Some 40,000 school children in Mozambique will soon be ‘spinning’ into a healthier future with clean drinking water and sanitation facilities thanks to a new initiative unveiled today by WFP, the Dutch logistics company TNT, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In a joint effort to improve learning conditions in primary schools in Mozambique, the two UN agencies are supporting the Government of Mozambique through the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing by installing an innovative children’s roundabout that pumps safe drinking water.
As children spin the carousel in play, they inadvertently pump borehole water into a tank for use by the school and surrounding communities.
The roundabout pumps are part of a broader programme called “Flourishing Schools” initiated through a US$444,000 donation from TNT. The first fully-installed play pump was inaugurated by the Government of Mozambique, together with the UN-Agencies and TNT, a global provider of mail, express and logistics services, at Intaca Primary School, in Matola Municipality, Maputo province.
Present at the ceremony were Mozambique’s Minister for Education and Culture, Aires Ali, and Minister of Public Works and Housing, Felício Zacarias, who reaffirmed the government’s commitment to achieve the millennium development goals in the education and culture and water and sanitation sectors.
“The aim is to bring water and sanitation to all our schools, and this is an important step in that direction,” they said.
“Partnerships are essential if we are to help Mozambique’s education and culture sector as well as the sector of water and sanitation to get back on their feet after so many years of devastating war,” said WFP Country Director Angela Van Rynbach.
“By ensuring children have access to clean water, food and an education, we are giving the children of Mozambique the best possible chance of building a brighter and healthier tomorrow.”
The Flourishing School programme aims to provide potable water and sanitation to 60 rural Mozambican schools. In the first phase, 30 roundabout play pumps will be installed in schools in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane. In addition, 30 conventional hand pumps will be installed in Manica and Sofala. The roundabouts have already proved hugely successful in rural schools across South Africa and Swaziland.
“Access to safe water and sanitation facilities is a crucial factor for keeping children in school and helping them to learn in a healthy environment,” said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Representative.
WFP, together with its corporate partner TNT, have agreed to drill the boreholes while UNICEF installs sanitation facilities and provides hygiene training. The play pumps were developed by the South-African company Roundabout and are partly paid for by the World Bank.
During the ceremony, WFP and UNICEF both expressed their appreciation to TNT for their generous donation.
“This children’s roundabout is really a unique and innovative solution to solve the water problems faced by rural areas,” said Hennie Wesseling, TNT Director, who came to Mozambique from the group’s headquarters in the Netherlands for the inauguration.
“It is wonderful to see the children having so much fun on these roundabouts while at the same time bringing an essential service to the community.”
Food fo Work
WFP Mozambique provides food assistance to support School Feeding, Food for Work projects, and Community Safety Net initiatives. In 2005, about 580,000 Mozambicans will receive food assistance; most of them will be school children and orphans.
In its efforts to reduce child mortality and morbidity caused by diarrhoeal diseases, UNICEF is supporting the Government in improving access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Only 36% of the population in urban areas and 40 % in rural areas have access to safe water and 53.3% and 28% to sanitation facilities (DNA, 2003).
In 2004 UNICEF’s school sanitation programme focused its assistance in Gaza and Zambézia provinces as well as in Maputo, Quelimane, Beira and Nampula municipalities. More than 200 schools benefited from increased access to safe water supply as well as from the construction of separate latrines for boys and girls.