Recently formed at participation and defence speech techniques. Kinshasa’s Young Reporters take the floor to guarantee access to water and hygiene in their schools.
A school without running water
My name is Jean-Claude, I am 10 and I am in the 5th year in the primary school 4 of Masina, a village situated at the East of Kinshasa. I am a Young Reporter since November 2017 and I want to share with everyone what I see in my school.
In my school, there are 360 pupils and every one of them is suffering because the Public Company of Water (REGIDESO) cut the tap water since the 2015-2016 academic year. It is rumoured that the school has a big debt.
After we followed the training as brigadier general in charge of water, hygiene and sanitation, we understood the importance of water for our health. Because we were also prepared to lead pleas in front of the authorities we went to see the department manager of the REGIDESO in Masina, in order for the water to be re-establish in our school. We can say that our plea was successful because the department manager had already sent agents in our school in order to see how they can solve the problem.
While waiting for the water to be re-establish we decided to collect the water from a plot nearby. We use this water to wash our hands, to clean up our classrooms, to keep our toilets clean and hygienic. We really hope that the department manager will quickly make a decision because to collect the water in the nearby plot we have to cross a road and a few children had been hit by a motorcycle. “Water is life” but for now we don’t really have life.
Flies for classmates
My name is Mimi and I am a Young Reporter in the provincial city of Kinshasa. I am 11 and I am in the fifth year of the primary school of Lutondo, which is situated in the village of Ngaliema at the west of Kinshasa.
When you’ll arrive in my school you’ll see a big erosion behind the school. The district’s inhabitants come there everyday to pour it with their dirt. When we are in class those dirts smell and bother us a lot. Flees which come from there lay on the food that the mothers are selling in the recreation or at the end of the class. I am sure that many pupils fall sick and miss school because of it.
Because some of my friends and I had been formed to the Children’s Rights, we pleaded to the district chief in order for him to take measures for people to stop throwing their dirts in that erosion. I am convinced that he is going to do it because the article 24 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child say that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health”. The district chief must act because he is the representative of State in our place.
Latrines for the teachers but not for the pupils
My name is Ornella and I am also a student in fifth year in the primary school of Lutondo. In my school, we lack of hygienical latrines and since a very long time. Pupils do their business behind the classrooms or in the neighboor’s houses.
Yet our teachers have their latrines at school. Before being formed at Child Rights I didn’t see where the problem was but now I think that it’s unfair. We will soon have latrines but pupils of the other schools nearby don’t know where to go when they need to pee or poop. They’ll suffer infections or typhoid fever. I ask her to help those children to have hygienical latrines in their schools too.
If you don’t do it, children will keep falling sick and fail to exams. The Article 24 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child say that States who signed in must “To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution”.
Young Reporters and brigadier in charge of water
UNICEF, in partnership with OXFAM and the “Réseau des Encadreurs pour l’Initiation à la Participation des Enfants” (RIEPE), execute the National program “Healthy Schools and Villages” in the suburban schools in Kinshasa. Thanks to the financing of the Belgian National Comitee, 24 Young Reporter had been formed on the roles and responsibilities of the chief brigadier in charge of water, hygiene and sanitation.
After their formation, Children Reporters joint session of pleas in front of the REGIDESO to unsure access to drinkable water for 2,100 pupils. In December 2017, the director of the technical department the Masina branch gave his agreement to supply two schools in drinkable water.
Translated from French by Manon Derlyn
Junie Flegeretravaille à la Section WASH (eau, hygiène et assainissement) de l'UNICEF RDC et s'occupe de promouvoir les pratiques d'hygiène au sein des communautés. Actuellement presque 2 millions de décès chaque année sont dus aux maladies liées à un manque d'assainissement, et 90% sont répertoriés chez les enfants de moins 5 ans.
Junie Flegereworks in UNICEF DRC's WaSH (Water, Hygiene and Sanitation) Section and is in charge of promoting hygienic practices among communities. At present, nearly 2 millions deaths each year are cased by diseases that result from a lack of sanitation and 90% of deaths concern children under 5 years old.
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