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Safe Water in the DRC Means Girls Never Have to Miss School Again

May 26, 2022

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only 20 percent of the population has reliable access to safe drinking water. 

 

Until recently, Ester, 12, would walk two miles from her home in Kiziba to the shore of Lake Kivu and back carrying a heavy plastic jug full of untreated lake water, her family's daily household supply. 

 

"During the dry season, we used to go and fetch water from Lake Kivu at around 4 a.m.," she says. "When we went there to fetch water, we were always absent from school because we came back late."

 

A new water treatment plant installed by UNICEF and partners is a game changer for girls like Ester:

 

 

That all changed after UNICEF and its partners installed a new water treatment plant near Ester's home. Safe drinking water flows from the community taps, and girls who were missing out on an education can fill their family's water containers and still get to school on time.

 

"The water from the lake was not clean, because people wash their clothes there, too," says Ester. "Now we're not exposed to diseases because we have water in the neighborhood. Now, I draw water in the morning before I go to school."

 

UNICEF reaches tens of millions of children around the world with critical water, sanitation and hygiene services and supplies. Your contribution can make a difference. Please donate. 

 

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Read more about how UNICEF and partners are working to help children get an education in the DRC.

 

Top photo: The job of collecting her family's daily water supply falls to Ester, 12. Until recently, that meant walking four miles roundtrip from her home in Kiziba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to fetch untreated water from Lake Kivu every morning. She was often late to school. UNICEF and partners recently installed new water treatment plant in her community, so now her family has access to safe drinking water close to home. © UNICEF. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.