A week-long programme of train-the-trainers of the 261 public senior secondary schools in Rivers State put together by the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) in conjunction with the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools’ Board (RSSSSB) has ended in Port Harcourt, with a pledge to sustain the promotion of hygiene to boost healthy living amongst students and schools across the state.
Speaking during the training session at PIND office, Port Harcourt, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinator for PIND Foundation, Mr Timi Kiakubu said the essence for the training was to build capacity of key stakeholders, including the core team, staff and zonal directors of the RSSSSB across the 261 public schools and the 23 LGAs on hygiene promotion as well as ensuring the establishment of Environmental Health Clubs (EHCs) in all secondary schools in the state.
The training opportunity was organised as part of activities to mark this year’s Global Hand Washing Day, on October 15, with the theme: “Our Hands, Our Future,”.
Kiakubu added for good hygiene promotion to succeed in the state, there was need for full complement of infrastructure for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), stressing that infrastructure such as toilets, running water points, soap for cleaning, among others, must be put in place in order to promote hygiene in all the schools in the state.
He noted that RSSSSB was partnering PIND because of the urgency for public schools to have proper water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, adding that as a first step, key critical stakeholders, such as planning and research, statistics as well as monitoring and supervision officers must be trained to sensitise others in their schools and society at large.
Also speaking, the resource person from PIND, Jos, Madam Nanbam Agbonze said the training was focused on hygiene promotion in schools because its success would ensure that information on WASH goes round schools in Rivers State and promote healthy and clean society.
Agbonze urged policy makers and key stakeholders take the message to all the schools and ensure all-round clean water, sanitation and hygiene in schools, and called for speedy budgeting and implementation of policies to support WASH activities in all the schools in Rivers State.
The Deputy Director, RSSSSB, Emily Solomon said that the train-the-trainers programme was in pursuant of the Sustainable Development Goals Six on access to good drinking water and disease-free sanitation.
Solomon assured that the government, the RSSSSB and stakeholders would ensure the establishment of Environmental Health Clubs (EHCs) in every school, and also construct what she called Hygiene Hardware, which includes toilet facilities.
She stressed that hygiene hardware in all schools; the state government would be able to check the transmission of communicable and infectious diseases from faecal matters that would lead to diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, Ebola, Monkeypox and cowpox, among others.
Susan Serekara-Nwikhana, Peace Kasarachi Ihedoro & Markson Tamunobubeleye