Water in schools

Through the program Healthy School, UNICEF allows students to study in a stable, safe and clean environment.

John Ngombua (translated from French by Lorraine Valarino)
Katangi draws water.
27 August 2021

"We used to have to bring water from our homes to clean classrooms, sanitary facilities and even to drink," recalls Katangi, a sixth grader at the Nuru School Complex in Kipushi in Haut-Katanga province.

The daily cleaning was a real chore for the students. "Often we were so tired that it was difficult to concentrate on the lessons," the girl continues to explain. Thanks to a borehole drilled by UNICEF with support from the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Katangi only has to walk a few steps to get clean water. "Every day, we draw water to clean the classrooms, drink or fill the hand-washing facilities," she says.

The students are not the only ones to benefit from this borehole as the community surrounding the school also benefits. "We have agreed that 3 cans of water cost 100 francs and the community is satisfied. We save this money in case the borehole is damaged," says the headmistress of the Nuru School Complex.

More than 36,000 students and community members benefit from the water facilities installed in Kipushi, enabling them to study and live in a clean and healthy environment.

Katangi poses in front of her school's new sanitary facilities.

In Kinshasa, Muamba and her classmates enjoy the newly installed toilet in a corner of the playground at Babuuda Primary School. "Our toilets are equipped with facilities to help us manage our menstrual hygiene," says Muamba. Muamba and her classmates used to stay at home during their menstrual period because of the lack of facilities. Over the course of a school year, this represents a whole month of missed lessons for these students.

With the support of the Brussels-Capital Region, UNICEF has installed special toilets for girls so that they can wash and change in peace. "Managing menstrual hygiene is as important at school as it is at home," she says.