While 2020 was a challenging year for people across the world because of the coronavirus, for the Lusitu Secondary School in Zambia, it was a year that also brought hope and change.
Thanks to the Future Life-Now! Programme, and with support from MIET AFRICA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), a range of resources to fight the pandemic were channelled to the school.
The school was extremely grateful for all the help but what excited everyone the most was the improved sanitation through the installation of showers and taps. “These have really changed the lives of our female learners,” said principal of the school, Lincoln Mungaila.
The showers did not arrive overnight. Initially the school had a hand pump that was situated away from the school premises making it difficult for both learners and teachers to access water.
In 2019, through the FutureLife-Now! Programme, the school was able to improve its water system. “We received funding to buy the water tank and other accessories to enable the school to have piped water,” explained Mungaila. A water tank of 5,000 litres was bought, pipes were laid, garden taps installed and a stand was constructed.
Piped water completely changed the lives of all at Lusitu Secondary School. “It was so important to have this piped water because initially we were pumping water into the water harvest tank, which had only one tap catering for everyone,” said Mungaila.
“There would be crowds of people fetching water, meaning that learners spent much of their time outside fetching water to drink instead of being in class. The tank itself was not safe in the sense that it had small openings allowing foreign matter to get in.”
In 2020 showers were installed in the dormitories and sinks were installed in the toilets. “The habit of washing hands became easier and therefore more regular. Showers in the dormitories have helped our female learners to bath often, wash their clothes and access water for cooking, without spending hours away from the classroom collecting the water,” says Mungaila.
“The teachers have seen an improvement with learners attending classes regularly, especially with the girls.”
Other resources provided by the Future Life-Now! Programme included face masks for both learners and teaching staff, disinfectants and hand soap; a COVID-19 sensitization conference for learners and teachers; dignity packs to support learners during the pandemic; installation of a solar power system and internet router for easy communication; and a data projector and screen for virtual meetings, conferences and seminars.