Waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, in collaboration with the Schools Health Education Programme (SHEP) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), has begun a sanitation education in Senior High Schools (SHSs) to sensitise students on the need to adhere to good sanitary practices.
The exercise which became necessary to ensure the total wellbeing of students in some selected SHSs in the country, was underpinned by the increasing enrolment of students into the second cycle institutions.
The introduction of Free Senior High School education has increased the intake of students in the various schools in the country.
Total enrolment has almost doubled from 393,995 in 2007/2008 to 787,861 in 2015/2016, and the introduction of the Free SHS policy has also increased tremendously these numbers.
These rising numbers have informed calls from stakeholders to ensure proper sanitation practices to avert the outbreak of diseases in SHSs.
To this effect, Zoomlion in partnership with the GES has started the massive sanitation awareness and improvement programme to meet that demand.
The Volta Regional SHEP Coordinator of GES, Mr. Constant Kofi Dzakpasu, during a presentation to students of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s (EPC) Mawuko Girls Senior High School where the exercise started, indicated that Ghana was seriously lagging behind as total access to sanitation was just 13%. This is attributable mainly to the data showing that 59% of the population use community or shared toilets.
“Children lose 272 million school days each year due to diarrhoea globally and an estimated one in three school-aged children in the developing world are infested with intestinal worms,” he revealed.
Mr. Dzakpasu added that these illnesses promote low school attendance and stunting growth as a result of malnutrition.
“Effective behavioural change programmes are critical to the success and sustainability of all water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. Schools must practise hand washing with soap, safe handling of drinking water, safe excreta disposal, environmental sanitation and personal hygiene including menstrual hygiene,” he pointed out.
A Senior Communications Officer of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Mr. Adams Mohammed Mahama, engaged the students on proper waste management practices by explaining some of the activities Zoomlion was undertaking to keep communities clean.
He said “Zoomlion has established state-of-the-art Integrated Recycling and Composting Plants (IRECoPs) in Accra, Kumasi etc.”, adding that “these projects are also currently on-going in all regions to ensure that we create value out of the waste we generate by recycling them to help keep Ghana clean.”
He said faecal waste disposal into open water bodies in Accra has been resolved by the establishment of sewerage treatment plants to help provide environmentally friendly way of treating waste water.
The representatives of Zoomlion Ghana Limited also donated waste bins to the EPC Mawuko Girls School to aid in solid waste management on the campus.
The Head Mistress of EPC Mawuko Girls School, Mrs Ernestina Peniana, expressed the school’s appreciation to Zoomlion Ghana Limited for the gesture to donate waste bins and educate the students on solid waste management practices.
She was optimistic that the knowledge gained and the donation will go a long way to help uplift sanitation issues on the campus.
Mrs. Peniana urged other corporate institutions to emulate the example of Zoomlion to help train young ones on proper environmental sanitation practices to help achieve a total wellbeing which is required for academic excellence.