The Rivanna/CPAR Partnership: Safe Water for Schools
In most schools in Karatu District, Tanzania, piped water, available four months of the year, is unsafe to drink and scarce at best. Children trek as far as five kilometers to obtain water from contaminated sources, where they may face injury or harassment. In addition, they must bring water to school from home once a week, a requirement that causes conflict among families and encourages children to skip school if the water is not available. Contaminated water results in poor hygiene, dehydration and countless water-borne diseases.
In accordance with its mission to promote healthy living practices in Tanzania, CPAR has implemented a rainwater-harvesting and sanitation program in schools in Karatu District. The construction of two 30,000-liter ferro-cement tanks, an eight-unit Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine for girls, and the placement of four drinking and hand-washing stations at each of nine schools have significantly improved learning conditions for children. School attendance has improved, as has cleanliness, hygiene, and children’s knowledge of health and hygiene issues. Children are able to study better in school now that they experience fewer headaches and less dizziness from dehydration.
The water supply at many schools in the district, however, is still dangerous and unsafe. One of the goals of the Rivanna/CPAR Partnership is to expand efforts to include new water systems at other schools.