Chikwawa is one of the districts in Malawi which has the lowest Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) coverage in schools. HFH Malawi in partnership with HFH Germany with funding from Jessy Oversees Aid (JOA) through the project titled “Improving WASH status in Primary Schools in Chikwawa District” seeks to contribute towards the construction improved pit latrines and handwashing facilities in the district. However, provision of WASH facilities in schools are not enough on themselves, students need to be taught on sanitation and hygiene practices.
It is for this reason that HFH Malawi embarked on instituting School Sanitation Clubs in Chikwawa district. These Sanitation Clubs are expected to promote good hygiene practices in schools, such as solid waste management, handwashing with soap and life skills based on hygiene education. HFH Malawi believes that the adoption these clubs will promote good hygiene practices which will lead to a safer and more hygienic learning environment around the schools. The project will also use students as agents of change, to educate the communities they are coming from about good sanitation and hygiene.
The project will institute 10 School Sanitation Clubs in Namapovu, Liwiro, Makanga, Mwalamba, Namisikizi, Nkopola, Nkombezi, Mazongoza, Namicheni and Utumbe schools in Chikwawa. So far two schools have been constituted and these are Namapovu and Bereu. Positive behavioral changes are already evident in the two schools with the Sanitation Clubs as compared to the other schools which do not have them. The Sanitation Clubs are already advocating for handwashing practices after using the toilet, proper use of urinals and toilets, keeping school surrounding clean; through proper use of refuse pit and collection of all refuse; advocating for clean and well covered food items sold at school premises; and promoting four major types of hygiene and thus Water, Food, Personal and surrounding.