Pupils involved in cleaning up their school
Pupils from Nganda Yala Primary School and the Brussels-Capital Region have joined forces to improve sanitary conditions.
“I’m proud of my school,” says Christian with a big smile as he poses in front of the newly built latrines at his school in Kinshasa. This student from Nganda Yala Primary School didn’t feel the same pride a few weeks ago. “There was dirt everywhere and the dirt affected the image of our school,” he recalls. The classrooms and the playground were regularly littered with trash.
Far from giving up, Christian mobilized a few classmates to set up school brigades and bring about change. “We started sweeping and forbidding the throwing of paper anywhere,” explains Christian, who has been appointed brigadier general. The playground and the classrooms quickly became clean again, but the school toilets were still a problem. “A lot of pupils were getting sick,” says Christian.
Thanks to the support of the Brussels-Capital Region, UNICEF has built new latrines and a borehole to allow students to study in a clean environment and to have access to drinking water. “Thanks to these new latrines and drinking water, we will be free from disease,” explains Christian.
The Nganda Yala Primary School has been certified as sanitized within the framework of the supported National Healthy School and Village Program. The pupils, who now have access to drinking water, use hygienic latrines and wash their hands properly. All the pupils are involved in guaranteeing the cleanliness of the school under the control of pupil brigadiers like Christian.
Since 2010, 2,498 schools have been certified as sanitized across the Democratic Republic of Congo, enabling 1.5 million pupils to study in a clean and safe environment. Improving access to water, hygiene, and sanitation in schools improves the health and outcomes of the pupils and their families. Children also learn about hygiene and how to protect themselves and their families from infectious diseases.
“We are going to keep our school clean,” concludes Christian.