Higher school attendance due to improved water facilities

Dehydration, abdominal pains and diarrhea were some of the many problems faced by pupils at a girls’ primary school in Rustaq district. With a new water scheme provided by Mission East the students no longer have to suffer from stomach disease and attendance has increased to nearly 100 per cent.

A girls’ primary school in Rustaq district of Takhar Province used to face many problems in providing safe drinking water to its pupils. Only a few had the option of bringing bottles of water from home. If students did not go home, they were forced to drink contaminated water from unprotected sources such as rivers, streams, dirty rain and meltwater from snow, or not to drink water at all. This caused them to suffer from dehydration, abdominal pains and diarrheal disease.

Missed classes

The lack of clean water had severe consequences for the girls’ school attendance. More than half of  the children regularly missed a large part of their lessons because they went home to get water. And nearly 100 out of the 400 students dropped out of class regularly as they were not interested in attending their classes if they could not satisfy their thirst during the day. Fawzia, Bibi Fatima and nine other students from the school explain that those who stayed in class were less attentive, even rushing home after 2-3 sessions.

Improved attendance

To address the problem, Mission East installed clean drinking water and three tapstands at the school providing clean drinking water to the 400 school children. This was supplemented with health and hygiene awareness trainings for the students and training for the teachers on the effective use and proper storage of clean drinking water. The access to safe and clean drinking water has completely changed daily life in the school. According to the girls studying at the school, there is now almost 100% attendance and more and more students come to school in time.

Enjoying the clean water

The girls explain that sometimes students even play with the water, splashing it on to each other just to enjoy having clean water to drink and use. A lot of students fill up their bottles with water to take back home at the end of the school day. The students who had previously dropped out or used to miss half their lessons are very active now and hope to do well in future.

The drinking water scheme at this primary school in Rustaq was installed in September 2014 with the support of funding from the German Federal Foreign Office.