DR Congo: Drinking water saves pupils from water-borne diseases in Kalehe

Huguette fetching water at her school's water point
Friday, March 22, 2024

By Jean Baptiste Mirindi, Senior Officer Social Behavior Change Communication and Media, World Vision DRC                                                   

Huguette, a 6-year-old girl, is a lively and curious child who is currently in the 2nd year of Bulagizi Primary School in the province of South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She often suffered from illnesses linked to contaminated water. Every day, she had to face the devastating consequences of drinking unsafe water. Her school, like many others in Kalehe territory, did not have access to clean water, which made the situation even more difficult for her and her classmates.

All the people in charge of these schools wanted to provide the best possible learning conditions for their students. One of the needs was access to clean drinking water to ensure the children's well-being through cleanliness, sanitation, and hygiene.

"Water-borne diseases were common at school, which affected the children's attendance and ability to receive a good education," says Catherine Kavira, Headmistress of Bulagizi Primary School. She adds that Huguette was absent from school for several days due to water-borne diseases caused by undrinkable water.

Now, children can rejoice!

Thanks to the ANCP project funded by DFAT and implemented by World Vision, which is determined to improve the school environment in the 30 schools and 2 remedial centers it supports in the Kalehe sub-division, a drinking water point has been built at Huguette's school. This has helped improve the health of the students.

Huguette is now happy to drink clean and safe water, which has significantly improved her health. The water-borne diseases that used to affect her life have disappeared. She has regained her vitality and zest for life, and she is fully engaged in her studies and playing with her friends at school.

Thanks to access to clean drinking water, not only Huguette but all the children at her school are experiencing this transformation and are also building their resilience. They can now focus on their education and look forward to a brighter future.

The construction of this water point is having a significant impact on the educational environment. Children are benefiting from the maintenance of their toilets and classrooms, thanks to the school brigades, which is driving positive and lasting change for generations to come.

"Huguette is currently in good health, I often see her active in class, and every time she wants to drink water, she goes to the office to ask for a cup, a gesture that encourages others to do so and overcome the challenges associated with access to drinking water," says the headmistress before concluding, "We thank the ANCP project for this commendable gesture for our school.”

The achievements of World Vision's ANCP project in schools are a symbol of hope and transformation for the children of Kalehe territory.

"Overall, World Vision has built standpipes in 19 schools supported by the project, so that 9,672 children, including 4,832 girls, now benefit from clean drinking water at school and wash their hands regularly," said Fred Buingo, ANCP Project Manager.