This profile was prepared when Trevor Mulaudzi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
In order to create a healthy environment for students and reduce school absenteeism, Trevor is convincing teachers, administrators, and parents to take ownership of the sanitary conditions of community schools. He is tackling the worst, and yet most easily solvable, hygienic problem firstthe toilets. Trevor leads initial clean-ups of school toilets to discourage apathy with regards to unsanitary conditions. Because he recognizes the need for ongoing maintenance, Trevor then convinces the school to take responsibility for sustaining the high level of cleanliness. This responsibility includes teaching students who come from remote areas without toilets how to properly use the facilities. By encouraging sanitary conditions in the toilets, Trevor's project helps set a standard for cleanliness that then moves beyond the toilets to all other parts of the schools. He has used his initial toilet-cleaning project to help schools raise both funds and awareness about health and sanitation within the community. He supplies the schools with toilet paper and cleaning materials at a low cost and encourages the schools to sell these products to parents and the rest of the community for a higher price. In this way, the schools generate income while also building community awareness and contributing to the improvement of sanitation in the home. Since schools purchase the cleaning materials necessary for the initial clean up and continuing maintenance from Trevor, his project is sustainable. The income from these transactions is the payment he receives for the services he provides. Trevor convinces parents to become more actively involved in the school by involving them in the initial clean-up project and then encouraging the school to employ some of these parents as cleaners and pay them a small wage for this service. In this way he not only increases the accountability of the school to the parents and community by having the parents present during the day to monitor activities, but also slightly alleviates the high unemployment in these areas.