Speaking notes of the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, during the announcement of the Rain Water for Schools project, Parktown
10 Sep 2010
Our corporate partners
Ladies and gentlemen
I am very excited about this project.
Providing sustainable water and sanitation services to schools goes a long way in tackling hurdles on our way to delivering quality education and a better life for all our people.
The Water Science for Schools website of the United States Geological Survey is correct when it says: "Look at water; you might think it's the simplest thing around. But it's not at all simple and plain and it is vital for all life on earth. Where there is water there is life, and where water is scarce, life has to struggle or just throw in the towel".
Shortage of safe water is a crisis facing our people particularly in rural and poor communities, in this country, on the African continent, and in other parts of the world.
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has brought home to the world the importance of water and sanitation: "Safe water and adequate sanitation are as important to quality education as pencils, books and teachers. Safe water and adequate sanitation are crucial for girls to take their rightful place in the classroom".
For these reasons, Rain Water for Schools has indeed moved us a step forward in creating a better life for all our people, particularly the poorest of the poor. It has helped us further to open the doors of learning and culture.
As you would know, the main objective of this programme is to assist the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in the provision of water and sanitation to 100 schools across the country.
This initiative is a product of our department's collaboration with business partners to enable a comprehensive water access, sanitation and hygiene education intervention in our schools.
I am tempted to say this programme adds to the important achievements linked to the exceptional manner in which we hosted the prestigious 2010 FIFA World Cup, on African soil.
As you know, Rain Water for Schools is also a component of Coca-Cola's legacy programme for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For me, it is also important to note that this programme is also a part of the Coca-Cola Company's Replenish Africa initiative which aims to bring clean water to Africa to cover over two million people by 2025.
This goes a long way in advancing global development goals particularly when we note that water, the environment and sanitation are also children's issues, as UNICEF has correctly pointed out.
We know that globally "over a billion people do not have access to safe water and [around] 2.6 billion people do not have adequate sanitation" (http://www.unicef.org/education/index).
This initiative is therefore significant to us. Accordingly, we are grateful to both Coca-Cola and H20 for life for helping us make this programme a success. We thank all of you for the commendable corporate social responsibility you have demonstrated.
I am fascinated also by the level of creativity with which this initiative was mooted and duly supported.
It is thrilling to know that for every goal celebration during the tournament, Coca Cola donated funds to support water access, sanitation and hygiene education. It is a blessing that 145 goals were scored, leading to a total of R2.2 million from the campaign. We will do our part through our infrastructure delivery programmes to ensure the success of Rain Water for Schools.
The programme will focus mainly on:
- installation or rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities in needy schools
- the building of institutional capacity for the operation and maintenance of these facilities through education, manuals and schedules of responsibility to ensure that the programme is sustainable
- the provision of health and hygiene education to learners through lessons, demonstrations, workshops, drama production competitions, among others; and
- ongoing monitoring and evaluation and eventual handover to school governing bodies.
Lastly, this project goes to show the endless possibilities before us for creating a winning nation united by a vision of building a just and caring society, a prosperous democratic society based on non-racism and non-sexism.
Rain Water for Schools is an excellent model from which other companies should take a leaf. I have no doubt that working together in public private partnerships we can do more to build better schools, a better Africa and a better world. For the sake of our children and generations to come, "we shall not throw in the towel".
I thank you.
Source: Department of Education
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
10 Sep 2010
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