Igniting Change: Transforming Lives with Clean Water and Education in Hwedza

Igniting Change: Transforming Lives with Clean Water and Education in Hwedza

In the northern constituency of Hwedza, the lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities was a major issue. Dendende Primary School, in particular, faced challenges as fewer than two in every five children had a toilet at home, and the school itself was in poor condition with inadequate sanitation facilities. This posed a significant health risk to the children, exposing them to various communicable diseases.

The headmistress of the school, Mrs Chipunza, expressed her concerns, stating, ‘The dilapidated state of the toilets seriously interfered with the children’s education as they used the facility uncomfortably, some returned to class unrelaxed or unfocused and not being in the right mind-set of learning.’ The school had also faced delays in relocating to a new site due to the lack of sanitation facilities.

However, with the support of the community and SOS Children’s Villages in Zimbabwe Family Strengthening Program (SOSCVZ FSP), positive changes were implemented. A well-wisher drilled a borehole to provide clean water, and SOSCVZ FSP facilitated the construction of a 20-holed Blair latrine at the new school site. This not only improved the sanitation situation at the school but also ensured that the Ministry of Health and Child Care could approve the operation of the school.

The impact of these improvements was evident, as one student noted, ‘Since the beginning of the 3rd term of 2023, I have been going to school every day and even my performance has become outstanding.’ Besides the water and sanitary ablutions facelift, SOSCVZ FSP Block grant also assisted in paying school fees for fourteen vulnerable children at the school up to grade 7, allowing them access to education and proper sanitation facilities.

As a result, the children were able to attend school regularly, leading to better academic performance. The improved facilities also sparked conversations within the community about the importance of education, hygiene, and clean sanitation. This has resulted in other schools and community members taking steps to install similar systems, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

Overall, through the combined efforts of the community, donors, and SOS Children’s Villages in Zimbabwe Family Strengthening Program, children in Hwedza are now able to access clean water, sanitation, and education, leading to life-changing results.