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Over 3 000 learners drawn from seven schools in the Rustenburg area are benefiting from the Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education (PHASE) project sponsored by LANXESS in South Africa. The project aims to reduce the prevalence of waterborne diseases thereby improving school attendance and performance amongst learners.
The two year long project, which began on 2011, is being executed in partnership with NGO, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). Its first phase is set to be completed in August 2013.
To date, a total of 752 PHASE educational kits valued at approximately R150 000 were provided to participating schools and communities to begin training activities. The toolkits are meant to build capacity of teachers, learners and parents to improve knowledge and behaviour related to hygiene in schools and community.
Teachers, school nurses, school governing body members and the project steering committee are amongst the groups that have received training on the use of PHASE material.
In November 2012, 13 members of School Governing Bodies (SGB’s) representing parents were trained on PHASE for two days. All trained SGBs are currently working with community health workers in educating communities about personal hygiene, water and sanitation issues. Further more, 40 Community Health Workers were trained for two days in November to support PHASE initiatives both at school and communities.
In mid January 2013, 31 Life Orientation Educators were also trained for two days on PHASE. The training was meant to help the educators to be able to support learners in implementing school based PHASE. After training schools were also assistance to develop action plans which address their respective school specific PHASE activities.
According to AMREF, children in rural areas of the Rustenburg Local Municipality are at risk of many preventable health conditions such as malnutrition, HIV/Aids, diarrhoea and cholera. Furthermore, the lack of water and sanitation facilities in schools coupled with little or no hygiene education is a major contributing factor to the prevalence of waterborne diseases in children.
LANXESS, has taken a worldwide interest in the subject of water and has been involved in different water related activities in their business as well as in the community.
“Every day, thousands of children die of infections caused by dirty water. LANXESS makes an active contribution to improving the use of this valuable resource through its water treatment products and corporate social responsibility activities. Communicating know-how on appropriate water usage is just as important as providing facilities,” said LANXESS South Africa’s Managing Director, Dr Karl-Rudolf Gassen.
The project has been endorsed by local partners and authorities such as the provincial Department of Education and Training, Department of Health, community representatives and the Rustenburg Municipality who have been active participants from the planning stages and currently taking part in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project.