For students living in the Ton district of Kyrgyzstan, not having access to adequate sanitation facilities used to be a daily challenge. Thanks to Good Neighbours UK, in collaboration with Good Neighbours Kyrgyzstan, the local government of Bolot Mambetov and the active involvement of our target communities, 773 students can now access new and improved sanitary school facilities in four villages.
Crucially, this enables girls to practice menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in a safe and dignified space without having to miss school. The scope of the project has been to empower girls to continue their education regardless of the time of month.
While Good Neighbours UK provided the financial support and oversaw the implementation of the project, our colleagues in Kyrgyzstan liaised with local communities and secured the expertise required to turn the new toilet school facilities into reality.
From the beginning, a baseline survey was carried out to identify the knowledge, attitudes and practices around menstrual hygiene management in the four target villages. 148 adolescent girls, 100 mothers along with 45 teachers were invited to take part in the survey.
Another point of consideration was also to double-check the project plan remained practical, replicable and durable. Involving the school administration and the local government of Bolot Mambetov was just as important to secure the long-term use of the school toilets past the timeline of the project, by being regularly looked after and maintained through fund allocation for this purpose.
In the meantime, our team in Kyrgyzstan also worked with specialists on the ground to make sure we complied with all the technical and safety requirements needed to undertake the construction of the school toilets. Agreements were signed and planning permissions approved. The project instantly took off.
By July, the school toilet construction had begun and by mid-October, all four villages benefited from new sanitation facilities in their schools. While the construction stage was underway, 40 teachers from the target communities were invited in August to undertake training on how to conduct information campaigns on menstrual hygiene management for adolescent female students.
Good Neighbours Kyrgyzstan also provided training on menstrual hygiene management for mothers. These training sessions informed the women in attendance on the importance of feminine hygiene, inclusion of girls with disabilities, and how menstrual health management can positively affect their overall health.
The project was a complete success. We are grateful for the dedication of our Good Neighbours staff along with the enthusiasm and involvement of the Bolot Mambetov community which made it possible for female students to safely continue their education without having to miss school. Most importantly, our efforts could not have been possible without your support which enables our sustainable development projects to make a lasting and positive impact in communities around the world.