Enhanced Water Supply & Sanitation Capacity:
Improving School Gardens and Food Security
Participants: 42,000 children, 120 schools
Funded by USAID with $1.9 M over 3 years;
The project is executed by Palms for Life Fund, Swaziland.
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Swaziland’s mountainous and arid regions are home to a population burdened by a high rate of poverty — around 69% of its people live on less than 60 US cents per day. The landlocked, South Africa-dependent country’s economy struggles, in part because about 70% of its population engages in subsistence agriculture. Floods, droughts, and basic agricultural technologies not only restrict economic growth, but make food security a challenge. Compounding the problem is the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS. 26 percent of the population aged between 15 and 49 years is HIV positive—the highest rate in the world. On average, Swazi born in 2007 could expect to live for only about 45 years. The impact of HIV/AIDS has been especially grim for Swazi children. Over 80,000 children in the country are orphans. A child heads 15% of households in the country. Widespread poverty, disease and agricultural instability place the Swazi in a highly vulnerable position.)
In 2010 Palms for Life embarked on a major new project in Swaziland thanks to funding by USAID. This project has become Palms for Life’s flagship activity in the last 3 years encompassing all of Palms for Life’s key focus areas of education, food, water and sanitation. The project works with 120 schools, and impacts 42,000 children and surrounding communities.
The project focuses on equipping schools with improved water supply (for drinking, hand-washing, and agricultural production) and enhancing sanitation facilities. It also creates sustainable school gardens to improve food security for children, their families and communities in Swaziland at large.
The project was launched in October 2010 and and will be completed at the end of May 2014. At present, all 120 schools have received improved water and sanitation systems. In many schools, gardens have been established and fruit trees have been planted. A total of 42,000 children have now access to improved water and sanitation in their schools in Swaziland. Furthermore, an important part of the project is to promote local micro-democracies by establishing management committees in charge of maintaining and assuring the sustainability of the school gardens and the infrastructure. Another innovative element of the project is to engage young graduate students in doing the field work. These young men and women gain a hands-on experience in their country and receive continuous training by the project staff.
Palms for Life Fund was formally established as a local NGO in Swaziland in 2011.
- Sustainably strengthen the water supply and food security systems for about 42,000 vulnerable school children and their families.
- Implement a comprehensive scaling up of water harvesting/storage structures and sanitation systems in 120 schools and establishes/rehabilitates new school gardens.
- Improve general water availability with a maximum capacity of 60,000 liters per school, consistency of supply, quality and access;
- Provide pupils with access to 8-10 improved latrines per school and safe drinking water.
- Improve the state of hygiene and overall health and nutrition in schools; and
- Provide a secure water supply for garden production and cooking needs.
- Establish productive, sustainable gardens of about 0.5 acres per school.
- Dissemination of best sustainable practices to pupils and surrounding communities with extensive education and training on water harvesting, garden management, and sanitation through upgraded training facilities and developing targeted programs.
- Pupils are taught agricultural skills, through the establishment of school gardens and the implementation of appropriate training programs, ensuring a much needed nutritional diversification and root crop component in school lunches and new water management skills that can be shared with the greater community.
- Better health, hygiene, quality of education and most critically, enhanced food security, though improved water collection, access, supply and sanitation in schools.
- Improved attendance in schools due to school transformation into an educational resource center for the community, using the Schools as Center of Care and Support strategy, extending benefits at household level and improved household health and hygiene.