World Water Day 2024: Celebrating a new clean water project in Niger aimed at schools

We are delighted to announce that together with Oxfam and local partners, we have launched a new three-year project aimed at improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools in rural Niger. Water is essential for life, yet many communities in rural Niger do not currently have access to clean water sources. Climate change is also exacerbating the fragile context in which many communities are living. This new school focused project follows over a decade of investment into clean water projects in Niger, West Africa from Ahmad Tea.

The project’s scope is ambitious yet vital. Over the course of three years, Ahmad Tea’s support will enable Oxfam to enhance access to clean drinking water and sanitation services in four schools in the Ouallam department of Tillabéri. This initiative will directly benefit more than 1,600 students, with a focus on empowering female students through better menstrual hygiene management. Additionally, approximately 3,000 people in the region will benefit indirectly from improved water and sanitation facilities, coupled with awareness-raising initiatives on proper hygiene practices.

One of the primary objectives of the project is to ensure sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in schools. This will be achieved through the construction and rehabilitation of boreholes equipped with manual pumps, alongside promoting hygiene and sanitation practices among students. Training sessions for teachers, establishment of health clubs within schools, and equipping each beneficiary school with hygiene kits will further reinforce these efforts.

The project places a particular emphasis on addressing the unique needs of female students regarding menstrual hygiene management. Special latrine blocks will be constructed in each school, specifically designed to facilitate the management of menstrual hygiene. Female seamstresses will be trained to produce reusable sanitary towels, ensuring a sustainable solution to address this crucial aspect of women’s health and dignity. Awareness campaigns and training workshops will also be organised to educate girls on menstrual hygiene issues and equip them with the knowledge and resources to manage their periods confidently.

A menstrual training workshop has already taken place in Ouallam where 25 participants were invited to a workshop at the end of February. These workshops help to address the unequal challenges to education faced systematically by girls.

By promoting good hygiene practices and providing appropriate facilities, the project aims to enhance the overall health and well-being of the community, particularly school-age children. Access to clean water and sanitation not only reduces the risk of waterborne diseases but also fosters a conducive environment for learning, ultimately improving school attendance and retention rates.

Furthermore, the project adopts a holistic approach, engaging key stakeholders such as municipalities, teachers, school governments, management committees, students, and parents. This collaborative effort ensures the sustainability of interventions even after Oxfam’s direct involvement ends. By actively involving the community in decision-making processes and capacity-building initiatives, the project fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility, laying the groundwork for long-term positive social and health outcomes.

By partnering with organisations like Oxfam, we are striving to make a tangible difference in the lives of communities in need. Together, we can create a world where every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has access to the basic necessities essential for a healthy life.

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