We have just had a chat with parent and children at Gatina Primary School, Gatina Ward, Nairobi.
Just before talking with the parents, we distributed pieces of Safepad to the girls and asked them to feel it. As they were at it we said that ‘in her lifetime, an average woman uses 11,000 tampons, pads and panty liners that make up 200,000 tonnes of waste a year. If the waste does not clog storm water drains, it ends up in the ocean where it stays for 500 years while decomposing’. We then asked them whether they would use reusable Safepad. They said YES in unison. Being light, luxurious and stretchy; we were not surprised by a question – does it leak.
Another question was – will it not smell. This question was brought about by our instruction that soap is not needed in washing Safepad. Smell indicates presence of bacteria, fungi and the like. Safepad is designed with a permanently bonded antimicrobial technology based on a treatment that leaves a positively charged layer on the fabric. This layer attracts and kills the negatively charged microbes, like bacteria and fungi. The treatment does not contain any harmful chemicals.
Turning to parents, we quickly pointed out that switching from single use plastic isn’t as easy as we think, it often means thinking a bit more about what we buy. We asked them to think about the lots of money they would spend in 4 years on the huge amount of disposable plastic jettisoned into the environment. Why do we, without thinking, pick tampons from supermarket, put them into our handbag and dump related plastic wrapper into the bin?
It was difficult for the parents to accept fact that tampons and sanitary items are found in rivers, lakes and ocean. Besides the plastic wrappers an individual pad can contain up to four plastic bags’ worth of plastic.
They allowed us to distribute Safepad to the kids.
REPORT BY ANITA LUKORITO
Kyuasini Primary Boarding School is officially opened today. This initiative is as a result of joint efforts between several associations including Action Aid and Raha Solutions. The boarding school is now expected to admit more than 200 boys and girls according to the headteacher Mr Kennedy Kitilu.
Spearheading the launch; Raha supplied water and they will continue refilling with water the water tanks in the school. They will also build Sani Solar toilets and distribute reusable safepad to the girls.
“We appeal to Safaricom PLC to support in-kind. Branding our water tanks with their good name will enable us and many others who are like us to get water, toilets and safepad from RaHa. We are admitting 200 students but we expect more by end of this year”, Mr Kitilu said. The headteacher hopes for further expansion as the community has responded positively to the idea.
As compared to the past, education is now seen as a vital tool among the people. Kyuasini, located in Makueni county, has had poor attendance of students. The surrounding community was so immersed in cultural practices that devalued education.
However, with the determination of the school head and several associations, the boarding school has changed the negative concept. Girls were the overly affected gender with the number of early pregnancies and sexual assault cases on the rise.
“The local community is responding so well to this idea in contrast to what was there before. Parents have now opted to taking their girls to school instead of early marriages. The negative traditions are slowly fading away. “, Mr Kitulu added.
The school will need more amenities as more students get admitted. Items like mattresses and beds will be needed to help accommodate more students.
According to the headteacher, students are to be admitted every week and the facilities may not be substantial enough to meet up the demand. Regarding this, the appeal for any assistance to help continues, the course will be of importance.
As much as girls will benefit most from the boarding facility, boys will also be at a better fit. Being a part of the program will not only impact on the school but also on the wider community.
We are happy to inform you that Kenya Urban Roads Authority responded positively, regarding building toilets on roads in Kericho County (see self explanatory twitter conversation above).
You are like-d by the village around Makindu Primary School. They want you to mark their rainwater harvesting tank as illustrated above, for free, see more details here. When you agree, they get water which they currently have little of. When you agree, you will also enable many more similar schools and villages to get water and toilets.
Brookside Dairy is nominated to mark rainwater harvesting system for Makindu Primary School, see photo of facebook page on the side.
We will build the rainwater harvesting system and mark the system with Brookside’s logo/name on condition that Brookside spreads (brags about) fact that they were nominated to do the marking.
The marking is free of charge.
The bragging must be on off line news media at no extra cost to Brookside Dairy.
Public toilets that are poorly located generate a sense of neglect, attracting vandalism, anti-social behaviour and social disorder. And lack of available and appropriate facilities at the right time encourages fouling, and treating diseases associated with open defecation such as typhoid, dysentery or cholera is a significant and costly task.
These issues, if not tackled effectively, can generate a cycle of decline, leading to more entrenched social problems, and seriously impairing quality of place and quality of life for local people.
Others have seen this reality before. HIGHWAY ACT 1980 Part VII Provision of Special Facilities for Highways states that “…112 Provision of picnic sites and public conveniences for users of trunk roads (1) The Minister may provide on land adjoining, or in the vicinity of, a trunk road that is not a special road a picnic site for motorists and others likely to use the road with space for parking vehicles and a means of access to and from a highway. An area of any such land as aforesaid in which there are, or are to be, provided such a picnic site, parking space and means of access as aforesaid is in this Act referred to as a “trunk road picnic area “.
“(2) The Minister may erect buildings and execute works on a trunk road picnic area for the purpose of providing all or any of the following:— (a) parking places for vehicles, (b) a means of access to or from the area from or to a highway, (c) public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories), and…”
“…(5) The Minister may provide public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories) in proper and convenient situations on or under land forming part of a trunk road that is not a special road, or adjoining, or in the vicinity of, such a road and may manage such conveniences…”
The extent to which people have easy access to good quality toilets affects their general health and well being – and that of the whole community. Enabling different people, with different needs, to make use of public toilets at different times can have a significant impact on issues like public health and exercise, public behaviour, use of public transport.
A lack of clean, accessible and safe toilets impacts on some people more than others. Some people may feel unable or reluctant to leave their homes and visit areas where they fear they will not be able to find a public toilet. Older people, mothers, fathers, and carers with young children, disabled people and people with chronic health problems – all need easy access to suitably equipped public toilet facilities.
Lack of toilet facilities at the right time in the right place contributes to dirty water and farms that are unsanitary, unpleasant and can spread infection. Farmers will fall sick and they will not be able to work and meet their obligations.
Understandably, BDBA was designed not only to be open but also to be attractive to businesses.
Family businesses have connections with their local area going back generations – BDBA project is an opportunity for them to increase their level of the connection.
National and International chains, on the other hand, often have a strong social or community support ethos as part of their corporate policy, providing free or subsidised goods and services – and sometimes funding too – for local initiatives. They operate as part of communities and hold as much of a stake in supporting local projects and promoting civic pride as the locals themselves.
If BDBA project is not the kind that can lift our dignity, it cannot attract businesses.
The foregoing aside, why should BDBA project be similar to CBO projects?