Amanzi Yimpilo

Amanzi Yimpilo is a city-wide school initiative to bring clean water to drought-stricken Makhanda. The project was driven by a local ECD Forum that noticed a severe problem occurring in their schools and decided to be proactive, using their own knowledge and resources. Using the idea of a Stokvel the group of ECD practitioners set about resourcing their own schools. Since it's inception in early 2019 it has grown tremendously and now involves many city stakeholders.

What skills and resources were you able to draw from the community for this project?

As the Grahamstown ECD Forum we decided to collect R200 from each school so that we could install a water tank in the ECD Forum schools. When we sat for the next meeting, we realized it would take us two years to achieve our goal if we did it this way and so we decided to make a proposal to the Director of Community Engagement at Rhodes University (somebody in our social network). She took the proposal forward to GBS Mutual Bank, a local bank. They responded positively and since then we've been installing tanks at our schools.

The challenges

Children in our schools were ill, caused by dirty water. The children had rashes and runny stomachs and so they didn't come regularly to school. At one point we almost had to close schools because of the drought.

Addressing the challenges

The Amanzi Yimpilo project initially set out to install one tank at the 15 ECD centers on the ECD Forum. They achieved that goal and have consequently been able to install more tanks in some schools and able to assist other local schools without tanks. The project has received further funding to continue their work into 2020. They will be forming partnerships with primary and high schools and hope to engage the municipality going forward.

The achievements

- We've installed tanks at 17 pre-schools. - ECD practitioners have been taught and capacitated to test their own water using locally designed water testing kits. - Approximately 1000 children have had reliable access to water due to the tanks. - ECD Centers have been valued as community resources because they have opened up their spaces and shared the water. - Project leaders have been exposed to public speaking opportunities and have established themselves as respected community leaders.