How do you make a school safe from COVID-19 for students when the Government has cut your budget?

The Government of South Africa has slashed its Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG) by a total of 3.9 billion rand (Euro 181 million) since the beginning of 2020 to divert funds to the COVID-19 response. The EIG supports provincial education infrastructure development, including building new schools, sanitation and water infrastructure, maintenance and repairs. The cuts are really difficult for schools and provincial educational departments to cope with as they are expected to make the schools conform to Government prescribed standards for safety before they are allowed to reopen.

We know that the existing water and sanitation infrastructure in schools is already inadequate and poorly maintained. There already exists a backlog of demands for remedial action on existing infrastructure and the construction of new infrastructure. Now in response to Government directives, schools are expected to make their premises safe for learners by installing new water and sanitation infrastructure but with reduced financial allocations from Government.

How can schools do this when their budgets have been cut? They will need support to cover the funding gaps and that is where we come in as Viva con Agua.