Sohag Governorate Environmental Action Plan
Community Environmental Projects
Case Study
Sanitation and Environmental Awareness,
El-Botakh and Naga Abassa Village Schools
INTRODUCTION

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.

ISSUES

The local community, school teachers and students had raised a number of environmental concerns and issues, which needed addressing. 

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 were:

  • Lack of adequate sanitation facilities.
  • Need to raise environmental awareness among students and communities.
  • Need to change entrenched bad environmental practices particularly in sanitation and solid waste dumping.
  • Need to enhance the visual environment.
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