As schoolchildren in Mozambique spin and ride on a carousel in their schoolyard in the near future, they will be inadvertently pumping drinking water from boreholes into a tank for use by the school and surrounding communities, thanks to a new initiative unveiled today by two United Nations agencies and a Dutch company.
Some 40,000 children in 60 rural Mozambican schools will benefit from the joint project of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Dutch logistics company TNT, using a concept that has already proved hugely successful in South Africa and Swaziland.
“This children’s roundabout is really a unique and innovative solution to solve the water problems faced by rural areas,” said Hennie Wesseling, TNT Director, who came to Mozambique from the group’s headquarters in the Netherlands for the inauguration of the first play pump at Intaca Primary School in Maputo province.
“It is wonderful to see the children having so much fun on these roundabouts while at the same time bringing an essential service to the community,” he added.
The roundabout pumps are part of a broader programme called “Flourishing Schools” initiated through a US$444,000 donation from TNT. In the first phase, 30 roundabout play pumps will be installed in schools in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane. In addition, 30 conventional hand pumps will be installed in Manica and Sofala.
“By ensuring children have access to clean water, food and an education, we are giving the children of Mozambique the best possible chance of building a brighter and healthier tomorrow,” said WFP Country Director Angela Van Rynbach at the inauguration.
In a joint effort to improve learning conditions in primary schools in Mozambique, WFP and UNICEF are supporting the Government of Mozambique through the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Public Works, with the input of TNT funding.
“Partnerships are essential if we are to help Mozambique’s education and culture sector as well as the sector of water and sanitation to get back on their feet after so many years of devastating war,” Ms. Van Rynbach said.