Students and teachers of the Hall’s Delight and Westphalia Primary Schools in East Rural St. Andrew, now have access to modern sanitary facilities.
Under the School Sanitation Project, being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the pit latrines at the institutions were replaced with new five-seater sanitation blocks with flush toilets, at a cost of $25 million.
The project also included the construction of sewage treatment systems to include septic tanks, reed bed, chlorination chamber and soakaway pit. Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) training was also provided for students, teachers, and parents.
As a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the schools were also equipped with hand sanitisation stations, non-contact infrared thermometers, waste bins, mop buckets, hand sanitisers and antibacterial soap, and tablet computers for students.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony held at Hall’s Delight Methodist Church on June 10, before visiting the schools, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring that students have access to suitable sanitation amenities.
“Every child has a right to a good-quality education, and that includes access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services while at school,” she noted.
“Children spend a significant portion of their day at school where wash services can have an impact on their health, their dignity, particularly the girls, and on their learning ability,” she added.
For his part, Managing Director, JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said that the agency is committed to supporting initiatives in education, noting that 40 per cent of JSIF’s resources goes towards the sector.
“We have invested over $700 million in sanitation projects,” he indicated.
Wife of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, encouraged the beneficiaries to take care of the facilities.
“I know that the principal from Westphalia as well as the principal from Hall’s Delight are eternally grateful for these bathrooms,” she said.
“I thank JSIF. I thank the Government for the efforts at putting in these sanitary facilities and making it so expansive so that we have pump, we have tank, we have a treatment system that gives us irrigation water,” she added.
Principal of Hall’s Delight Primary, Denise Dunchie, said that the entire school community is grateful.
“Over the years, we have struggled”, she said, while pledging to take care of the modern amenities provided.
A total of $50 million was spent under the School Sanitation Project over the last financial year to provide 75 primary schools with modern bathroom facilities.
In addition, tablets were provided for 187 students from the 75 schools.