Toilets Making the Grade® – a competition where all participants are winners
The second round of the Toilets Making the Grade®(TMG) school competitions was a resounding success. Nearly 200,000 students from over 200 schools in Uganda and Pakistan participated in the second round of the TMG school competitions.
The competitions aim to trigger improvements of school sanitary facilities as well as behavioural change among students through an innovative and scalable approach. The competitions also contribute to the achievement of SDGs 6 (Water and Sanitation), 3 (Health), 4 (Education), and 5 (Gender Equality). The German Toilet Organisation (GTO) conducts TMG with support of the GIZ global programme Sanitation for Millions.
In the school competitions, participating schools first receive guiding documents in form of an inspiration package and poster, which enables them to analyse their own sanitation challenges. Plus, valuable discussions are initiated. The school gains a better understanding of infrastructure, behavior change, and possibilities to change their status quo. After that, they send their concepts to the regional authority, and are invited to the final competition event. All concepts are assessed by education supervisors, and then a jury of selected stakeholders selects the best five schools as model schools.
The GTO’s new web portal was instrumental in the execution of the competitions. With the help of the web portal, country pages were designed that were specifically tailored to the technical capabilities of the regions in Uganda and Pakistan. In northern Uganda, for example, a website with a stronger focus on uploads and downloads was created for all three Ugandan competitions, as it was known in advance that the region only had poor internet access.
Moreover, the measure has digitised the overall process, which can, also in future, reduce the contact between participating stakeholder and thus lower the risk of contagion of diseases.
The competitions ran under the patronage of local politicians as well as the former BMZ Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, raising the profile of the event.
Upscaling the TMG school competitions was a full success. Coverage increased by 130.000 participants compared to the first round in 2018/19.
There was good feedback from the project countries. In the round in 2018/19, Pakistan reported many achievements: Firstly, the contest managed to sensitize the schools to collectively redistribute responsibilities and work as a team to promote health and hygiene practices. Also, many schools were able to develop their own individual solutions to O&M of their sanitary facilities, which can be implemented by the schools themselves. These include e.g repairing handwashing facilities themselves or the properly and regularly cleaning of bathrooms to prevent stealing.
Furthermore, schools have now improved their way of drafting budgets, as well as planning and executing development initiatives.
In this year’s round of TMG, Uganda also evaluated the results of TMG as very positive. They particularly emphasised that TMG was able to break taboos and thus bring the issue of sanitation closer to decision-makers in schools and authorities.
Author: Lukas Trautner