Transforming Lives: Mt Matedzi Secondary School’s Journey to Accessible Clean Water

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Transforming Lives: Mt Matedzi Secondary School’s Journey to Accessible Clean Water

In May 2018, Mt Matedzi Secondary School, located in the Marange District of Manicaland Province, faced a dire situation. The school lacked access to a reliable water source, impacting the daily lives of, learners and teachers This scarcity of water had severe consequences, including inconsistent school attendance, teacher retention, and health risks. However, thanks to FAWEZI supported by the German Embassy intervention, the school’s fortunes were about to change.

The Pre-Funding Struggle:

Prior to the funding, Mt Matedzi Secondary School grappled with the absence of a water source. Teachers and learners spent hours searching for and queuing for water outside the school premises, impacting valuable teaching and learning time. The lack of clean water also jeopardized the health and well-being of the school community, as they were forced to drink water from various sources and use unsanitary toilets. Furthermore, the absence of a reliable water source hindered the implementation of income-generating projects and self-subsistence gardens, which require water for sustainability.

Transformation:

Following the conclusion of the project, Mt Matedzi Secondary School became the first school in the in their area to have access to tap water. This transformational change has had a profound impact on the lives of 194 learners, 6 school staff members, and numerous community members. The project successfully established a piped water system powered by solar panels, ensuring a sustainable and reliable water supply.

Access to Clean Water and Improved Hygiene:

With taps strategically placed around the school, learners and teachers now have access to clean water for drinking, handwashing, and use in the toilets. This is particularly significant for girls during menstruation, as it ensures safe and hygienic menstrual hygiene management.

Revitalized Nutritional Garden and Income-Generating Projects:

The project also supported Mt Matedzi Secondary School with a fence and seeds for its nutritional garden. With the availability of unlimited water, the garden has been revived and now boasts various vegetables and legumes, including leafy vegetables, carrots, beans, and peas. Moreover, the school has started a brick molding project to support the construction of classroom blocks and teachers’ houses.

The impact:

  • Health Risks Mitigated: The outbreak of diseases related to unsafe water like cholera and typhoid has been significantly reduced both in and out of school.
  • Improved Attendance: Girls no longer miss school during their menstrual periods as they now have access to adequate facilities for Menstrual Hygiene Management.
  • Enhanced Academic Performance: Learners no longer miss out on lessons while seeking water, thereby improving their overall academic performance.
  • Teacher Retention: Nine teaching and non-teaching staff now have access to clean water within a close radius, reducing teacher flight to other schools.

Mercy Gonora a student remarked, “Before we had taps in our school, we used to spend hours fetching water. We would close to one kilometre in search of water. Some girls even got impregnated as they would meet men from the community whilst looking for water. Now we can focus more on our studies.”

The School’s Headmaster Morgan Ziduche added, “Having clean water readily available has made a difference in our daily routines. We are healthier and more focused on teaching. Teacher retention will end now that we have water. This intervention has laid down a sustainable foundation for future generations at Mt Matedzi Secondary School as several projects have started with the availability of water.”

The project successfully addressed the shortcomings faced by the school, including the absence of safe water, school absenteeism, poor teacher retention, compromised menstrual hygiene management, and the failure of income-generating projects. Through the installation of a 5000l water tank, six solar panels, four water taps, pipes, a pump and pump controller, casing for the borehole, seeds for the nutritional garden, and fencing.

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