Nigeria: School Health Initiative Expands Reach

Girls learn healthy practices at camp in Ogun state Nigeria
press release

This week as the United Nations marked International Youth Day, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) took its pioneering Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) education programme to schoolchildren in Ogun State. The pilot, which took place over two days, educated 237 children at the Ogun State Summer Camp, before an anticipated roll-out across the state and throughout Nigeria.

WBFA's programme is based on its Adolescent Skills and Drills, Personal Social and Health Education Curriculum, the first locally-developed PSHE curriculum. Teaching is formed around three core pillars: Your Rights and Your Body; Health Relationships; and Planning Your Future.

Within those main areas an extensive range of topics pertinent to the health and wellbeing of young people are covered, with a focus on hygiene and sanitation. The push, initiated earlier this year by Her Excellency Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder-President of the WBFA, alongside global partners, is part of global WASH campaign.

The cohort of children, aged between 8 and 17 years old, were also taught the World Health Organization standard of hand washing techniques, in addition to further break-out sessions, in line with the WBFA commitment to support UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Precious Ajunwa, WBFA Youth Programmes Leader, commented from Ogun State: "As part of the programme we held a ‘Girl talk session' where over 115 girls were educated on proper menstrual hygiene management as part of our commitment to enable girls to be able to attend education and reach their full potential."

"We adopted the participatory form of teaching approach which enables us to assess how much the children know and how much knowledge we have to impart to them.

"Questions from the children in Ogun State were thoughtful and revealing. I'm delighted that they all pledged to teach their friends in their schools and at home proper hand-washing techniques as new WBFA WASH ambassadors!"

Dr Babafemi Adenuga, Special Adviser to the Ogun State Governor on Health, commented: "The curriculum imparted by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa team was informative and highly productive. I highly appreciated the work of the team and the level of detail and interaction.

The Kogi State Commissioner and her team also attended in order to study the programme, saying, "We need to take this all over Nigeria!"

The programme was received by the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Modupe Mujota who described the campaign as a timely action that needs to be embraced by all, whilst Mr Aikulola, Director of Primary and Higher Education, Ogun State and Guests Manager, Ogun Summer Camp, expressed his gratitude to the Wellbeing Foundation for bringing the WASH campaign  to save the lives of children in the state.

"While the Wellbeing Foundation is committed to the WHO's sepsis resolution and improving hygiene in health facilities," Mrs. Saraki said, "our Wellbeing Youth curriculum and youth teams are leading on demonstrating the importance of PSHE-WASH in schools as a priority for increasing youth wellbeing and autonomy in beating both communicable and non-communicable diseases. This pilot in Ogun State has been a great success, and I look forward to the curriculum being rolled out further and having ever greater impact.

"I'm delighted that our youth teams have demonstrated our commitment on a local level to our global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) campaign, as warmly endorsed by the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus when I met with him at the World Health Assembly in Geneva earlier this year. During my meetings with the World Bank, the United States State Department and Congress in June, we agreed on the critical importance of global handwashing campaigns. Our global campaigns always have local impact and go on to inform all the work that we do."

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