Project Update in the DROC

We are celebrating progress on the mission to help children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRoC) get safe water and sanitation! The area we’re reaching is Nebobongo, in the northeastern part of DRoC. It’s a remote and difficult place, with few roads and very limited access. No one outside of Nebobongo has reached this area with water, sanitation, and hygiene education (WASH), mainly because it is an area where nature is thick and violence threatens sustainable development. People suffer from preventable diseases and children miss out on an education. In short, it’s a hard place to live and work.

To help the children of DRoC, Wheels4Water is working with Lifewater to build rain catchment tanks near the schools so that the children and their families will have a reliable and close source of safe drinking water. The water tanks will help prevent water-borne diseases and life-threatening diarrhea, but because it is so remote, bricks are rarely available for construction in Nebobongo. Lifewater helped provide a brick machine that is being used by the community to build long-lasting water tanks and latrines. The tanks built with these bricks can be produced and repaired using locally-available materials – a huge step toward sustainability. So far, two rain tanks are being constructed and are near completion!

While safe drinking water is important for preventing disease, improved sanitation at the schools can be a game-changer for students, especially girls. Latrines are essential for preventing the spread of harmful diseases that make kids sick and keep them out of school. For girls, however, the indignity of having no private place to relieve themselves or to care for their bodies during menstruation can cause them to drop out of school altogether. In Sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than 1 in 4 girls living in poor, rural areas complete primary school, and lack of sanitation plays a big role in this challenge. Currently, two latrine blocks at two schools are in progress and will be ready for use soon!

The piece that holds all this progress together is WASH in Schools training. After all, it’s the people that make the changes. When kids are taught to wash their hands with soap, use latrines, keep clean water safe from contamination, and keep their environment clean, they get healthy. No more stomach aches, diarrhea, missed school, and lack of opportunity. They thrive. And these great learners become great teachers as well; they take their training home and get their families on the road to health and hope. So far, WASH in Schools training is happening at five schools, affecting hundreds of students and their families.

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