FIFTY primary schools will receive new and upgraded sanitary facilities by the end of May as a result of the Food for the Poor and Ministry of Education sanitary upgrade project.
The initiative, which was officially launched recently at Bois Primary School in St Catherine, is also being funded by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation.
Andrew Mahfood, chairman of Food for the Poor, said the project will provide low-cost solutions to upgrade sanitary blocks in schools through the construction of concrete toilet facilities. He noted that the project has adopted the organisation’s “flush for life” objective, which was implemented years ago to remove pit latrines from schools in Jamaica.
“Through the “flush for life” project, we replaced pit latrines in approximately 40 schools with the help of corporate Jamaica and the JNBS Foundation. That sanitation project impacted thousands of lives, and we are now pleased to collaborate with the Ministry of Education and JNBS Foundation to continue delivering low-cost solutions by upgrading sanitary conveniences in primary schools,” Mahfood stated.
Ronald Thwaites, minister of education, endorsed the initiative as one that contributes to the overall learning environment for students, and a move by the Government to demonstrate its commitment to the eradication of pit latrines from schools.
“Two years ago the prime minister said to me that wherever possible, I should find the resources and partners to make sure that we eliminate pit toilets in our schools. This project is certainly a stepping stone for us to realise this mandate,” he said.
Contributing to the execution of the project with a grant of $6 million, Saffrey Brown, general manager, JNBS Foundation, described the initiative as a social partnership for the benefit of children.
“This launch is a demonstration of a socially focused partnership as we join forces to implement solutions to upgrade sanitary blocks for students, one school at a time, until we can say mission accomplished. These upgrades will provide a safe and comfortable environment in which our children can thrive,” Brown said.
Bois Primary is the first beneficiary of the sanitary upgrade project. The institution, which had pit latrines for six decades, officially opened the new bathroom facility at the launch event.