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School toilets on the road to redemption

On Thursday, 19 November 2015 (World Toilet Day), HDI's newly launched, non-profit company, HDI For Good, launched The School Toilet Project (TSTP) at Kromdraai Early Childhood Development Centre. Aimed at creating awareness around bad sanitation, The School Toilets Project pleads with corporates to assist in joining forces, while creating real change - "one bathroom at a time".
The ECD in Kromdraai had been using temporary porter loo systems, which, according to Alfie Heeger from the African Sanitation, are not conducive for kids to use. This ECD is just one of the many schools that suffer from poor sanitation in SA, and according to research, about 44% of schools are affected by poor hygiene and the lack of resources, funding has forced schools to resort to using the pit-toilet systems, which are often dangerous - that's over 10,000 schools with no ablutions, pit latrines or inoperative toilets. This is a contributing factor to an 8% learner absence of more than five days a year, but also causes huge health and dignity problems.

"As HDI For Good we not only wanted to identify the need but also address key issues surrounding this topic, in order to restore the dignity of South Africa's children," said Thobile Mchunu-Chittenden, Director and Activist at HDI For Good.

In collaboration with Bidvest Steiner, Spur, Dettol, Infinity and local government, HDI For Good provided the ECD with solar powered, innovative, waterless toilet system tailored for potty-training pre-schoolers, showcasing the new inventions fit for schools.

With the help of corporate sponsors and the broader South African community, The School Toilets Project will help change the never ending battle with bad sanitation in schools.

"School sanitation has been quite an issue lately", said Thobile Mchunu-Chittenden, Director and Activist at HDI For Good, "when schools do not have proper sanitation, kids get sick, which leads to them doing poorly in school, it doesn't just affect them, but the next generation too," she added.

"Our passion for youth makes helping South Africa so rewarding, especially when it comes to hygiene. We want to make sure that the basic needs of learners are met, and that starts with educating the schools with good hygiene and sanitation," said Jason Levin, Director at HDI For Good.

School toilet facilities play a critical role in promoting learners health. Diarrhoea causes approximately 800,000 children dying each year, equating to more than 2,000 children a day. "These stats are scary, and we believe that by working together, we will definitely reduce these numbers," added Thobile.

Based on the belief that commerce, and public-private sector partnerships, can be a force for good in the world, HDI For Good will work with companies to create a real and focused impact on our youth (and their families) through education and leadership.

HDI For Good's programmes will align with the Global Goals, focusing on putting an end to 1. poverty and inequality; 2. enabling quality education, decent work and economic growth; 3. improving lives through good health and well-being, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation; and 4. through sustainability projects such as affordable, clean energy and climate action.

The NPC's service offering includes insight and research, strategy and project planning, platform development (programmes proactively created to meet a researched societal need), and bespoke programme execution and roll-out.

"There is an immense need for business, but all of us, to lend a hand wherever they can to uplift youth and their communities where basic needs aren't considered basic and necessities aren't always available," concludes Jason.

24 Nov 2015 09:00