Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is an important part of any school’s curriculum. Lack of WASH training and clean and maintained facilities poses health and environmental risks for students and communities. This universal issue can contribute to absenteeism, particularly for students in countries such as South Africa, where school girls are also responsible for taking care of siblings that fall ill.  

At this outset, in South Africa, through the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s RAIN Water for Schools project, The Coca-Cola Company and its partners are working to address these needs with WASH and HIV/AIDS training that is tailored to the needs of each school. 

To date, in partnership with WETCON Consulting and USAID, the program has conducted WASH and HIV/AIDS training in 45 schools across four provinces in South Africa, reaching 40,000 students. Educational materials also have been donated to the Department of Basic Education to be incorporated into the curriculum.

Tidimalong Primary School is one of those schools where the training was given. In a letter expressing their thoughts to The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation regarding the project, the chairperson, WASH Manager and secretariat of the school jointly stated: "We would like to thank you very much for choosing our school for your project and the training/workshop that we underwent and received. The training was very good and well presented. We learned a lot. We will ensure that the training we received is implemented by rolling it out to the rest of the staff and learners.”

Learners with WASH posters and Books - Rakgotso High School, Gauteng Province (Training Date: 17-18/05/2017)
Learners at Rakgotso High School received training on when hands should be washed and the correct handwashing procedure. Seven posters covering the identified learning outcomes were developed as part of the curriculum.

The principal of Namo Primary School in Gauteng Province M.D. Mesolo, added, “We really appreciate the information shared with us and the knowledge we have gained and acquired. We are now Wise, Aware, Safe and Healthy.”

In Modilati Secondary School, a letter from the School Principal Mpofu S.M. stated, “The office of the principal and staff would like to thank all the parties involved from the bottom of our hearts for making the WASH program a success. The program was very educational, as it created a conducive atmosphere of learning within the school management, educators and professional support staff. It served as an eye-opener to the things we didn’t know.”

The trainings are part of a larger program; The Coca-Cola Company’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Project, RAIN Water for Schools (RWS), a partnership among the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE), The Mvula Trust, Re-Solve Consulting, H2O for Life, Singatha Afrika, Coca-Cola’s four South African bottlers, and most recently, WETCON Consulting.

With the RAIN Water for Schools project, Coca-Cola and its partners are working to address issues of adequate access to safe drinking water through the construction/rehabilitation of infrastructure and providing school-specific sustainability plans for monitoring and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure.

RAIN Water for Schools will provide water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in 100 schools across South Africa benefiting approximately 50,000 students by August 30.