Water scarcity is now a thing of the past for three schools in Mashonaland East, an area to the south of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. Approximately 3,000 students now enjoy easier access to clean water and sanitation, thanks to the Nathan Kalumbu Legacy Improved Community-Based Water Supply and Basic Sanitation projects.
The official handover ceremony recognizing the completion of the project took place on May 24th. An investment from The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, in partnership with Plan International Zimbabwe, Plan International USA and the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF), made this project possible.
The colorful events were held back-to-back at the schools –Waddilove Primary and Secondary School and Goromonzi High School.
At the Waddilove Institute, children expressed their gratitude through song and dance performances.
At Goromonzi High School, the school’s drum majorettes led a parade in honor of the event.
Water Brings Happiness
The ceremonies marked the successful conclusion of construction of the water and sanitation systems funded by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, as part of its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
The focus of the intervention was to build more sustainable water facilities for the schools and students. Key aspects included the drilling of boreholes, installation of water tanks, improved sanitation facilities for girls, new piping, and water reticulation systems.
In his overview of the project, Plan International Zimbabwe Country Director Lennart Reinius stressed that the project will address critical water shortages that had challenged the schools for years, due to the increasing school population and aging infrastructure.
“Access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in the school environment promotes children's health and wellbeing, thereby contributing to the long-term vision where all children achieve their full potential,” he said. “We are certain that this project will improve the day-to-day lives of all children at these schools and this is a big step towards helping them realize their rights.”
The prolonged water scarcity presented a daunting list of problems for schools, including dehydration, disease, and interrupted learning for all students, especially girls who might miss school during their periods if adequate facilities are lacking. Speaking on behalf of all the students, the schools’ head girls praised the Coca-Cola and Plan partnership for working to address the needs of all students. The girls said that now that there is water and privacy, girls’ school attendance won’t suffer due to menstruation.
During his speech at Goromonzi High school, the Mashonaland East Provincial Education Director, Mr Chihota, explained that the water and sanitation equipment was not just a donation to the respective schools, but to the entire education system.
“With abundant access to water for all children, agricultural projects can start,” he said. “Now, these schools have financial flexibility to channel their resources to other pressing needs that will enhance the quality of education.”
The presiding Bishop of the Methodist Churches in Zimbabwe, Rev. Dzwana, lauded the project partners for “rescuing” the Waddilove schools from the water crisis. He was quick to remind students, teachers, and school authorities to exercise good stewardship of all infrastructure.
Speaking at the events, the Regional Franchise Manager for Coca-Cola, Honest Marandu, told all who gathered that projects like these require collaboration to achieve life-changing results.
“Community-focused projects are at their most effective when there is true partnership of many different parties that share similar ambitions and aspirations – including the private sector, government, and civil society,” he said. “This was a unique partnership and I have full confidence that the work done here will have a great legacy and long-term impact.”