San­i­ta­tion First’s fundrais­ing chal­lenge with a local pri­ma­ry school

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November 02, 2016
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SOFII’s view

What a wonderful achievement from the pupils of St Philip’s primary school. They must be, rightly, feeling very good that they raised so much for a school so far away from theirs in the UK. Good to know that their sterling efforts were recognised and that they are now twinned with – and share a name – with the school that they raised money for. SOFII hopes that each school will benefit from future collaborations. 

Summary / objectives

Sanitation First (previously Wherever the Need) provide ecosan toilets to stop the continuous spread of disease caused by open defecation. They also dig wells to give people access to clean water and education communities about good hygiene practices, e.g. hand-washing. They have changed the lives of over 50,000 people in India, Sierra Leone and Kenya.  

St Philip’s Church of England primary school in Odd Down, Bath teamed up with Sanitation First to raise the money to build a well and provide clean drinking water and ecosan for Kouma, a village in Sierra Leone.


People don’t always understand why toilets are so crucial to well-being, or how this links to poverty. An absence of sanitation creates the perfect conditions for disease to thrive and quickly infect whole communities. As a result, people frequently succumb to intestinal disease, making them too ill to work or attend school. They then have to spend what little money they have on medication and, as a result, they have less money to spend on food. Or, of course, they die

Quite simply, without sanitation, people remain trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.

David Crosweller, co-founder of Wherever the Need said on a visit to Gbongay, a village in Sierra Leone said:  ‘Finding myself surrounded by a group of about 40 young children, I looked at them and wondered which ones wouldn’t have been with us if the situation had remained as it was in 2006. Almost 100 children have been born in Gbongay since then and they are all still alive. Quickly running the maths in my head, I was heartened to realise that there must be over 1,000 children in the villages where we work, who would otherwise have died.’

The headmaster of St Philip’s, Andy Joy, said ‘In our vision statement at St Philip’s, one of our aims is to encourage each child to be a responsible citizen within their community, environment and wider world. The project is a  great way for the pupils to learn about children in other countries and  really make a difference – giving other children a hope and future.’

Special characteristics

St Philip’s asked parents to loan their children £5 and challenge them to come up with incentives to make this grow. For instance making cakes, growing plants, crafts, etc and then sell these to friends, family and neighbours. The final profits went towards the project – and parents got the £5 back! A great way to teach the children business and communication skills, in a fun way.


The children at St Philip’s aimed to raise £8,600 and they exceeded this ambitious target and actually raised £9.441.00. 

On Monday 13 July 2015, Louise Kirby-Garton, CEO of Wherever the Need), Senesi Fawundu, the Right Honourable MP for Pujehun District, Sierra Leone, and his wife, Mariama Fawundu, visited St Philip’s to meet the staff and children. Mr Fawundu delivered a presentation showing pictures of the newly built Kouma school and the children. Kouma village is a remote community with a population of 500. 

Mr and Mrs Fawundu were delighted to meet the staff and children of St Philip’s and enjoyed the opportunity to thank them personally for their fundraising. Mr Fawundu announced that the Kouma school would be named St Philip’s to twin with the Odd Down primary school

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The proud children of St Philip‘s with the MP Senesi Fawundu and his wife Mariama, who came from Sierra Leone to thank the children for their great fundraising.
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Almost 100 children have been born in Gbongay since the ecosan was built and they are all still alive.
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School children in front of the newly-built school in Kouma now named St Philip’s as well.