At Andando, we often structure our programs around building the capacity to help people help themselves. But sometimes, additional assistance is needed in the form of small infrastructure projects to keep programs going and improve efficiency. Here are a few ways we are doing that in Senegal:
Primary School Latrine
Like many rural Senegalese schools, Keur Soce Primary is overcrowded and underfunded. One area where that manifests itself is the lack of sanitary bathroom options for students and staff. The facilities at the school are pushed to their limits and children must find their own solutions, which can mean missing school due to unsanitary practices. The lack of hand-washing facilities and general lack of health and sanitation knowledge contribute to diseases such as diarrhea, causing more students to miss school.
To complement the latrine Andando built a few years ago at the school, we are in the process of constructing another latrine to lessen the burden on existing facilities. Further, this will give girls and boys separate options, which will encourage more use, especially among girls. Construction should be completed in the coming weeks before the school year starts in October.
To ensure success and sustainability, we will be increasing our efforts to educate students and staff on proper health and sanitation techniques. Collectively, this will boost attendance and enable a healthier student body to achieve more in their academics.
Mbouma Junior High School
We are excited to be breaking ground on the junior high school in Mbouma, Senegal this month! Over the summer months, you have helped make this school a reality for hundreds of kids in rural Senegal. We were excited by the response we received from people from all over and are well on our way to reaching our goal of $12,000.
We have recently met with the community leaders of Mbouma to secure proper supplies and materials to begin construction. They are excited to be a big part of the process and have committed to supplying anything they can. While not having much to give, we have asked the community to provide sand for the mixing of concrete and water for many steps throughout the process. They will also be contributing a great deal in the form of labor. We have committed to paying a mason who will work alongside the volunteers to guide them and ensure a quality job is done.
We believe that steps like this are crucial to the health of a project – getting people involved and participating. Not only does this reduce costs allowing your dollars to go further, but it also creates ownership among the community, resulting in a lasting solution that will endure. We do not want to build solutions that just patch over a problem, but rather create a sustainable answer that allows the community to flourish for many years. This school will help to educate generations of students in this area and we are hopeful that can bring real change.
We anticipate construction taking several months and will be keeping you up on the progress. The school (currently meeting wherever they can find room) is ready to move in whenever it is finished and make it their home!
Thiamene Taba Health Post
Rural health posts are absolutely key to village life in Senegal. They allow expectant mothers to deliver in a safe environment close to their homes and administer basic care to local populations, among other services. In rural areas, getting to a hospital is prohibitively expensive or time consuming, often resulting in a lack of attention paid to health issues with dire consequences.
When finished, the government will staff this post with a trained mid-wife and a nurse providing basic services. This health post will serve over 3000 people in the area!