Faith, Hope and Clean Water
Faith and Hope Nursery & Primary School serves 583 students and employs 15 staff members in the Rilima sector of Rwanda. Clean water has always been a big challenge for the school. We all know the importance of drinking water. It is especially important for young children – always running and playing in the heat. But in this rural area of the country, families use lake water for their daily needs, which leads to a no-win situation. Either children would not drink water and become dehydrated or they would bring water from home that was dirty and exposed them to dangerous bacteria.
As a result, the school is always concerned about students being absent from lessons because of water-borne illnesses. The school would regularly get calls from the hospital from parents whose child was receiving care for these sicknesses. The school would welcome health workers to the school to vaccinate children against some diseases, but for water-borne illnesses there wasn’t a clear solution to protect students.
Then, the Water Project selected the school to receive a SAM2 Community Filter in May of 2019.
Finally, there was an available solution to meet the needs of the students in their care. But technology is only as good as the training to use it. So, the school quickly began a campaign to educate the students about the importance of drinking the filtered water. The staff held assemblies for the students to talk about drinking clean water and the use of the filter. Teachers established rules against bringing dirty water from home. The school purchased cups for the students to use and built cupboards to safely store cups after they were washed.
After a few months of teaching and reinforcing these lessons, the school began to see a difference in the behavior of the students.
Students started to come without prompting from their teachers to drink water from the filter. And the school saw an 87% decrease in the number of students missing school because of waterborne illnesses.
Claude, the Principal of Faith and Hope Nursery & Primary School, says that they are very grateful for the filter because it helps the school and the community serve these kids more effectively, with faith, hope and clean water.