As a resource that seems to be in plenty around us, water is often taken for granted. A lot of times, it is not understood just how important water is in the small and the big things we do every day. Due to the hot and dry climate through most of the year, clean water is scarce and growing food is often difficult for the mostly rural population of Tanzania. Without adequate water, certain rural communities live precariously and are unable to develop sustainable surroundings to live in, as they battle with water shortages and illnesses on a daily basis.
Let’s take a look at Matipwili Secondary Boarding School in Tanzania.
Ever since the school was established, there had been a severe water shortage. The nearest water source was the crocodile-inhabited Wami river, about 3 kilometers away. Students walked all the way to the river, about two to three times a day to get sufficient water (in buckets). Forced to survive on just a bucket of contaminated water which was used for drinking along with other needs, resulted in frequent diarrhea and cholera outbreaks.
Water was also required for the school’s functioning such as cleaning of toilets, and in the kitchen for cooking of meals. At times, even the meals for the students were delayed because of the lack of water.
With limited to no option, some children had to drop out of school due to the water shortage. The students themselves frequently stayed absent because of illnesses or menstruation issues attributable to lack of good hygiene and sanitation. All this can be traced ultimately to unavailability of adequate supply of clean water. Sometimes, classes had to be stopped midway and students were required to get water from the river; all at the expense and disruption of their education.
We at Wild Plains Foods, have installed a much needed bore-well in the school which provides clean, and sufficient groundwater. Students don’t have to walk 6 kilometers every day risking their lives, do not fall sick as often anymore, nor do they have to spend crucial time and energy getting water. With more time at their disposal, and a major hurdle out of the way, students are able to concentrate better on their education.
Now that the school enjoys sufficient water supply, they can even grow their own fruits and vegetables. The meals are not just timely, there is scope for diversity in it too. One student was overheard saying fresh vegetables would be a welcome change from just beans!
The school premises and the toilets are also spick and span now. The overall performance of the school has improved dramatically with the easy accessibility and availability of clean water.
We are proud to be of help to these young children ,who now, do not have to choose between Water & Education in this school.
This serves as a humble reminder that a seemingly abundant resource can sometimes be extremely elusive and can create such an adverse impact on children’s education.