Today, there are too many communities and schools in the world that have no access to water or decent sanitation. Children are becoming dehydrated and ill – they cannot learn like this. Millions of children die every year because of diarrhoea, and the leading cause? poor sanitation and dirty water.
In 2006, we – the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance - started a programme aimed at improving conditions in schools that had no water supply and very poor sanitation conditions. We named this the Blue Schools Programme.
This is where we need your help…
We have planned a Blue Schools project in Lantaogo Primary School in Burkina Faso.
This school is in Gourma Province, which is in the East of the country. It has 282 students and 6 teachers. Though almost brand new, the school has no water source. There are four toilets, but these are in a poor condition, are not separated for boys and girls, and are not enough for the number of children. Illness is a major cause of absence, with malaria and diarrhoeal diseases very common.
What will we do?
We will build three water tanks that can store 120,000 litres of water. These will collect the rain that falls on the roofs of the school buildings. First, the water goes through a filter, to make sure nothing else enters the tank. Before drinking the water, it will be treated with chlorine – which the school staff will be taught how to make. Children and teachers will have at least 2.5 litres of water every school day of the year.
We will also build toilet blocks – separate ones for boys, girls and teachers – so everyone at the school can go to the toilet safely and in privacy. A small tank will be attached to the toilet blocks to collect water from the roof so the children can wash their hands.
However, we believe a project should go further than this, so we carry out other activities.
Every student is given a tree that they plant and look after – this is called “A child, a tree”. This not only improves the school grounds, but also links the children to their local environment and teaches them responsibility.
A vegetable garden will be planted in the school. Vegetables from the garden can be eaten by the children at lunchtimes, improving their diet. Children will also help out in the garden, learning useful gardening skills and how to share.
A volleyball court will be built. Sport is essential to the healthy development of children and teaches them important skills such as fair play, leadership and team work. Volleyball was chosen as it can be played equally by boys, girls and mixed teams.
Finally, the children will have lessons on drinking water, using toilets, the water cycle, deforestation, caring for trees, waste treatment and peace and tolerance. The teachers will also have training on similar topics, so they can teach it to the new children every school year.
This is our project, but we need your help to make it a reality!
Providing a school with something as simple as water and toilets makes a huge difference to the entire lives of these children. If they can stay at school and get a full education, the world opens up to them.
Please give what you can; even the smallest amount gets us closer to our goal of giving these children a better life in school!
If you can’t contribute, please get the word out and make some noise about our campaign! Indiegogo has some great sharing tools, so please help us reach as many people as possible.
Now, a little about us
We are the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA), an NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland, that is working to increase the use and awareness of rainwater harvesting around the world. Though too often forgotten, the collection and use of rainwater has huge benefits. For example, collected rainwater can be used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing, and watering plants, to name just a few of its uses, and its importance, in view of climate change and more frequent drought, is enormous!
We will also be working with a local NGO in the project area called Association pour la Gestion de l’Environnement et le Développement (AGED).
Since we started our Blue Schools programme in 2006, 45 Blue Schools have been created in some of the poorest countries in the world. This means 18,000 children now have access to freshwater, toilets and handwashing basins in their schools and the number grows every year. These children and their parents have also received training in nutrition, orchard and vegetable garden tending and peace building. The results so far are very encouraging and there are many requests for expanding our Blue Schools Programme. Sadly, our funding is limited.
If you visit our website, you can discover all our past Blue Schools projects, to see how this work transforms these schools!
The IRHA Team