In Sierra Leone only 22.9 percent of primary schools have access to functional safe drinking water sources on their school premises. Improving WASH infrastructure in schools is a commitment in the Agenda for Prosperity, which is being supported by an important initiative under the President’s Recovery Priorities.
Launched last month at Brama Primary School near Newton, a collaboration between the Ministries of Water Resources and Education, with support from UNICEF and UK Aid, will ensure that 360 schools across the country have hygiene and toilet facilities that are fit for purpose.
“Safe water and good hygiene are key to developing a healthy Sierra Leone,” said the Minister of Water Resources, Momodu Maligi. “This project will target vulnerable communities and bring about sustainable access to basic sanitation that has the potential to save thousands of lives.”
Speaking at the launch Guy Warrington, British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, said: “I am delighted to see the WASH programme in action. Improving water and sanitation is a President’s Recovery Priority, and I am pleased we are working on a common goal. We know that to address Sierra Leone’s development challenges effectively, we must work together to ensure everyone has access to clean water and good sanitation.”
Poor hygiene and sanitation in Sierra Leone is linked to three leading causes of under-five mortality: malaria, respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases. Hand washing levels pre-Ebola were less than 20 percent, but all indications are that this improved significantly during the Ebola response. This initiative will positively contribute to a continuation of this improvement.
The UNICEF Representative, Geoff Wiffin said: “In the Agenda for Prosperity, the Government has committed to prioritising WASH services and with DFID we want to support that goal and make improved water and sanitation a reality for many more people in Sierra Leone.”