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New water and sanitation facilities improve school environment in remote communities

© UNICEF Mozambique/Emidio Machiana
School Sanitation Committee members Afua Mereja (left), 13, and Ana Francisco (middle), 12, demonstrate to their colleague Delfina (right), 12, how to wash her hands properly after using the latrines.

Buzi District, Mozambique, July 2010 – It is mid morning and students from Manica Primary School in Buzi District, Sofala Province, just came out of their classrooms for a short break. Delfina Amade, who just turned twelve and is a seventh grade student, is feeling thirsty. In a few strides, she and her friends are at the newly installed schoolyard pump, drinking safe water without effort or worry.

Less than a year ago, children from Manica Primary School would have to leave school and walk more than a kilometre to the nearest water pump in the community.

“It was common to spend much more than the time of the break to get water outside school and then return to class,” reminds Delfina. “It was not just because of the distance. There was usually a queue there as it was the only water source nearby. We would have to spend time also chatting with neighbours and family members there and along the way,” she explains.

Since June last year, nine water facilities equipped with hand pumps were constructed in nine primary schools in remote communities of Buzi district, providing access to safe drinking water to around 3,150 school children and approximately 4,500 people living in surrounding communities.

But it is not only this improvement that makes Delfina and her colleagues happier now to be at school.  New latrines and urinals were also built in the school. In addition to being of much better material and construction and easier to clean, they have hand washing facilities.

© UNICEF Mozambique/Emidio Machiana
Ana Francisco (left), 12, and Afua Mereja, 13, are both members of the School Sanitation Committee, established as part of the Child-Friendly Schools programme.

“This is what I like the most. We can use these latrines and wash our hands afterwards right here,” shows Delfina, who is now also accompanied by her colleagues Afua Mereja, 13, and Ana Francisca, 12.   
Afua and Ana are members of the recently created School Sanitation Committee. They help school children like Delfina in improving their hygiene practices and in making better use of the water and sanitation facilities.

“We are around 800 students in this school and our sanitation committee is comprised of 20 students and three teachers,” points out Afua. “We help ensure that the sanitation facilities and the water pump are always clean, and we teach our colleagues and community members the importance of drinking safe water and of washing hands. Once a week we conduct a session on hygiene promotion in a classroom. ”

Since June last year 3,381 learners in six schools in Buzi district were provided with access to safe excreta disposal facilities through construction of 24 separate sanitation facilities—on average four sanitation facilities per school—for boys and girls as well as for teachers. The School Sanitation Committees ensure adequate management and maintenance of the new infrastructures.

The Child-Friendly Schools Programme, introduced in Mozambique in 2006, aims to improve the quality of education in about 750 schools through a multisectoral and integrated approach. The package of interventions include rehabilitation and construction of schools including their water and sanitation facilities, promotion of school hygiene and health education, provision of education materials, promotion of child-friendly learning methods and protection of orphaned and vulnerable children, among other interventions.



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