Sanitation facilities at school encourage children to expand demand for healthier environment to home and community
By Sandar Linn
PANTANAW, 14 June 2013 – Villagers in Kadauksa accepted diarrhoea as a common illness not linking it to poor sanitation and hygiene conditions.
Ten-year-old Myo Thet Minn grew up seeing widespread diarrhoea without thinking much of it. But that was before sanitation facilities were built at the village primary school and he could tell the difference.
Myo Thet Minn attends the Primary Schools in Kaduaksa in which UNICEF provides clean water and improved sanitation.
As part of the programme, four latrines were built in the school to replace two old wooden shabby latrines which did not have any water. Teachers from the school were trained on school sanitation and hygiene education.
“Students are happy to use the school latrines and hand washing facilities. The sanitation facilities help with what we teach about sanitation. The students can practice what they learn,” said U Nyan Linn, head of the Kaduaksa village primary school.
“There was no scope for students to practice what they learn in school or at home,” added U Nyan Linn who has been working as a head of the school for about 16 years.
“The essence of the programme is, once established the good hygiene and sanitation practices are not limited to schools, but also impacts the larger community,” commented Dr Mya Than Tun, UNICEF Myanmar’s Water and Sanitation Officer.
Now the children are sharing their knowledge and experience further afield.
Myo Thet Minn is acting as a trigger for change in his family and succeeded in convincing his parents.
“My father promised me that he will build a latrine at home after he sells the crops from our field,” says Myo Thet Minn with a winning smile.
The children take pride in having sanitation facilities in their school, they also learn to take responsibility and take turns to maintain the toilets.
“I am happy to take care of our school latrine. We have learned about the importance of being healthy and how it is linked to sanitation. I hope the village homes will gradually build more latrine and the whole village will be clean and excreta-free,” added Myo Thet Minn, “I want to be a painter and draw beautiful landscapes. Being healthy is one important factor that will help me achieve my aim, tell my teachers.”