New schools, new toilets as pit latrines go

Source: New schools, new toilets as pit latrines go | The Herald

New schools, new toilets as pit latrines go
Minister Garwe

Bulawayo Bureau 

The construction of futuristic schools, which will see Zimbabwe doing away with the uncomfortable Blair and pit latrine toilets, has begun.

Blair and pit latrines are commonly used in rural areas.

Government already has come up with an easy flush model to replace Blair and pit latrine toilets in the country’s schools.

The system consists of modern toilet seats used in urban centres and the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities is spearheading the programme.

The first schools to use the new toilet systems are 17 new schools that were constructed in the country’s eight rural provinces.

The schools were constructed under the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) funding of US$20 million.

Matabeleland North has two schools that were constructed under the programme, Tame Primary School in Bubi District and Kokolozi Primary School in Binga District.

President Mnangagwa is expected to commission the schools soon. 

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema on Thursday visited Tame Primary School, accompanied by National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe where they outlined the Government’s position.

Minister Mathema said schools should move with modernity as Government no longer wants schools to have pit latrines and Blair toilets. 

“President Mnangagwa wants futuristic schools, not the type of schools that I attended in 1954. He wants schools with running water and flushing toilets. We have these 17 Government schools both primary and secondary, they were constructed through OFID. Minister Garwe says he is going to assist these schools to move away from Blair and pit latrine toilets. We launched the programme in Mashonaland East in Chegutu with Minister Garwe two weeks ago, we have extended the programme to Matabeleland North,” said Minister Mathema.

“We are saying, we don’t want Blair toilets in schools because we want the schools to be commissioned by the President. We cannot have the President commissioning Blair toilets and pit latrines. It’s in the past.” 

The Minister said each of the schools is going to be connected to a piped water scheme in line with modern expectations.

He said while Government was taking the initiative of transforming schools’ infrastructure, rural communities should also embrace the programme.

Speaking in the same event, Minister Garwe said transforming rural communities is in line with Vision 2030 of transforming the country into an upper middle-income economy.

He said using Blair toilets and open defecation by rural communities deviates from Government’s vision. 

“If we are to achieve Vision 2030, we should ensure that rural communities enjoy facilities that are enjoyed by those living in urban areas. What are those facilities? Flushable toilets, electricity energy and access to clean water. Government has already started the programme of drilling boreholes. The District Development Fund and Zimbabwe National Water Authority Zinwa have been mandated to ensure there is access to water,” he said.

“Cabinet has said every Ward must have at least three boreholes. We need every Zimbabwean to be drinking clean water. We are doing away with wells. We are doing away with pit latrines and Blair toilets and bushes. Every rainy season we experience an outbreak of cholera and typhoid due to the exposure to unsafe water sources. That has to change.” 

Minister Garwe said from schools, Government will also start mounting the flush system at rural health centres.

“Our responsibility is to start with all schools that the Minister has referred to and we are going to install this within a month from now. But every school that is in the district must have this flushing system. District Development Coordinator, schools belong to you, we want to modernise the schools, we also want to modernise the clinics in rural communities. We don’t want pregnant women to come and squat. The President has said no; we will capacitate all the clinics. We are not going to be building new toilets, we are going to use the old existing facilities to close those holes and fit the new system and it will become a flushable system,” said Minister Garwe.