School staff in the sugarcane belt areas on Viti Levu are getting a fresh perspective on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices through a new educational programme and a series of training workshops.

The WASH initiative is part of the Pacific Community (SPC) implemented Micro Projects Programme (MPP) funded by the European Union under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Programme.

The trainings are part of an initiative addressing water and sanitation issues in schools. These trainings will complement the ongoing refurbishment of toilets, hand washing and safe drinking facilities in nine of the schools. Some works will consist of repairing water and hygiene infrastructures damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston last year.

A team of Ministry of Education WASH officers recently led a three-day event in Lautoka, and will continue to work with schools over the next year, to help them make the most of any new or repaired facilities, and keep the WASH educational messages alive.

The Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Mr.Christoph Wagner said, “Safe drinking water and clean toilets accompanied by tailor-made awareness raising activities are extremely important for children’s health, contributing to prevention of hygiene related communicable diseases such as typhoid. In addition, clean and children-friendly water and sanitation facilities improve attendance and even learning outcomes, for girls and boys.”

SPC Project Coordinator, Martin Chong, said the reconstruction underway will take time but is exciting.

“We are making sure the facilities are better able to withstand further extreme weather events.”

“Taking the time to select the right contractors and ensure quality work has been a priority for the project. Once work starts in the schools, it happens quickly – but there is a lot of preparation work”, added Mr Chong.

The WASH initiative is a collaborative undertaking involving the Fijian Teachers Association, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry for Economy, which will oversee the more complex and expensive infrastructure repair work.

The schools with refurbishment work currently underway or close to starting are:

  • Davota Sanatan Primary School (Tavua)
  • Drasa Primary School (Lautoka)
  • Navoli Sangam Primary School (Ba)
  • Navunibitu Catholic School (Ra)
  • Nukuloa Sanatan Dharam School (Ba)
  • Qerelevu Hindu School (Ba)
  • Raviravi Sangam School (Lautoka)
  • Talaiya Muslim Primary School (Ba)
  • Veisaru Sanatan Dharam School (Ba)

Pacific Community (SPC)

Martin Chong, MPP Project Coordinator, [email protected] or +679 337 9416