Educators building a water filter system a school
School is back in session in Burundi and in many schools around the world. The start of a new school year brings learning, fun, friends, and of course, the planting of another year’s school gardens! The four schools in the Burundi 4-H Sister School program are gearing up to start their fourth 4-H year strong! Burundi 4-H educators have been working all summer on their annual plan for the new school years gardening program, and for the past several weeks 4-H educators have been visiting schools and meeting with teachers and principals to present the plan. The annual plan includes school gardening objectives, professional development plans, and goals for the 4-H afterschool peace clubs. The annual plans are developed based on evaluation data and input collected throughout the year from community members, garden management committee members, youth, school teachers, school administrators, 4-H educators, and NGO partners. This month, Burundi 4-H educators are busy preparing for an upcoming professional development training for school teachers and administrators from all four participating schools. As soon as the rainy season begins this October, children will begin planting this falls harvest.
Each year, the youth and schools participating in the Burundi 4-H school gardening program experience tremendous growth. This past school year, the introduction of water filter systems at each school has helped the program reach new heights. Most of the schools in Burundi do not have running water and children at school are suffering from thirst.Now with water filter systems at each Burundi 4-H Sister School, schools have taken measures to keep filters filled with water so that children can have access to clean water anytime. During the majority of the school year, the rainy season from October – April provides plenty of rainwater to the water catchment systems, and the schools then use the water filter systems to purify the rainwater for drinking and handwashing. During the drier months when school is in session (April – June) children will often bring water to school to filter. The introduction of water filter systems has made it so that rainwater stored in the water catchment systems can be purified and is used for drinking and handwashing, in addition to irrigating the gardens. Access to clean water at the schools greatly reduces the spread of infectious diseases, flu, diarrhea, and the common cold. The water filter systems were constructed at each school by educators who were trained by a non-profit organization called Friendly Water for the World*. The BioSand Water Filters are made on site from cement. Once constructed, sand is added to the filter, then water is added to the sand and the water becomes filtered as it passes through. The sand is purchased from local supplier and is replaced over time at a very inexpensive cost.
Another outcome resulting from the accessiblity of water on the school grounds is the establishment of nurseries. This past year students began creating nurseries and learning how to transplant seeds. Normally in Burundi, nurseries are found in valleys, however since each school has a collection of water stored in the water catchment systems, nurseries are now able to be located at the school. Nurseries are taken care of by the children with the help of the 4-H agricultural technician and school teachers. Students are planting seeds in the nurseries and once the plants are big enough, they transplant them into theirgardens. Additionally, many of the extra starter plants have been sent home with the students to share with their families for their homegardens
Access to water, especially clean water, for the students has a huge impact on their learning, health, and their communities. As always, the immense success of the Burundi 4-H School gardening program is made possible through your continued support of this program. Thank you to all our donors, supporters, and partners! JOIN US in spreading the word about this program to your friends and family. Like and share our story on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Wsu4HBurundiProject/
*To learn more about Friendly Water for the World visit http://www.friendlywater.net/
Educators adding sand to the water filter system
School children adding water to the filter system
School children filling containers of clean water
Students using the water filter