Real lives

Real lives


Reducing climate change effects by increasing access to safe water in schools and communities

© UNICEF/Burkina Faso/2015/Barry
Tinto Nabitenga primary school, in the Plateau central region of Burkina Faso equipped with its two Rain Water Harvesting System (RWHS) built to collect the rain water

By Claude Tarpilga and Mariam Traoré

It is 6:45 am. The din of students is already heard in the schoolyard of the Nabitenga primary school, in the Plateau central region of Burkina Faso. Children are working to clean the classrooms, others are fetching water before class starts.

Awa Ouedraogo, an 11-years-old school girl, moves back-and-forth with the bucket on the head between the classroom and the water tank just behind the school building.
"Before, we were going to fetch water from the village borehole located 500m away from the school. It was a real chore because we had to fill up the water containers and hand-washing basins, and we also had to make water available for cleaning the toilets”, she said

The Tinto Nabitenga School has an enrollment of 165 students. It is part of schools where, for hydro geological reasons, it was difficult to have a borehole. So, two Rain Water Harvesting System (RWHS) have been built to collect the water during the rainy season, treat it with chlorine and store it.

The rainwater collection system put in place includes a catchment area supported by the school building roof, a 10 cubic meters tank that stores rainwater, a gutter system collecting rainwater captured from the roof, and a pipe draining rainwater into the storage container.

This system is quite efficient and cheap for collection and storage of water, be it for drinking, hygiene, gardening or housework. But it proves particularly useful during periods of shortage in the dry season, a very difficult time for most people in arid and semi-arid regions such as Burkina Faso.

© UNICEF/Burkina Faso/2015/Barry
Tapsoba Seni (with the hat), the Chairman of Tinto Nabitenga’s school management committee (COGES) welcoming the rainwater collection infrastructure in the village’s school.

Tapsoba Seni is the chairman of Tinto Nabitenga’s school management committee (COGES). He proudly presents the water collection facility built with UNICEF support.
« With this water collection system, pupils no longer go far away to fetch water for school needs», he says. According to him, it is every community member’s responsibility to take care of this infrastructure, which is so helpful not only for the school, but also for the community as a whole.
With this equipment, students are now sure to have water to drink, wash hands, and clean toilets. Each classroom has been equipped with a safe-drinking water device composed of a plastic pot mounted on a metal block, and fitted with a tap to enable children to fetch water. "When the water contained in the water bucket is renewed, the class delegate ensures that the water is properly treated with the required dose of chlorine" says Awa.

For UNICEF, increasing access to safe water and to improved sanitation facilities through promoting environmental education contributes to reducing climate change effects, whose impacts especially on vulnerable populations are already evident in Burkina Faso. Thanks to the financial support of the Government of Japan, UNICEF was able to build a total of 10 Rain Water Harvesting System (RWHS) in five schools, reaching 1,500 students.



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