COVID-19 has had a huge impact on learners and schools. The lockdown regulations in South Africa, similar to elsewhere, meant that schools were closed. When schools are resource poor, they struggle to provide the learners with an environment that is safe and reduces the chance of exposure not just to COVID but also other water borne diseases.
Our work on improving the water and sanitation infrastructure and changing behaviour, in particular, to hand washing is really needed even more.
After a long hiatus, our work in schools restarted in February 2021 when schools in South Africa reopened. We are currently working to support schools by ensuring that learners have sufficient number of clean toilets. We are also supporting Amatole District Municipality and the Equality Collective to conduct a survey of the Mncwasa water scheme so that we can understand better why the scheme is not functioning as designed. If the functionality of this water scheme can be improved, then the schools would be able to get piped water instead of relying on rain water harvesting which often leads to water shortages.