Green Cross International is helping communities across Africa and Latin America cope with scarcity of safe water and lack of sanitation through our flagship Smart Water for Green Schools project.
The project is a practical example of how Green Cross promotes peace and the fulfilment of basic Human Rights by providing water and advocacy for sharing this vital resource.
Smart Water for Green Schools supports people in realizing their right to safe-drinking water and sanitation, which was historically recognized as such in 2010 by the United Nations fo
llowing a decade of lobbying, including by Green Cross.
Through the project, Green Cross provides rainwater harvesting systems, wells and boreholes, to villages and towns in need. It is also providing more and more communities with sanitation facilities, including latrines, and educational content.
Smart Water for Green Schools was piloted in Ghana in 2010. Two years later, more than 20 communities in the West African country, homes to around 35,000 people, have had sustainable water systems installed thanks to this project. Plans for further expansion in Ghanaian villages were drawn up in 2011 for implementation the next year.
“Smart Water for Green Schools will go a long way in helping address the water situation in schools and communities in Ghana and around the world where GCI is present,” said Green Cross Ghana President Mubarick Masawudu.
In Kenya, Green Cross Sweden and Denmark are building Smart Water for Green School water systems in the country’s Rift Valley, the scene of inter-tribal violence in 2007-2008. The project, implemented by the Green Belt Movement, will provide rainwater harvesting tanks and improved sanitation to two local schools.
Our Green Cross chapter in Bolivia is also playing a key role in the project’s expansion into Latin America. In mid-2011, Green Cross Bolivia, working closely with GCI’s Water for Life and Peace Programme, began installing ecological latrines and rainwater harvesting projects in 16 small rural communities in the Santa Cruz department’s Vallegrande and Gutierrez areas, which are linked to the country’s Rio Grande and Yapacaní River Basins (part of the larger Amazon Basin). Some 400 pupils now enjoy sanitation and sustainable safe drinking water supplies at school as a result. Smart Water for Green Schools is set to expand into communities in Cordillera Province of Santa Cruz Department in 2012.
“We are very happy to have these tanks built, which will store water,” said Esperanza Garcia, from Vallegrande. “They are also building dry latrines, which are very good and we hope that there are enough for everyone. It is a very important step as water is needed for everything. It is needed for our homes, our hygiene. This will benefit us a lot.”
Bolivia has one of South America’s lowest water and sanitation coverage levels, as well as having low quality services. Other problems it faces are low access to water in rural areas, pollution and reduced quantity of water due to climate change.
In Argentina, Green Cross has been raising funds to establish a rainwater harvesting system at a school in Quimili, Santiago del Estero province, to ensure water is available during the dry season.
Green Cross works closely with local authorities in countries it operates to identify communities selected for support by Smart Water for Green Schools. Several of our national organizations, such as Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, are also involved in implementing and planning Smart Water for Green Schools projects in their countries. Other Green Cross National Organizations, such as Australia, Italy, France, Poland and Spain, have provided funding and educational materials to support the Smart Water project in Ghana.