In November, 2018, after some heavy rains, the boys toilet at Lyasikika Secondary School, Hai District, Kilimanjaro Region, Northern Tanzania collapsed into its own pit. Unfortunately, this type of incident is quite common with African toilets.
In 2019 and 2020 consecutively, grant funding for a toilet rebuilding project was awarded through my Rotary club in Morden and through our sister club in Callington, Cornwall, Districts 1145 and 1175 respectively.
The project also received a grant from the Rotary Foundation Disaster Response Fund due to the disastrous nature of the collapse.
The existing toilets had no water supply and students walked 100m to a stand-pipe next to the school reception to wash their hands.”
I now serve as Secretary at Morden Rotary but I had previously served as International Rep and was then elected President for 2019-20.
While on project in 2021 we worked in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Moshi in the Kilimanjaro region, where one of our colleagues was a retired retired building construction engineer who advised on the many school toilet projects sponsored by the club.
When the boys’ toilet collapsed in 2018, the girls were kept at their original toilet while the boys were given half of the staff toilets.
At the start of the project I decided to rebuild a toilet block for the girls first as their existing toilet was beyond description. A recent report estimates that, in Sub‐Saharan Africa, half of all girls who drop out of school say that a lack of adequate water and sanitation facilities are a contributing factor.
The plan started with building a wash stand for students – the existing toilets had no water supply and students walked 100m to a stand-pipe next to the school reception to wash their hands.
The priority was rebuilding the girls toilets first so, as a result, the boys toilet rebuild is looking to be finished by February when I return to Tanzania. The finished wash stand has a sign above the door reading includes “sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Morden and Callington, UK”.
Just before I left Tanzania this year, me and my charity ABCD UK also had the time to launch a collaboration with a newly formed local organisation Binti Msafi.
Binti Msafi is now fully registered by the local government and supplies sanitary pads to two secondary schools, including Lyasikika Secondary School.
Lastly, I want to mention the Seed4Feed programme that was started from a collaboration between ABCD UK and the previously mentioned Rotary clubs.
ABCD UK originally supported the pupils at three primary schools in the village of Lyamungo Sinde with payment of school fees and for school lunches.
As our primary pupils graduated into the local ward secondary school, Lyasikika, I found that the secondary school provided a planting programme where students are turfed out of lessons for two days in the February-March planting season to plant corn and beans – the standard school lunch staples across Tanzania.
Initially, with the help of the Rotary Club of Morden and subsequently with Callington Rotary, including district grants, ABCD UK took over the planting programme for the school.
We now help feed the entire school population year-on-year through their annual harvest. With a suggestion from Callington Rotary, the programme is now dubbed ‘Seed4Feed’.