Govt. Elementary School Noor Kubra is located in Union Council Basira of Tehsil & District Muzaffargarh Garh. The school building consists of 4 class rooms and the number of students is more than 300.
AGAHE in partnership with WaterAid in Pakistan has been implementing “Ensuring Girls rights through school and community based WASH and improved menstrual hygiene management” in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab, Pakistan. An important component of the project is related to capacity building through extensive social mobilization of the school girls and adjacent communities. Health and hygiene sessions with Peer Support Groups, teachers and community women enabled them to eliminate the malpractices around menstruation and personal hygiene.
With the soft component of Capacity building of peer support groups and Girls hygiene Clubs around health and hygiene issues, cleanliness and MHM, girls’ friendly toilets were installed for adolescent girls with proper sanitation facilities, hand-pumps were installed for the purposes of safe drinking water and water schemes of the school for the purpose of improving personal hygiene among the students.
GGES Noor Kubra is located at a deserted place which increased young girls’ vulnerability in multiple ways. Teachers of the school highlighted the issues of land adjacent to the school with multiple type of bushes. This land could be a potential protection risk for any of the adolescent girls. AGAHE with its hard intervention in the program area decided to mobilize the local community regarding the harm of these bushes for which the team met with the land-owner along with School Management Committee and School Council. The purpose of this meeting was to ensure that the land may be cleared in order to avoid any physical or psychological harm for any girl/child in future. The social mobilization team of AGAHE shared their views and discussed the whole matter with the land-owner as a result of which the land was cleared within a day.
Government Girls Elementary School Noor Kubra is a model school in terms of sanitation facilities and how the management of schools has maintained these facilities over the period of time. The girls have not only be proactively involved during these health and hygiene sessions but also have maintained their personal hygiene at all levels. The cultural misinterpretations around menstruation have been a word of past for these girls as they have adopted hygienic practices to ensure that they live a healthier reproductive life in future.
One of the girls of peer group shared, “I feel comfortable when I get to school having no fear even if it is my first day because I know this is natural, with this the sanitation facilities at school also give me confidence that it won’t go wrong to go to school and attend the classes rather than spending time on bed as sick person. These hygiene sessions and being an active part of the group has changed my attitude towards MHM. AGAHE has further benefitted us by removing the bushy fence which was a source of constant fear for every girl at school. We will sustain these priceless interventions so that the students coming and joining us in future may benefit from this too”
One of the teachers expressed her deep gratitude for the provision of sanitation facilities at school and sanitary material for young girls. With this she said that it had been a difficult thing to talk to the land-owner around cutting off the bushes in front of school but AGAHE team’s constant struggle made it possible for all of us. The land owner has further assured the team that these bushes will be cleared timely so that they may not cause any inconvenience in future.