With water now flowing, toilets are next

Sunday, October 20, 2019

This has been an exciting month in East Kwaio. Imbo School, a church-run primary school with about 100 children from Wyfolonga, Abitona and surrounding villages, has had three water taps installed. This is the first time the school has had running water for the students since its establishment almost 50 years ago.

Encouraged and supported by Mr Shayne Humphries, Manager of Capability Projects at Hunter Water (Newcastle, Australia), the school now has two taps and a basin for students, and an additional tap for public use.

“Ours is the first school in our district to have taps”, explained Chief Hensen from Abitona Village, “and we are very happy for our children.”

Following this success, a village meeting was facilitated by Atoifi Health Research Group leaders Chief Esau Kekeubata, Mr Tommy Esau along with the leaders of Abitona village last Sunday, 30 September.

Plans were made for student and staff toilets and wash facilitates that are easy to maintain, culturally appropriate and take into account the needs of all students, including senior girls who are menstruating. It was reaffirmed that education and appropriate toilet facilities were essential for both male and female students to allow the best outcomes.

The meeting was also attended by AHRG leaders Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren, who facilitated discussions about needs of menstruating girls, and Mr Tommy Esau, who discussed toilet designs and resources required.

“It was excellent to have the specific needs of girls discussed in the meeting”, Dr Redman-MacLaren said. “Right now, some girls in East Kwaio don’t go to school when they are menstruating because there is no way to manage their periods.”

Since the meeting, a group has met, sketched plans and plans are now being made for the building of the toilets, with additional support from Mr Humphries.

For more information about this story, please contact Tommy Esau: fataiaman@gmail.com

To read about the water, sanitation and hygiene situation for girls in the Pacific, you can read our published review for free here: https://iwaponline.com/washdev/article/8/3/386/41301/Water-sanitation-an...

1) Chief Rex Silas with a student from Imbo school at the new basin and taps (photo supplied by Shayne Humphries)
2) Tommy Esau leading a community meeting about Imbo school toilets at Abitona village (photo supplied by David MacLaren)