Olena Ursu*, UNDP in Ukraine
Educating young people to be healthy has always been a top priority for educational institutions, but it’s even more important for health promoting schools.
A health promoting school strives to be a healthy example for living, learning and working, like school №4 in Novograd-Volynskiy of the Zhytomyr region.
A school building itself influences the health of students and teachers, and school №4 was built 30 years ago, and as it often happens, the infrastructure of the building hasn’t been upgraded since. When you use something for such a long time without repairing it (especially sewage systems), problems appear. Some toilets stopped working, there were long lines for the restrooms during breaks, and around lunchtime, a bad smell started to spread in the corridors.
The school principal’s Valentyna Silvertyuk said it had a negative impact on the students’ physical and mental health.
Both parents and teachers agreed that something had to be done immediately, so they approached the city council and the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine for support.
Today, all four floors of the school have three toilet stalls for boys and four for girls, and there are three (instead of two) teacher restrooms. There are no more lines during breaks.
The restrooms are much nicer, and because the windows were replaced and the ventilation improved, the bad smell in the corridors is gone.
Without any doubt, the project created proper sanitary conditions for the 1,075 students and teachers.
The principal started a community group of parents and teachers following steps recommended by UNDP that promote citizens getting involved to improve the quality of their public schools.
How important are public infrastructure projects in communities? Do you have any feel good stories you want to share too?
Have you heard of local projects costing less when the community takes financial control?