Water is essential for all human life but for more than 15 years, the Kasai-Central Province and, in particular, the city of Kananga, has been faced with a water problem. Due to the lack of electricity needed to work the machines, Regideso (the company charged with the distribution of water) has halted the provision in drinking water for residents. According to the annual report of the National Healthy School and Village Program, 80% of the population do not have access to the region’s drinking water. The residents of Kananga struggle to source water, especially drinking water. To meet their needs, the city’s residents must use remote fountains or find accessible water sources. Without these, there would be no drinking water.
The lack of drinking water is the source of numerous health problems in children. Children have to go to school without washing, women cook with dirty water and children drink non-potable water. They are exposed to waterborne diseases, such as typhoid fever, which is one of the main causes of child mortality. As the water does not come from the taps, the residents sometimes have to go collect water from remote sources. In February, some young girls from Kananga were bitten by venomous snakes while going to collect water. Even in schools, the children do not have drinking water…
This reality damages the children’s health, puts their lives in danger and jeopardises their futures. Drinking water, sanitisation and hygiene are essential for children’s development and survival.
Drinking water for every child
Access to drinking water is a fundamental right for every child as stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Article 24. But the reality shows that this right is completely neglected with regard to the children in Kananga, especially for those living in the remotest areas.
We, Child Reporters, are asking the government to set up a policy that supports access to drinking water for all. Regideso must reorganise the way they operate and ensure a sufficient supply of energy. Water should flow from every tap in the city! Residents should also take note of the importance of paying their water bills as without these funds, Regideso will not be able to function properly.
We often say that humans need 1.5 litres of water a day but for the residents of Kasai-Central, this is just not possible. We are convinced that one day the slogan “WATER IS LIFE” will come true in Kasai-Central because we care about our lives.
More info about drinking water in DRC:
Kindly translated from French by Emily Scott