Aishat Alabi, 22, a student at Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba, Akoko, Ondo State, is concerned about the unhealthy environment of the school campus. While she is now in her third year, it has become her third consecutive year of learning in a dirty school environment.
She does not only value cleanliness to protect herself; her studies and those of more than two thousand other students enrolled in the university are impeded because of the school’s unkempt environment.
“In my own part, I encourage students around me to at least clean where they are seated and their surroundings. Since the employed cleaners have ceased to work, we need to begin to do it by ourselves to remain clean on campus”, Aisha told Prime Progress.
Since the commencement of this new semester, cleaners have not worked in some places, buildings, or lecture theatres in the institution.
Prime Progress understands that the cleaning duties are handled by different faculties independently. However, because some of these faculties are financially stretched, they have been unable to pay cleaners.
Boluwatife Olawale, another student of the university studying political science, told Prime Progress that the institution needs to channel more funds towards cleaning the campus, which is why the environment remains dirty.
“I think the students have been the ones trying desperately to keep the campus environment clean. The management has more than once claimed that it does not have enough funds to keep the environment running smoothly without being sordid.”
Olawale added that lecturers have now resorted to forcing students to pick up dirt in their lecture halls before most classes. If these students are focused on picking up the dirt they can see, they have been unable to mitigate the harm associated with the dirt that has germinated due to the overall dirty environment in the institution, which can be dangerous.
Dirt has contributed to the death of an estimated 12.6 million people. The unclean, dirty state of the institution has also led to environmental pollution that can cause health problems like respiratory diseases, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
Krawdwise doing their part
On September 30, 2023, a team from a non-governmental organisation or NGO called Krawdwise came to the university’s rescue to clean up both lecture halls and other surroundings.
Krawdwise Africa is committed to health advocacy and environmental sustainability in African institutions. It provides for and responds to the problems of dirtiness in different institutions, particularly in Nigeria, and is poised to create awareness about campus cleanliness across the continent continuously.
According to Ayorinde Olugade, a 200-student finance student at the university and the organisation’s Vice President, the team called for volunteers who would like to participate in the cleaning on social media and selected willing students.
In his viewpoint, his team plays a support role for the students to ensure that “We began with itemising where we want to clean judging by our manpower. After identifying that, we then divided one another into subteams and cleaning began in earnest. We used Trash bags, Brooms, nose masks, hand gloves, parkers and rakes purchased with the funds supplied by our umbrella organisation”, he added.
The cleaning started around 7am and ended some minutes before noon. The team cleaned up university premises, including but not limited to the OBJ, old RC halls, matric ground FASA LT, and the shuttle stand.
According to the Vice President, the sanitised areas are key spots in the institution, and despite the frequency of students around them, they have remained dirty before their intervention.
“We were just seven altogether, and we worked tirelessly to make an impact. As we cleaned, we felt satisfied, fulfilled and happy that we are not among only those who complain; we have joined the sets of people that act to make the sanitation situation better in our institution,” he added.
Hammed Adebayo also joined them in the cleaning exercise. He explained that he was fascinated by the prospect of the NGO to keep the institution safe and clean.
“From the assessment conducted in August, I realised the immediate need for a clean and tidy environment in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Akoko, Ondo State, which is attributed to the cause of many diseases among the students, like skin diseases, rashes, smallpox, and typhoid, among others”, he said.
This project is aimed at cleaning up the places in the school while promoting good hygiene on campus”.
Olugade said his team was handicapped because of its number. He believed that if they had been able to get more volunteers, they could have cleaned more strategic places in the institution.
“The reality is that we were very small in number. We were just seven. It is difficult for us to clean up the whole school. Besides, most of these places are not only two dirty but littered. Trust me, we don’t want to do shoddy jobs. We focused more on efficiency than any other thing,” he said.
Cleaning the campus premises, which has now become a student duties that the organisation took up, did not receive the needed embrace by most students. This severely hampered how far they could go.
“Many people said they would be part of it, and we didn’t see them. We also suffered from nonchalance from some of us who participated. It was pretty difficult for us,” he put forward.
Not only in terms of manpower, the intervention also suffered duly from inadequate funds to buy more equipment to be used for the cleaning.
We did our bit
“I have been to some of the places we cleaned up, and they are now in good shape even a week after. We have created a stimulus for anyone around these places. Most students are maintaining these places. They get it clean, and they are now keeping them the same.”
Olugade furthered that because of what he and his team have done, many students will be motivated to dedicate their time to replicate similar gestures.
“Let me tell you. The number of people who have come to thank us for what we did is limitless. And to be very honest with you, we didn’t do what we did for appreciation; we did it to instil the spirit of cleanliness in our mates even when the road is rough to do so. After us, I am confident that we are going to have more volunteers,” he concluded.