Pictures: Scenes at Unidade 18 Primary School after the intervention, Maputo, WfW.
In response to the rising number of cases, the Mozambican government decided to close all schools nationwide during the initial lockdown. In mid-July 2020, the national government put together an aid package to reopen 667 secondary schools and 15 teacher training colleges. The equivalent of almost 41 million Swiss francs is to be spent on improving hygiene standards at these institutions.
However, there is still no planned intervention for the primary schools in the country. All primary schools thus remain closed until they meet the mandatory minimum standards for water supply and hygiene defined by the government. These regulations pose the risk of having the affected school children miss another school year and further exacerbating existing inequalities. WfW is going to great lengths to prevent this and has developed a project in cooperation with the Maputo City Council and local partner organisation Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) for the reopening of 50 primary schools.
The risk of infection in primary schools is considered particularly high because classrooms are often overcrowded - in a single day, a classroom is usually occupied two or three times by over 60 children each - and also because there is a distinct lack of adequate WASH facilities. These conditions make ensuring even minimal hygiene standards and maintaining the necessary social distancing impossible. This is precisely where WfW's project work takes effect.
WfW has been active in the Mozambican capital Maputo since 2018, strengthening school and community hygiene in structurally disadvantaged peri-urban areas through infrastructural projects. WfW has already implemented comprehensive measures in three primary schools, enabling safe water access and basic sanitation for 6,500 pupils. One of the beneficiary schools is Unidade 18 in the Aeroporto B district: Through the renovation and expansion of the school's sanitary facilities - including the installation of drinking water stations and taps in every classroom as well as the construction of gender-sensitive and accessible toilets - 2,500 students gained sustainable access to sanitary facilities and tap water. Through regular awareness-raising measures, they also learned the basics of correct hygiene behaviour in a playful manner. With the construction of 50 community toilets and three sanitary blocks, as well as hygiene promotion measures in the neighbourhood, the school community was also deliberately involved in the project work. In consequence, WSUP and WfW jointly enabled a further 840 residents in Aeroporto B to have access to hygienic sanitary facilities and safe tap water.
The current project focus is on crisis management and mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The overall goal is to implement effective emergency measures that reach as many schools as possible and ensure that around 95,000 children can attend school again regularly while complying with the current safety standards.
Defending against disease – Video introduction to the joint project measures in Maputo's schools, WSUP.
Soap for Hygiene, Hygiene for Health - Soaps are crucial for the lasting impact of our project work in the field of school and community hygiene in Maputo. We therefore continue to provide hundreds of soaps to students, school staff and residents after the initial intervention in local schools and neighbouring community. To avoid having to resort to industrially produced, imported soaps, we have teamed up with the local start-up Fazeco. The result of this cooperation is the high-quality, beautifully packaged natural soap YAKOKO. Already tried and tested a thousand times during our WASH (Water, Sanitation & Health) workshops and community work, the YAKOKO soap is now available for our friends in Switzerland. 100% of all sales proceeds are invested in our project work.