ECS Partners Zabaketa Spain on OLASS Toilet Facilities

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Funmi Ogundare

As part of efforts to improve the basic health and sanitation of students in schools, the Educational Corporation Society (ECS), in partnership with Associación Zabaketa of Bilbao, Spain, has built and renovated the toilet facilities of Our Lady of Apostle Secondary School for girls, (OLASS), Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

Now, the school can boast of functional hygiene infrastructure comprising 40 units of bathrooms/showers and 30 toilet units. Also, its teachers have been taught to incorporate basic hygiene in the curriculum and learning modules to promote basic human right and good hygiene behavior among the students.

Speaking at the handing-over ceremony recently, the Director of ECS, Dr. Emmanuel Ihenacho recalled how the society and Zabalketa had been working jointly to raise standards of hygiene and learning outcome in various schools within Enugu, Lagos and Ogun States over the years, adding that the current sanitation and hygiene project at the school marked the 19th in the series of its intervention.

“The overall objective of the project was to contribute towards resolving contextual problems that impede the exercise of the basic rights of the more disadvantaged population of Nigeria. Specifically, this was done by way of improving the basic conditions of educational environment of children and young people that guaranteed their protection and health.”

He said the project started in 2016 when the school authority and other stakeholders in the school approached ECS through Reverend Sister Pauline Gaiya for support in the provision of hygiene infrastructure, saying: “The appeal was supported by appeal letters from the Bishop of Ijebu-Ode, PTAs, ministry of women affairs and the JDPC. Further preliminary assessment of need and basic confirmation of project ownership, ECS acceded to the request even though funding was the greatest challenge.

“Thanks to the collaboration of the Asociación Zabaketa, some sort of funding was secured from the Ayuntamiento de Getxo to execute the project.”

Ihenacho said the project was then phased into two for ease of implementation, adding that the first was completed in 2017 and the second phase was recently completed and being handed over to the Bishop of Ijebu-Ode, the school authority and the PTA.

The school’s Director of Education, Reverend Father Emmanuel Matuluko said through the gesture, ECS is taking part in the formation of the students, while emphasising on the maintenance of the facility.

“To whom much is given, much is expected considering the amount of money sunk into the project. The beneficiaries must therefore make the best use of the little things entrusted in their care,” he said.

The Principal, Mrs. Naomi Ajayi thanked the ECS for the completion of the project, saying that the school used to have the pit toilet that gave her students infection before the intervention.

“We are optimistic that the intervention will go a long way in improving sanitary and hygiene condition of the girls,” she said, while urging corporate bodies to support the ECS.

“It is a worthwhile venture, no doubt. It is commendable we will make the good use of the facility.”