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Government replaces pit latrines at Bois Content Primary

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Education Minister, Rev. Ronald Thwaites (left) and a student of Bois Content Primary jointly perform the symbol cutting of ribbon to formally open the newly built flush toilet facility at the school on February 13, 2015. Sharing the occasion are (from 2nd left): General Manager, JN Foundation, Saffrey Brown and Chairman, Food for the Poor, Andrew Mahfood along with other students. Education Minister, Rev. Ronald Thwaites (left) and a student of Bois Content Primary jointly perform the symbol cutting of ribbon to formally open the newly built flush toilet facility at the school on February 13, 2015. Sharing the occasion are (from 2nd left): General Manager, JN Foundation, Saffrey Brown and Chairman, Food for the Poor, Andrew Mahfood along with other students. Photo: Aaron Fogah/FogahStyles Photography

Bois Content Primary are the first beneficiary of the Primary School Sanitation Project in having its outdated pit latrines replaced by flush toilets.

Yesterday in ceremony at the school located in the northern section of St Catherine South West, Education Minister Rev Ronald Thwaites said the occasion represents the government’s intention to totally eliminate pit latrines in schools.

“Today, we are in this place (Bois Content Primary School, which serves) as a stepping stone to the other schools that we have contracted with Food for the Poor, to make these changes. We are beginning to realize that dream,” said the Minister, who had given his commitment after visiting the school last year.

The new sanitary facility at Bois Content Primary (Photo:Aaron Fogah/FogahStyles Photography)

Bois Content Primary served as the pilot and also the official launch of the project in which the government through the Ministry of Education has embarked on a major $100 million project aimed at installing flush toilets at primary schools islandwide.

The Primary School Sanitation Project, jointly undertaken with charity organization, Food for the Poor, will initially target 50 institutions, where renovations will be carried out over the next three to four months. Work at the remaining schools is slated to take place later in the year.

Under the initiative, Food for the Poor has committed to constructing new sanitary blocks, which will comprise: water harvesting facilities and closets; toilets; urinals; and wheelchair access ramps, among other features.

An additional three schools are earmarked for similar improvements, which will be funded at a cost of six million dollars by the JN Foundation.

Principal of Bois Content Primary Kathleen Jones (back row centre) and her students share lenses with General Manager, JN Foundation, Saffrey Brown (left, back row) in a photo-opt (Photo: Aaron Fogah/FogahStyles Photography)

Food for the Poor Chairman, Andrew Mahfood, said the organisation is pleased to undertake the project, while stating that 50 more schools should be completed in April or May.

He said in addition to the new sanitary facilities, Bois Content Primary also benefitted from the installation of electricity; a newly build mathematics centre; and general painting work at the expense of Food for the Poor.

South West St. Catherine Member of Parliament, Everald Warmington, in expressing gratitude, urged the students, teachers, and residents of Bois Content to ensure the facilities are properly maintained and preserved.

He also implored other institutions to emulate Food for the Poor and JN Foundation, by partnering with the government to deliver quality services and other provisions for citizens.

Minister of Education Rev Ronald Thwaites (left) and St Catherine South West Member of Parliament Everald Warmington having a light moment (Photo: Aaron Fogah/FogahStyles Photography)

In her remarks, JN Foundation General Manager, Saffrey Brown, said the organisation welcomed the opportunity to be involved in “this inspiring and heart-warming project.”

“This launch is a demonstration of the recognition of a socially-focused partnership, as we join together to implement solutions for the upgrading of sanitary blocks for our students…one school at a time, until we can say ‘mission accomplished’,” she added.

Board Chairman of Bois Content Primary, Rev. Lenford Newell, also expressed gratitude on behalf of the students and staff.

“We are, indeed, happy (for) this very special gift and for being the first (beneficiary under) this programme,” Rev Newell said.

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