Global grant provides water, sanitation for school children in Mozambique
The Rotary Club of Maputo, Mozambique, partnered with the Rotary Club of Skanderborg, Denmark, on a global grant project to build bathrooms, a water hole, and a tank for a school in Maputo.
Rotarian José Rui Amaral stood in the bathroom of the Hulene A school for only a minute before he couldn’t stand it anymore. “The smell was horrible,” he says.
The primary school outside Maputo, Mozambique, lacked money to update its crumbling sanitation system, built decades earlier, when the school served 700 students. It now serves 2,500 students and staff.
The plumbing was so deteriorated that school officials were forced to close the bathrooms and set up makeshift stalls in a neighboring open area -- one side for girls, the other for boys.
Not only were the bathrooms in disrepair, but the school lacked running water. There were two taps on the playground that ran for only two hours a day.
When the Rotary Club of Maputo began looking for a water project, its members approached Mozambique’s Ministry of Education for a list of schools with water and sanitation problems. Club members visited schools on the list one by one, and the choice became obvious.
“When we went to Hulene A, it was horrible,” says Amaral. “There was no water.”
The Maputo Rotarians obtained several price estimates to upgrade the sanitation system and install a water tank and began looking for an international partner to finance the US$55,100 project.
“Our club was looking for a Foundation project, as we had funds to use,” says Stein Schierenbeck, a member of the Rotary Club of Skanderborg, Denmark. “Being a club in the test district for the new global grant setup, we looked for areas of need within another test district. Contacts through our district and Rotary Denmark to District 9400 (Botswana, part of Mozambique, South Africa) led us to this project and need in Maputo.”
Once the clubs connected, they applied for and received a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. It took two months to complete the bathrooms, dig a water hole, and install a 5,000 liter tank. A ceremony was held in October 2011 to celebrate the new facilities.
Maputo’s minister of education attended the ceremony and told Amaral that the new facilities were “luxurious” compared with typical standards.
School officials are now charged with maintaining the sanitation system and water tank, which came with a one-year guarantee and were built to require little maintenance. The Rotarians involved were also careful to make sure the contractor agreed to provide regular maintenance of the sanitation system and tank.
“The children are very happy,” says Amaral. “A week ago, I went there to give some sports items to the school and several children ran out to greet me -- they recognized me as one of the people who gave them water.”