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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Students of the St. Mary’s All-Age School in Above Rocks, St. Catherine, are set to benefit from the construction of a $5 million modern sanitation facility, which is slated to get underway within three months.
  • Being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), through funding by the PetroCaribe Fund, the project will entail the replacement of the current pit latrines with eight new flush toilet stalls. Five will be set aside for the girls; while the remaining three, as well as a urinal, will be used by the boys.

Students of the St. Mary’s All-Age School in Above Rocks, St. Catherine, are set to benefit from the construction of a $5 million modern sanitation facility, which is slated to get underway within three months.

Being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), through funding by the PetroCaribe Fund, the project will entail the replacement of the current pit latrines with eight new flush toilet stalls. Five will be set aside for the girls; while the remaining three, as well as a urinal, will be used by the boys.

On Tuesday (February 17), Member of Parliament for North Central St. Catherine, and Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, conducted a site visit along with senior staff members of the school, to make a final decision on the location for the new sanitary block.

Mrs. Neita Headley, who has been on a campaign since 2007 to remove pit latrines from schools within her constituency, told JIS News that she was very pleased that JSIF decided to approve, and go ahead with the project.

“I think that it is going to be to the betterment of the school and for the community,” she said.

She noted that St. Mary’s All-Age is one of three schools left in her constituency for which the sanitary conveniences need to be upgraded. JSIF is currently working on undertaking these works at the other two institutions.

Vice Principal of the school, Jacquelin Brown-Hope, lauded and expressed her appreciation to Minister Neita Headley for her intervention in ensuring that the project became a reality.

 

 

“We had a Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) meeting and our Member of Parliament came. We told her about the challenges with the bathroom system and how difficult it was for the children, and as a result of speaking with her, she has consented to assist us. We are here today very elated that we are going to be getting our bathrooms,” she said.

This project is part of a broader programme being undertaken by JSIF to rid schools across the island of as many pit latrines as possible.

Project Officer at JSIF, Michelle Howe, told JIS News that 33 schools have been done to date, with another 22 schools targeted for the current period.

She noted that for this particular project, emphasis was placed on ensuring that environmentally friendly practices will be adhered to.

The Project Officer explained that the facilities will include a septic tank; a gravel bed; a chamber that will allow for the chlorination of the water; and a soak away.

“What you’ll find happening is that when it goes into the soak away, the water is treated to the point where it wouldn’t contaminate the groundwater that it would encounter,” Ms. Howe said.

“So it works out to be environmentally friendly. Our focus is not just to create a system or put in a new system, but to ensure that at the end of the day, it doesn’t create any other problems for the future where the environment is concerned,” she added.