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Eco toilets boost young women’s health in schools

St Lewis Bertrand’s Secondary School, one of the top performing schools in Newcastle,  KwaZulu-Natal now has better toilets, thanks to Waterloo SA. The safe  eco-friendly flush toilets are making a big difference for the school and NACOSA’s Imagine programme. 

Imagine Safe Space Exterior

Imagine Safe Space exterior

The Imagine programme, which works to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancy amongst young women, has established Safe Spaces at schools like St Lewis Bertrand’s. In these safe spaces, near-peer facilitators, nurses, and social workers provide a number of services such as testing, health support and counselling. Imagine aims to help girls and young women imagine and bring to life a happy, healthy future for themselves. 

Waterloo SA’s special toilets at St Lewis Bertrand’s Secondary School have proved invaluable in the safe spaces. These toilets are important for giving girls clean, hygienic and dignified ablutions where they can also do pregnancy tests.  

Finding out about pregnancies early is very important for making sure that young women receive care and stay healthy. In the Imagine program, girls can learn about contraception, pregnancy and HIV and get tested in the safe space at school.  

“The toilets have been enabling us to do lots of pregnancy testing with young women and pick up pregnancies at an early stage, where we are able to support the young women discretely to access different choices and options,” Says Imagine programme manager Nate van Blydenstein. 

School Eco friendly Toilet

Eco-friendly toilet at St Lewis Bertrand’s Secondary School

Previously, the school had only 14 toilets shared by 955 girls and 509 boys. Now, with the new containers that have septic tanks which recycle the grey water, things are better. The new toilets are cleaner, provide more space for hand washing and also give girls a private place. 

Waterloo SA’s sanitation partnership worksheet helps to educate learners about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and how this innovative toilet system works.   

“At Waterloo SA, we believe every child deserves a safe and healthy learning environment. Our goal is to identify those schools in dire need, and together approach organisations and corporates looking to help make a difference.” explains Waterloo SA 

The partnership between Waterloo SA, NACOSA and St Lewis Bertrand’s Secondary School is a great example of how businesses and NGOs can help schools to create spaces that improve the health and wellbeing of learners.  

Thanks to Waterloo SA for being a great partner in supporting our Imagine programme and for making a real difference in school sanitation.