering with the government to deliver quality services and other provisions for citizens.

In her remarks, JN Foundation General Manager, Saffrey Brown, said the organisation welcomed the opportunity to be involved in “this inspiring and heart-warming project.”

“This launch is a demonstration of the recognition of a socially-focused partnership, as we join together to implement solutions for the upgrading of sanitary blocks for our students…one school at a time, until we can say ‘mission accomplished’,” she added.