In the Solomon Islands fewer than four out of five children in rural areas have a toilet at home. Most schools do not have clean water or toilets. As a result, many children miss going to school and miss vital education because of regular bouts of diarrhea.
Girls have another obstacle. When they reach puberty they often won’t go to school because of embarrassment and cultural taboos due to the lack of private places.
The Honiara School Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project has provided water and toilet facilities to allow students to use simple, improved health practices in Betivatu Community High School (CHS) and the surrounding communities.
“Before the WASH project, children had to walk to the river for drinking water or head into the bush when they needed to go to the toilet,” says Eddie Gideon, principal of Betivatu High School. This meant that they often missed classes.
“Things have now changed since the completion of the WASH project,” Eddie says. The construction of these facilities has really helped with simple hygiene practices, for example hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating.
“The students’ hygiene behaviours have changed completely and they are now practicing better hygiene in their homes as well,” Eddie says. “Now the children are looking much healthier than they used to and there is less sickness and skin diseases.”
Three schools have benefitted from the Honiara School WASH project and there are many more requests from other schools for World Vision to assist them.
Photo©2012 Christina Muge/World Vision