A Look Back at 2018

Unusable Latrines at Barlie School, Sierra Leone

Healthy Schools International is thrilled to be a supporting partner on a 3-year, $101,000 International Global Grant. The grant was awarded by Rotary International to the West Springfield, Virginia, USA and Bo, Sierra Leone Rotary clubs. We are part of a pilot program designed to improve student performance at three underserved rural schools in the Bo District of Sierra Leone.

Each school will receive new furniture and classroom supplies and three teachers at each school will attend certification training (qualifying them for a government salary). HSI will provide safe sanitation and solar electricity for each school campus. Most recently, we’ve completed a solar electricity micro-grid for Largo Primary, one of the three pilot schools.

School ChildrenWe are happy to report that all nine teachers have started their certification training and each school has received new furniture, blackboards and supplies. HSI has also completed its work with Largo Primary by implementing a new latrine block utilizing waterless, composting technology. The next school we want to start construction for is Barlie Primary which is more remote than Largo and whose latrines could really stand replacing (as you can see from the header photo above).

Look for more great news about the the important work your support is bringing to rural and underserved schools in Sierra Leone and Kenya!


As I’m sure you’re aware, most every online credit card processor charges a fee, even for donations to charities. Well, through the end of the year, the PayPal Foundation is waiving all processing fees for donations made to Healthy Schools International! AND, on top of that, they will add 1% to each donation.

If HSI is in your giving plans this year, please consider making your donation through the PayPal Giving Fund at this link. Thank you!

2017 Trip Recap – Sierra Leone

Photo of community leaders pointing to rooftop solar on the Roke Fullah school

Three leaders from Healthy Schools International (HSI) traveled to Sierra Leone in October to visit current partner schools, review past projects and explore ways to improve and expand our programs. It was a particularly significant trip as this was our first chance to introduce our friends and partners to our name change from Deeper Missions.

Photo of HSI Travel TeamHSI Board President, Ross Meglathery, Derek Reinhard, Executive Director, and Board VP, Kim Hanson, were pleased with their week-long stay which included having the honor of visiting with Dr. Minkailu Bah, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology.

Our two primary stops were at the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf just outside the city of Bo in southern Sierra Leone and the Makeni Roke Fullah Primary School in a rural area of the Tonkollili District in the center of the country. Because of the generosity of our donors, and a grant from the Training Resources Group, these two partner schools have received clean infrastructure upgrades to help protect the health of the staff and students and to help the community build sustainable revenue models which bring in income to maintain the systems.

So far, the school for the deaf has received a sanitation upgrade and a 1.2kW solar electricity system to power lights and electronics in the class rooms. The remaining installations include an expanded solar generation system so their new dormitory, dining facility and community hall can have clean power, and drilling a borehole where which will supply clean water all year round.

Roke Fullah WellAt the primary school in Makeni Roke Fullah, a borehole well was drilled last year, for which the community is grateful because up to that point they were retrieving water from a shallow river. This past summer, a solar electricity system was installed (see featured photo above). Remaining is the largest project to date for us: safe sanitation facilities for almost 500 students.

Interestingly, both schools chose to start a cellphone charging service for the community in order to generate income for help pay for maintenance on their respective infrastructure. The Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf has already set aside sufficient funds to pay for any major component failures and so now can direct some funds toward school operating costs.

During the trip, the team also visited with potential partner schools in the Bo city area. We found one school with a tremendous and immediate need for a water well and sanitation–finding any kind of water involved time away from school for staff and children alike, and the current pit latrines are all out of operation.

These are the challenges we face and these faces are the reward we get for helping students thrive in areas otherwise overlooked.

Thank you for the kind and generous part you are playing.

Take Nothing For Granted

Outdoor pit toilet with palm branch enclosure

It’s a sort of standing joke with my friends that, whenever we get together for a visit, my wife will get to talking about the grandchildren and I, well I get to talking about poop.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some startling statistics about how people suffer, especially children, from poor Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH).

For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa only 31% of the population has access to “improved” sanitation.

Sadly, in the rural areas where Healthy Schools International operates that percentage is even lower. That featured photo for this blog entry, yeah, that’s one of the two “toilets” for a school of nearly 500 students in Sierra Leone. The bush in the background, that is also a toilet area.

So, yeah, I talk a lot about ways to better manage human waste rather than taking it for granted that everyone in the world has access to a clean and safe toilet.

Eloo Installation at Primary School
Enviro-loo Installation at Nairobi School

November 19th was World Toilet Day. It marks an observance that there are communities still needing help to develop safer ways to manage a natural bodily function without creating a health hazard for the entire community.

So, wherever you go, please…

Photo of empty toilet paper tubes
Take nothing for granted.