As part of Sohag Governorate Environmental Action
Plan sanitation had been identified as one of the priority issues requiring
attention, especially in rural areas. Encouraging community based action
and raising environmental awareness are an integral part of the Action
Plan. In response to a request to assist two village schools, support was
provided through SEAM to improve sanitation facilities and to increase
community awareness on environmental issues using local rural schools as
an entry point.
One of the schools was located in El-Botakh Village
(Maragha Markaz), which has a population of 9,000. El-Botakh School
is a preparatory and secondary school with around 1,500 students aged 12
to 18 years, coming from four surrounding villages. The Naga Abassa School
is located in Galaweya Village (Sakolta Markaz), which has a population
of 21,000. It is a primary school with 500 children, aged 6 to 12 years.
The local community, school teachers and students
had raised a number of environmental concerns and issues, which needed
The lack of bathrooms for the students at the
Naga Abassa School was of concern to the community of Galaweya Village.
At El-Botakh Village a relatively new community school had been built for
boys but became coeducational before opening. As a result the only bathrooms
that had been constructed were allocated to boys with no facilities being
provided for the 700 female students. Since the need to address sanitation
issues was accorded a high priority in the Action Plan, improving such
facilities in community schools was considered a small, but important step,
towards addressing the problem. Educating communities on the benefits of
sanitation can be difficult if the educational institutions in which they
learn, do not have proper facilities to start with.
In addition there was a general lack of environmental
awareness among students and among the communities where they lived. Entrenched
bad practices, particularly in relation to sanitation and dumping of solid
wastes needed to change. The need to enhance the visual environment was
also raised. Through the two schools, an opportunity existed to try and
encourage behavioural changes and to stimulate community based actions
to improve the environment.
Concerns and issues that arose in both schools
Lack of adequate sanitation facilities.
Need to raise environmental awareness among students
Need to change entrenched bad environmental practices
particularly in sanitation and solid waste dumping.
Need to enhance the visual environment.