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Chikowa Primary School

Having consulted the local education office and the staff at Chikowa primary school, AZAR UK established that the main priorities for support were a water supply for drinking and sanitation plus more classrooms.

 

In April 2019 AZAR UK commissioned drilling a borehole within the school grounds. We were successful and found water. A pump was fitted and the water supply was deemed to be fit for drinking. We were delighted. However, our joy was short-lived as unfortunately, in November that year the cable broke and the pump was lost down the hole. This was extremely disappointing as it meant we would have to start the whole process over again which would cost more money after a significant investment.

Then a local water expert suggested an alternative option. 1.5 Kilometres from the school there was another borehole with a solar pump which was providing ample water. The village owners agreed they would be happy for us to run a pipe from there to serve the school as well as the village.

So AZAR commissioned the laying of a pipe and the installation of a 5,000 litre water tank within the school grounds. This was significantly delayed because of the Covid pandemic, however, water was back up and running by December 2022.

In 2021 we learned that the local Education Office had provided funds to build two new toilet blocks. Unfortunately, they build the structure but do not provide flushing or hand washing facilities. Pupils normally use buckets filled from the water taps AZAR installed in 2022. By using our own funds, and thanks to a grant from The Drinking Water Association, AZAR was able to commission the installation of sanitation plumbing and hand washing basins for the first completed block. During our visit in 2023 we were able to see that these are fully operational and that the 2nd block promised had nearly been completed. We hope to provide the same water facilities for this new block in the very near future.

Having now resolved the water issue the next step was classrooms. In August 2019 a team of nine volunteers set off from the UK for Dodoma, Tanzania to help build a much-needed two-classroom block. This would now make eight classrooms in total and the plan was to later add a further two.

 

The team worked for eight days helping to complete the foundations and then bringing up the walls. It was hard work as the blocks are very heavy (around 22kgs each) but they made really good progress in the time. They worked with three 'fundis' (expert builders) along with many local volunteers (somedays up to 50) from the local community. After the AZAR UK team left the work continued and was completed a few weeks later.

It was great to meet the headteacher Andrew and his staff along with the, nearly 500, children. At assemblies the children would sing two or three songs including their national anthem and then we would respond with a couple of our own to which the children's response was extremely enthusiastic! 

The team also found time to take games lessons with all the different classes and lots of fun was had with the frisbees, football and tennis balls. 

In July 2021 AZAR commissioned another classroom block. This is a three-classroom sized structure which adds two classrooms and a much needed staffroom. The building has been held up due to a number of reasons. Heavy rains, local issues and waiting for a building inspector to approve the ongoing work. However, the building is currently having the final touches added and will hopefully be operational and in use by June 2023.