Tokontanitsara-bas Public Primary School, Madagascar

Our Communications Officer in Madagascar, Ernest Randriarimalala, returns to Tokontanitsara-bas, where a new water supply and toilet block will transform the lives of staff and pupils.

A few months ago when I visited Tokontanitsara-bas Public Primary School, I felt a kind of dry atmosphere.

When I spoke to teachers and pupils, I noticed just how big an impact the lack of safe water, taps and toilets had on their daily lives. Apart from being thirsty, pupils often missed school because they got diarrhoea from drinking the dirty water they had to fetch far away from the school. It also drastically affected teachers' motivation to work at the school.

But my recent visit to the school was very different from what I'd seen before. All building materials are now on site, and construction of the new sanitation block is well under way. Teachers, pupils and parents are all very happy and have shown their enthusiasm through getting involved in the project.

Parents dig the ground to lay a pipe at Tokontanitsara-bas Public Primary School.
Photo: WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

When I arrived at the school, I saw parents and teachers digging the ground so a new water pipe could be installed. They told me they'd been digging for a few weeks from the water source (which is located about two kilometres away from the school) to the water tank, and then to the school and the whole village.

Just behind the safety perimeter, just a few metres away, workers are building the new toilet block. It's going to have five compartments – two for classic toilets, an accessible toilet for people with disabilities, an accessible shower, and a urinal compartment.

Workers build a new sanitation block at Tokontanitsara-bas Public Primary School
Photo: WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimala

In terms of safe water, the school is also going to have four taps with running water from a gravity-fed scheme, and a handwashing basin.

WaterAid and its partner are going to give students and teachers at Tokontanitsara-bas School the access to safe water, taps and toilets they deserve because, as Malagasy people often say, pupils and education are the future of the country.

Thank you for taking part in our Schools Linking Project and bringing joy to communities around the world. Please remember to invite your local speaker to your school to bring this update to life – your speaker will have more pictures and stories to share with your pupils!