"Naa koy bata na karon sa Grade 4 nga dugay na sigeng absent…and one of the reasons kay wala siya ka eskwela kay tungod sa mikrobyo. [I had a Grade 4 student who was always absent and he said that one of the reasons he got sick is because of microbes],” recalled Teacher Antonia Everdida of Cantumog Elementary School in Carmen, Cebu.
For Teacher Everdida, communicable diseases such as colds and flu affect children’s attendance in schools, thus decreases their opportunity to learn and perform.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways to address this is through proper hygiene practices such as handwashing and toothbrushing.
Lingap Eskwela – Linis Lusog Kabataan
With the goal of creating a healthier lifestyle and decreasing absenteeism in schools, Manila Water Foundation (MWF) partnered with Procter and Gamble (P&G) Philippines and Cebu Water to bring hygiene facilities and kits to three schools in Cebu.
The benefitting schools are Cantumog Elementary School, Cantumog National High School, and Liloan Elementary School with a combined population of more than 4,000 pupils and staff. Each school now has a five-faucet hygiene facility with customized signages in Cebuano that would remind the users to practice a healthier lifestyle.
MWF Resource Mobilization Manager Nathaniel Hipolito shared that this collaboration is an opportunity to create a bigger impact on school children’s well-being. "Manila Water Foundation values partnerships in the way it effects positive change in the lives of communities and children,” he said. “The Foundation's Lingap Eskwela found an avenue of collaboration with P&G’s Linis Lusog Kabataan in bringing about healthier school children. Both programs aim at reducing absenteeism among students caused by infectious diseases which would have been prevented by proper handwashing with clean water and soap and proper oral care," he added.
To reiterate the importance of hygiene for a healthier body, handwashing and toothbrushing steps were also demonstrated to kids during its inauguration ceremony. Hygiene kits with soaps, hand towels, and toothbrushes were also distributed to schools. The facilities and kits are expected to complement and support school efforts to improve children's hygiene practices.
“We used to have very limited facilities, but now we are very grateful to have this. This is a big help for the school children,” Teacher Everdida said.
MWF’s Lingap Eskwela program aims to provide water access through drinking or hygiene facilities in schools. Meanwhile, P&G’s Linis Lusog Kabataan aims to teach good hygiene habits to school children and mothers.
Want to partner with MWF in bringing #WASHforAllCommunities? Send MWF a message at [email protected] and its social media accounts. For more information, log on to manilawaterfoundation.org.