Upgrading Sanitation Facilities

In response to the community request, SEAM engineers together with each Markaz engineering staff visited the schools. In conjunction with school staff, toilet blocks were located in areas that could be easily supervised by school staff and without taking up playground areas. An assessment of the necessary facilities was made, detailed engineering plans and bills of quantities prepared and tenders issued for the construction. In both cases the works were awarded to local contractors from each Markaz.

New toilet block constructed at El-Botakh School

At both schools, buildings were constructed to accommodate the toilet facilities. At El-Botakh School 6 wash basins and 7 toilets were installed for the girls and connected to the school’s main septic tank. At the Naga Abassa School separate toilet blocks were constructed for girls and boys. In total 12 hand basins and 14 toilets were installed and connected to a newly constructed septic tank. 

Construction was undertaken mostly during school holidays to minimise any possible disruption to school activities. Construction time was 3 months. The Markaz engineering departments and school staff provided day to day supervision.

Awareness Raising

Environmental awareness raising has been an integral part of this project and comprised the following activities:

  • Increasing awareness among students on environmental issues with emphasis on improved sanitation and solid waste issues.
  • Encouraging student environmental actions particularly through the student’s Environmental and Population Group that existed at El-Botakh School.
  • Raising environmental awareness in communities of the surrounding villages where the students reside.
  • Supporting school teachers to undertake environmental education.
Environmental awareness raising was undertaken in the schools by the Headmaster and a group of teachers and supported by SEAM. The main issues to consider were identified through focus group discussions involving a number of teachers and students from the Environment and Population Group. This group was established in many schools in Egypt after the UN Conference for Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994. The Group consisted of students from various classes who were interested in environmental issues

Students of the Environment and Population Group were encouraged to identify environmental projects that they could implement with support from SEAM and the local community. These projects included:
El-Botakh School
  • Organisation of an ‘Environment Week’ with awareness raising
  • Clean-ups in nearby villages
  • Tree planting to improve surroundings
  • Development of a school garden
Naga Abassa School
  • Organisation of an ‘Environment Week’
  • Tree planting and beautification

The Environment and Population Group at El-Botakh was actively involved in the design and implementation of the Environmental Week activities. On its first day, students were gathered and open discussions held to explain issues like improvements to sanitation and solid waste practices, linkages between environmental degradation and health problems, and opportunities to stimulate community based initiatives.

Village Clean-up Campaign

Students from El-Botakh School undertook a large waste clean-up campaign in the three villages (El-Botakh, El-Wagada and El-Gharazet) where most of them lived. Over 3 days, 50-80 students and a number of the teachers participated in the clean-up operations. The students encouraged local villagers to take part and also discussed with them issues such as improving waste handling, sanitation and other environmental conditions. Equipment provided by SEAM included wheelbarrows, shovels and plastic bags. T-shirts with the Sohag Environmental Action Plan logo were provided to those participating. The waste collected was transported to Maragha dumpsite by a truck, hired by the school.

Students from El-Botakh involved in village clean-up