We, at WWFA, are thankful when more people have an opportunity to learn about the challenges people face in Africa obtaining clean, safe water. Becoming aware of the problem is the first step in solving it.
Today, the media outlet Epoch Times published an article online explaining that when children have access to clean water they are able to go to school and stay in school.
We hope many people who read this article will want to support organizations that provide clean water to people in need!
Please check out the excerpt below and be sure to visit the link (at the end of the text) so you can enjoy the whole article with photographs!
Clean Water Is the Key to Improving Child Education in Africa, Says Nonprofit
By John Fredricks, Epoch Times
MALAWI, AFRICA—At the Nanyanje Primary School in a rural area of this landlocked southeastern country, an arriving truck trailed by a cloud of dust broke the noontime silence of studying students as the vehicle stopped near the campus’s new water well.
On the side of the car, logos for the Southern California nonprofit “Water Wells for Africa” could barely be been seen on its doors due to dozens of excited students who crowded the car, some running so fast that their sandals fell off their feet.
“Can you believe these kids now all have clean drinking water?” president and founder of the nonprofit Kurt Dahlin told The Epoch Times as he exited the driver’s seat. “How exciting is it that this simple gift of water will help in all aspects of child education?”
Mr. Dahlin and his Malawian counterparts have been building water wells throughout the remote regions of Malawi since 1996.
Being a firm believer in equipping the nation’s next generation with education, Mr. Dahlin and his team have made several discoveries pertaining to the connection of clean drinking water and child education, especially for girls.
“It is proven true in every school where [we have installed wells] that all aspects of academic performances have significantly increased,” he said. “The number one problem in improving child education in rural Malawi is the lack of clean, accessible, sustainable water.”
“The attendance charts for girls in Malawi fall off a cliff in primary school as Malawi has the highest dropout rate in all Southern Africa,” he said. “As girls are the primary water harvesters for the family, they take on a heavier workload within household settings than the boy and that workload largely consists of a loss of time in collecting water from distant, dangerous, and contaminated sources.”
In Malawi, 50 percent of girls drop out before completing their primary education, according to the Malawi Ministry of Education.
Mr. Dahlin said he suspects that a major reason for this is due to the long treks the girls must take to collect water.
In one village near Nanyanje school, it was reported that women and girls were walking for several hours to bring water home from a contaminated source, a major factor of death for rural Malawians, according to the World Health Organization.
With the nonprofit’s creation of safe water sources, these hours-long walks are eliminated for young girls, freeing them to attend school, according to Mr. Dahlin.
“Water Wells for Africa has discovered that girls can manage their household chores and go to school successfully with the simple installation of a water well in their schools and villages,” he said. “We have also discovered that where clean water is made accessible, girls in school can resist early marriages and childhood prostitution.”
According to the nonprofit, many unwanted pregnancies caused by rape have occurred while young girls travel long distances from home to fetch water for their families.
While it is still a common practice in rural Malawi for early age and forced marriages—which often occur for financial reasons—some girls are sold into prostitution to augment family incomes, Mr. Dahlin said he has learned from locals.
“Those parents don’t want their girls to go to school, obviously,” he said.
Aside from providing water, the nonprofit has recently launched a program called “The Blossom Project” to improve menstrual hygiene to also help create a better education outcome for adolescent girls.
This is not only being done by the distribution of feminine hygiene projects, but also by building changing rooms and pit latrines for the girls’ health and dignity.
Initially launched at Nanyanje school, the program has since expanded to two other schools using a donation provided by the Brian and Joelle Kelly Family Foundation, a United States based charity that financially supports global educational endeavors.
“We thank WWFA for giving us a changing room!” a group of girls sang in Chichewa, Malawi’s national language, while clapping their hands and dancing.
Though Mr. Dahlin said he foresees that maximizing school access for Malawi’s next generation of women will create progress across all social categories, clean water has proven to be the “first step” in achieving development anywhere in the world.
“Every single hope and dream of true education is advanced by accessible clean water. Accessible water leads to academic success,” Mr. Dahlin said. “Malawians are proud and strong, and the installation of a water well allows them the independence to make a better life.”
Water Wells for Africa has provided almost 500 water wells throughout rural Malawi using donations given from all over the world. To donate, visit https://waterwellsforafrica.org/giving-options/
To read the article on the Epoch Times website, please see the link below. In order to read the article on their website, you’ll either need to share your email address or use a subscription.