Water shortage makes life difficult at Kongola school

19 Oct 2013 09:50am
KONGOLA, 19 OCT (NAMPA) - The lack of water at the Kongola Combined School in western Zambezi Region is said to make teaching and learning difficult since the water pump which is shared with the community, stopped working three weeks ago.
The Kongola School consists of 24 teachers and over 600 learners, and is situated some 110 km west of Katima Mulilo in the Kongola Constituency.
The school does not have its own water source and relies on the community water pump which draws water from a borehole, and which caters for over a thousand people including their livestock in the area.
The Kongola Combined School Principal, Progress Pokolo told this reporter upon his visit to the school on Friday that some learners often walk up to one kilometre to and from the community borehole to drink water.
Learners and teachers are said to competing for water at the manual borehole, and some wait for about an hour in queues to fill up their buckets with water.
Pokolo said the Zambezi regional education directorate has since last week started providing them with 10 000 litres of water at the school, but the water is still not enough for the school’s population.
Some water is used to cook porridge which forms part of the government’s school-feeding programme for the learners.
Close to halve of the learners are orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and rely on that porridge, which at times does not come because of no water.
The lack of water supply has resulted in learners not showing up for lessons.
Pokola said he recommended to the regional education office for them to rehabilitate another borehole in the area, located about 1 000 metres from the school which dried up some eight years ago, but that request has reportedly been turned down as it is apparently expensive to rehabilitate a borehole.
“Water is not enough at the school and we wait for hours to fill up our buckets at the community boreholes,” the principal said.
He claimed their problem is as result of financial constraints.
Some villagers in the area said the community water pump’s engine which pumps water from the Kwando River next to the Kongola police checkpoint is not reliable, as it’s old and constantly stops working.
This has resulted in teachers making monthly financial contributions of N.dollars 20 each to cover the costs of diesel for the water pump and fixing it when it is broken.
Efforts to obtain comment from the Sibbinda Circuit inspector under which the school falls, John Mwilima, proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered the entire morning.
The Zambezi Region’s Education Director Austin Samupwa could also not be reached for comment on Friday.