Strengthening the O&M capacities of teachers

From 21-22 October, 2023, the Terres des hommes (Tdh) Nigeria team carried out a preventive maintenance training with 26 school teachers of the 13 intervention schools of the hands4health project. The training aimed at providing the teachers with the knowledge and skills needed for ensuring the proper functioning and upkeep of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities in their respective schools. This included the proper usage of the Gravit’eau handwashing stations, regular maintenance practices, identifying and addressing common issues with WASH facilities, and promoting good hygiene practices among schoolchildren.

Training scope

The training provided a comprehensive overview covering the different aspects that integrate preventive maintenance initiatives. At the same time, it was structured in a hands-on and interactive way, with practictal activities and group discussions. Find out more about the different components addressed by the training below.

Importance of preventive maintenance: the training emphasised the significance of regular maintenance to ensure the functionality and longevity of Gravit’eau devices and WASH facilities. Teachers were engaged in discussions regarding the impact of well-maintained facilities on promoting good hygiene practices among students.

©Tdh – Training session on preventive maintenance of Gravit’eau handwashing stations and WASH facilities in schools in Nigeria, carried out by the Tdh team in Nigeria targeting 26 teachers of the 13 intervention schools of the hands4health project.

Hands-on maintenance techniques: the training involved practical demonstrations and hands-on activities to familiarise teachers with the basic preventive maintenance techniques for the Gravit’eau stations and WASH facilities in schools. This included cleaning procedures, checking for leakages, and addressing minor repairs.

©Tdh – Practical component of the preventive maintenance training with school teachers in Nigeria.

Role of teachers in facility management: discussions centered on the role of teachers in overseeing the proper use and maintenance of WASH facilities within the school premises were also a core part of the training. Teachers shared their experiences and challenges related to managing these facilities on a day-to-day basis.

Collaboration and reporting: the importance of collaboration between teachers, students, and support staff in maintaining WASH facilities was highlighted. Additionally, the training addressed the process for reporting maintenance issues and seeking timely assistance from relevant authorities or maintenance personnel. 

Sustainability and ownership: the training emphasised the concept of sustainability and ownership, encouraging teachers to take pride in the upkeep of WASH facilities and to instill a sense of responsibility among the school pupils. 

Discussion insights

By working together during the group discussions, the teachers were able to identify potential solutions and strategies to overcome the common challenges related to the use and maintenance of WASH facilities within school promises. This collaborative approach allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the problems and encourages the sharing of best practices among teachers. Some of the key take-aways from the discussions included:

Insufficient toilet facilities, including the lack of well equipped toiletsImplement more toilet facilities and call the attention of the School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs).
Lack of segregated toilet facilitiesProvide separated toilets for boys and girls
Improper toilet maintenancePromote adequate use and maintenance of toilets, including the enforcement of an active duty rooster.
Unreliable water supply for toiletsProvide constant water supply for toilets
Lack of hygiene waterAccess to hygiene water
Lack of water facilitiesContact School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs)
Inadequate school sanitation, including the lack of sanitation equipment and itemsPromote and maintain adequate school sanitation, including awareness raising (for children to learn how to properly use the toilets) and implement correct waste disposal in schools. Buy sanitation equipment with the means of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA).
Food hygieneSchool should inspect the food to ensure it conforms to the required hygiene and quality standards.
Lack of security guards for taking care of equipmentHire security guards and/or recruit volunteers through the SBMCs.
Sharing of school premises by morning and afternoon or with other groups (e.g. non formal education)Call the attention of both sides through formal and informal sessions.
Overpopulation of children
©Tdh – Group discussion exercise in which the teachers brainstormed on the problems and potential solutions for the WASH problems commonly identified in schools.

Q&A and Feedback

The training concluded with an open forum for questions, feedback, and sharing of best practices among teachers. This provided an opportunity for teachers to address specific concerns and seek clarification on maintenance-related matters. This training will ultimately contribute to a healthier and more hygienic learning environment for school pupils.