COVID-19: Prevention and response in Al Azraq, Jordan
16 November 2020

COVID-19 – Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Rehabilitation in Irbid Schools

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), good health and education are highly connected. So, it’s absolutely certain, that investing in improving the WASH situation in schools ultimately benefits children's learning. Students spend a significant amount of their time in school, learning, living, and playing in the educational environment and gaining important skills that enable them to live healthy, productive and happy lives. In addition, schools are a model for the whole community and society and should serve as examples of good practice that can also have positive effects on parents and families. Therefore, WASH in Schools must be an essential element of a safe and healthy school environment for every child.

WASH in Schools


In general, the schools in Jordan have essential sanitation services; however, many students are attending schools without running water or adequate toilet facilities. The influx of Syrian refugees brought additional pressure on the schools, especially in Irbid and Mafraq governorates, where they have the highest number of schools requiring considerable repairs.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of functioning WASH-Services in School is of utmost importance. Therefore, BORDA, supported by the COVID-19-Emergency fund of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, conducted a series of interventions to improve the situation in the schools directly and create spill-over effects from which the surrounding communities will benefit as well.

In 12 schools, WASH-rehabilitation measures were implemented, and hygiene kits were distributed, with over 9000 students directly benefiting from the activities.

Local market support and Cash-for-Work


The local market was negatively affected due to the economic crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the project has supported the local market by considering regional building material stores for supplying the rehabilitation measures at each targeted school area. Moreover, in order to support the vulnerable groups that were directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the rehabilitation work was carried out by assigning daily engineers, trainers, professionals, technicians, and workers on a Cash-for-Work approach.

Hygiene Kits Distribution and Raising Awareness


It has been noticed during the schools’ field assessment that schools lack basic hygiene materials. Therefore, a list of hygiene items has been identified and collected locally for each school, including menstrual hygiene products for mixed and girls’ schools. Moreover, to promote healthy student behaviour and clean environmental practices, the team has designed and installed awareness and guidance posters for hand washing in accordance with international guidelines. A youth group has worked on safely packaging each hygiene kit by assigning two packages for each school. Sanitization was carried out during the collecting, packaging, and distributing processes of the hygiene kits.

Conclusion


In all rehabilitation measures, the project team has ensured that the materials used were most durable and of best quality. The correct pipe connections and the proper installation of the units have been maintained to ensure a robust WASH situation free from vandalism. Instead of the steel water tanks, which are always rusted and heated in summer, health-friendly PVC water tanks with multiple layers have been used. The accumulated problems of years of clogging of the sewer and the leakage of water have been solved and prevented. Usability of all water and sanitation units has been maintained by ensuring the accessibility, functionality, and privacy of each of the units.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the health and economic situation of the communities and especially the vulnerable groups, the local workers benefited directly from the project activities during the field assessment, the implementation of the rehabilitation and the distribution of the hygiene kits. Social cohesion was considered in the implementation of the project activities, with refugees and locals working together to improve the WASH situation in the schools in their area where their children study. Moreover, the project has activated the local building materials market whose demand collapsed as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. All building materials were acquired locally to benefit the targeted community and local support in transportation and installation of tools was considered.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of functioning WASH-Services in School are of utmost importance. Therefore, BORDA, supported by the COVID-19-Emergency fund of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, conducted a series of interventions to improve the situation in the schools directly and create spill-over effects from which the surrounding communities will benefit as well.

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