Peace Corps Volunteer Emily McKeone is working with her community members and local school teachers to bring safe, clean drinking water to three schools in Zambia to improve students’ health and boost school attendance. People in the communities currently travel long distances to get water that frequently comes from unprotected sources like local streams, which often leads to water-borne illnesses and sanitation concerns at school facilities.
By constructing borehole wells, the community’s water sources will be protected from contaminants and safe to drink. The additional water supply will also support school construction projects and enable students and teachers to plant gardens and orchards. The resulting produce will help raise money to maintain the boreholes.
“School attendance by students and teachers will improve from enhanced sanitation and clean drinking water,” said McKeone, who is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been living and working in Zambia since July 2012. “The schools currently have construction projects that have been delayed due to a lack of water, preventing completion of much needed classrooms, and these boreholes will allow for the completion of those projects.”
Almost four months after its arrival, the Play Pump remains the most popular place to be. Not only children from the primary school, but parents and grandparents are often seen chatting at the spigot’s end exchanging gossip while collecting water. After school there is – quite literally – standing room only. Lines form for a chance to hop on and a take a spin. Any able-bodied person cannot walk past without a throng of learners demanding a push.
Peace Corps Volunteer Andrew Hubble recently installed a ‘Play Pump’ water filtration system, which will serve as a reliable source of fresh drinking water for his South African community.
“Without proper access to clean water, community members often suffer from nutritional deficiencies and waterborne diseases. For millions of people living in developing countries like Togo, these conditions are everyday realities that inhibit their ability to work, pursue an education or raise a family. Access to clean water is not only the basis of reducing poverty and illness; it is the foundation of a productive and fully functioning community.”
Two Volunteers are helping communities across Senegal install 52 water pumps over the course of a year. In August, they began installing the “rope pumps,” which use a simple, appropriate technology that accelerates the process of pulling water out of wells. The pumps also relieve congestion around wells in local villages and give people access to more water.