In the bid to encourage healthy lifestyle and promote hygienic behaviour among pupils of secondary schools in Lagos State, Kimberly Clark Corporation in collaboration with WaterAid Nigeria has provided toilet facilities and running water for Omole Senior Grammar School and Oke-Ira Junior Grammar School.
Nanbam Michael, Project Manager, WaterAid Nigeria, who made this known during the commissioning of sanitation facilities in Ojodu Local Government Area of Lagos State on Tuesday,September 26, 2023, said Kimberly Clark’s reason for partnering with WaterAid Nigeria is to increase access to water sanitation and hygiene to the vulnerable.
She said: “We are working with over 39 schools in Ikorodu and Ojodu, we have done a lot of activities there beginning with the rehabilitation of sanitation activities and establishment of Environmental Health Club. The choice for Ojodu and Omole is just that we picked them for the commissioning since the Chairman of Ojodu Local Government Area cannot go round the schools at the same time to commission the projects but we have done the rehabilitation work in all the schools.
“The project is for the vulnerable and most of the people living in the rural areas are vulnerable that hardly have access to clean water and hygienic environment, so when we came to Lagos to partner with the Lagos State Government, we sat down and discussed with the representatives of the government, they identified Ikorodu North as a rural part of the state and also identified Ojodu as the peri-urban part of Lagos and that is why we chose the locations. We also believe these are the places where people need the accesses the most.
“This is a pilot project, we are only supporting the state government and saying to them that this is their responsibility. We are also showing them this is how it should be done. We are urging them to replicate this same project in all the schools across the state, especially those schools WaterAid Nigeria and Kimberly Clark are unable to cover. Lagos State is a mega city, whatever we are able to do in the schools is like a drop of water in the ocean, so we expect the government to take full charge and provide the water sanitation and hygienic facilities in all schools and primary healthcare centres across the state.”
On the issue of sustainability of the facilities, the Project Manager, said: “At the level of the host community, we helped establish Water Sanitation and Hygienic Committee (WASHCOM) to help support the schools to ensure that the facilities are properly maintained.
“WaterAid Nigeria is only supporting, the government needs to take full charge of all the facilities provided for the schools,” Michael added.
In her speech, Mrs. Loydal Akintunde, Principal of Omole Senior Grammar School, was full of praise for Kimberly Clark and WaterAid Nigeria for choosing her school.
“It’s not enough to have toilet but its usage and hygienic condition is very important. These are the hygienic behaviour we are promoting, hand washing, good practices of food hygiene, good practices of use of clean toilet, menstrual hygiene management and others,” she said.
On her part, Mrs. A. O. Aina, Principal, Oke-Ira Junior Grammar School, commended the facilitators of the project for the rehabilitation work and prayed that God will continue to bless the NGO so that they can do more for education in Lagos State.
A representative of the Tutor-General Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs.) Shareefah Adegoke Yusuff, appreciated WaterAid Nigeria for the provision of the facilities and promised to put it into good use.
Pastor Segun Fayemi, Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Ojodu Local Government Area, in his speech, appreciated the NGO for rehabilitating the toilets in the schools and provision of water facilities. He, however, appealed for same feat to be replicated in Omole Junior Grammar School so as to further promote good hygienic in the school as well.
Among those that graced the occasion are Local Government officials, Supervisor for Education, Ojodu Local Government and other stakeholders.
Highpoints of the event was the commissioning of the sanitation facilities in both Omole Senior Grammar School and Oke-Ira Junior Grammar School by Chairman Ojodu Local Government, Olusegun Odumbaku, represented by John Bello, Secretary to the Local Government Chairman, and presentation of sanitary kits to some of the pupils of the school to help them manage their menstrual period.
Before the rehabilitation of the toilets in the school, the building housing the toilets was dilapidated and there was no water but now there is provision of borehole that supplies the toilets with running water for the use of pupils of both schools in Ojodu Local Government Area of Lagos State.
By Ajibola Adedoye