MASERU – Contaminated water, poor sanitation or unhealthy hygiene behaviours increase the risk of contracting diarrhoeal and other water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) related diseases, making it difficult for children to stay in school and become empowered through education.
This is an even greater challenge for girls, especially those who are menstruating, as they often face more barriers to enrol, stay in school, learn and perform.
When proper sanitation is available, 11% more girls attend school, says World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organisation helping children, families, and their communities to overcome poverty and injustice.
Lithabaneng Primary has not had regular water supply since 2009, after the water company cut off their water supply due to an upaid water bill. Since then, they have struggled to get water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, let alone water their crops, said David Ralebese, Lithabaneng Primary School principal.
He said sanitation was their biggest challenge, especially when COVID-19 began. Mr Ralebese said their challenges regarding water are finally over, noting that they are extremely grateful to the British High Commission in Lesotho for making their lives better by funding a borehole at their school.
In a continued effort to impact the lives of Basotho, the British High Commission is also hosting and facilitating community workshops on COVID-19 awareness in Lesotho.
Vicky Ford, the British Minister for Africa expressed pleasure on visiting Seboka Primary School and paid tribute to the excellent work being done by Rise with the support of the British High Commission in Lesotho.
She explained that the installation of the boreholes at Seboka and at Lithabaneg would ensure running water, safer toilets and a place for the children to wash their hands.
She further stated that community-level projects like these have helped make a difference to those who have learnt how to protect themselves during the pandemic, alongside the important vaccinations that are being rolled out here in Lesotho.
Rise International is a non-profit social enterprise, working towards a world where sustainable social enterprises created by local entrepreneurs from low-income countries, are the norm.
The British High Commission in Lesotho sponsored two boreholes which have been installed at Seboka and Lithabaneng Primary Schools as part of the 5 Hub Schools project by Action Ireland Trust (AIT), in collaboration with Rise International and the Ministry of Education and Training.
AIT is an Irish charity that provides skills exchange programmes in Education, Healthcare, Information Technology, Planning and Development, Architecture, Construction, Agriculture, Sport and Recreation.
The project engages schools’ boards, teachers, parents, learners and the surrounding communities where running water toilets, school kitchens, rain water harvesting facilities and food gardens for five schools in the Lithabaneng area (namely; Seboka, Makoanyane, Leqele, Lithabaneng Primary Schools and Lithabaneng High School) are currently being built.
The focus is to develop resources and facilities in conjunction with developing personal skills through teaching and learning. The boreholes, together with the rain water harvesting systems, will now provide a regular flow of clean running water to the schools, facilitating general good hygiene and frequent hand washing among learners and the schools’ community.
Through the 5 Hub Schools project, WASH (Water And Sanitation & Hygiene) clubs have been established in the schools where teachers and local activists are teaching water conservation and harvesting, sanitation and life skills while using the mediums of art, music, poetry and computers to positively engage learners.
These clubs are supported and encouraged virtually by AIT with the hope of renewed physical support post-COVID-19 lockdowns.