By Staff Reporter
ACCESS to safe and clean water remains a critical and essential service in any community or institution. When communities do not have access to reliable water sources, it’s most often children that must spend time every day fetching water. In many cases this causes them to miss school and miss out on an education.
Siachilaba Secondary school is located in Binga district in Western Zimbabwe. The school learners and teachers rely on a borehole located 900m from the school premises.
The school borehole was not operational for more than a year due to a major break down.
Through the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools programme, funded by the Government of Japan, KFW, and FCDO the water point was repaired and fitted with new pipes and a short casing.
Schools were still closed due Covid-19 restrictions when the repairs were done. The headmaster, Mr Siatimbula appreciated the assistance rendered UNICEF and the donors in ensuring that the school has a safe and reliable water source.
The water point is now more efficient, safe, and reliable and it is meeting the needs of the school. The local community happily participated through mobilization of locally available resources such as sand and quarry stones, for the construction of the head works. The water point serves more than 320 school children (including 1 disabled boy) and 18 teachers.
“Assistance on the repair of the water point came at the right time” Mr Siatimbula.
“Assistance on the repair of the water point came at the right time. The school is assured of clean and safe water after the repairing of the broken aprons and removal of rusty pipes. There is ample water for drinking, educational needs e.g., agriculture and other lessons,” said Mr Siatimbula
“There is much improvement in cleaning of ablution facilities and hand washing as water is now readily available. There is also a great improvement in hygiene practices as learners can now wash their hands with soap on a regular basis,” he said.
Without a water source close by, the school faced numerous challenges including lack of drinking water, lack of water for environmental cleaning and also for cleaning latrines.
Children were left without any choice but to bring water from their homes in small plastic bottles and the water was too little to meet both their drinking and hygiene requirements.
“We are happy that the Government of Japan has made it possible for our borehole to be repaired as the school had no money to buy the needed spares.
Lack of money to buy spares had been the main reason why the borehole had been down for such a long time.
User fees have been introduced through the project and the community has agreed to pay quarterly contributions of $1 per family to meet future breakdown expenses including payment for the Village Pump Mechanic.
“This intervention came at the right time during the global pandemic of Covid-19 which requires high standards of hygiene to curb the spread of the disease” added the headmaster.