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Access to water supports an entire community

Access to water supports an entire community
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/C.Bach
Drought often strikes Changara district in Tete province, and water is scarce. With the use of an advanced water pump, Changara’s communities can benefit from the water while also staying protected from cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Jonito José Antonio, Director of Education in Changara district, tells us that the improved access to water, hygiene education and sanitary facilities achieved by the Child-Friendly Schools initiative has had a great impact on the communities.

"It is not enough to just tell children that they need to take care of their personal hygiene. You also need to provide them with the possibility to learn how to do so," Mr. Antonio explains.

"Learning how to wash one's hands and drink from a clean source is beneficial not only for children, but for the entire community and the whole country. Children pass on their knowledge to their family, and then into the future."

Nhaacamba School in Changara recently received a new water pump, thanks to the Child-Friendly Schools initiative. It was originally intended only for the school, but is now being used by the entire community. "There is another pump very far away that we used before, but it is broken. If we did not have this pump, we would not have had water at all now," school director Olerio Domingos Agostinho explains. The water pump next to the school is surrounded by children, holding little plastic containers and waiting their turn for a drink. It is very hot outside, and they are also taking turns to work the pump.

Sometimes older ladies come with large plastic containers to take home, and the children wait patiently for them to fill up. Leve Raymundo is 14 years old, and stands washing his hands outside one of the new latrines. "I used to have diarrhoea very often," he says. "I could not wash my hands after going to the toilet, and before the water pump, I used to drink from a hole in the ground."

The school director confirms: "It is true, it was too far to walk to the other water pump, so the children used to drink water from the little stream next to the school. It is very dirty, and we had many cases of cholera. Now, the pump and hand-washing facilities help the entire community to stay healthy."

Leve lives alone with his mother. His father died a couple of years ago, and the boy feels responsible for taking care of his mother. He is proud to have taught her about the importance of washing her hands correctly, using water and soap or ashes. "First I thought, maybe she will be upset that I tell her what to do; but she listened, and thanked me for taking care of her. Now we always wash our hands before dinner."





Child-Friendly Schools: Stories from Mozambique

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