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The Development Bank Of Southern Africa And Breadline Africa Boost The Fight Against Pit Latrines

  • 3 min read

In April 2023, Breadline Africa set a bold target of replacing pit toilets at 240 schools in the worst affected, mainly rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape with safe, hygienic facilities. This mammoth undertaking will cost R156-million to achieve and can only be successful through partnerships like this, combining Breadline Africa’s knowhow with the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s resources.

The first phase of this partnership, launching on Thursday, 9 May 2024, has ensured that 427 children and 34 teachers in two Eastern Cape schools will no longer have to fearfully approach a trip to the bathroom, following the completion of 40 new toilets in their schools. Another child was reported to have died at a pre-school in the same province after falling into a pit toilet, highlighting the urgent need to secure funding to roll out more school sanitation projects.

With only six years left to achieve the targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals, South Africa needs to ramp up its efforts to meet SDG 6 – achieving universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene by 2030.

“Although progress has been made to achieve this particular goal,” said Marion Wagner, CEO of Breadline Africa. “Much still needs to be done if we are to ensure the safety and health of our children. Pit toilets should not exist today, but the reality is that, according to Amnesty International, more than 3,932 of South Africa’s 22,597 public schools are still using pit toilets.”

She added that through partnerships with organisations like The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Breadline Africa will be able to complete 20 schools by the end of June, benefitting more than 7,500 learners and helping to raise awareness to encourage more funders and supporters to invest in South Africa’s children.

DBSA’s R8.6-million investment represents the largest single contribution to Breadline Africa’s pit toilet replacement campaign to date. It demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to initiatives that have a tangible impact on communities and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).“The DBSA is focused on sustainable infrastructure solutions, so collaboration with Breadline Africa on an initiative like this aligns perfectly with our strategic objectives. This collaboration represents a significant step towards improving sanitation standards in Eastern Cape schools and underscores the importance of corporate social investment (CSI) in driving positive change in our communities”, adds Lunga Schoeman, CSI Manager for the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

In addition to the installation of the toilets, the initiative also includes the provision of handwashing stations and access to soap, further promoting hygiene and health in these schools.