The story has many needs, but water is first

Contributed by Ayatam Simeneh, Partner Support Manager, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

India Partner Support Coordinator, Dipika Banerjee and myself visiting Nehru Vidyatan Primary School

In September, I travelled to Splash’s office in Kolkata, India to be part of the Program Quality Summit with Splash staff from the U.S., Nepal, India, and Ethiopia.

The purpose of the Summit was to connect colleagues from across the globe, align around the importance of data quality and standardized methods for collecting and using data to improve Splash’s programs, and to create program quality champions within each country office.

As part of the summit, we each had the opportunity to visit Splash schools across Kolkata to see what is different from and similar to our own programmatic contexts.

Working in Addis Ababa government schools, every day I encounter school children that fill my heart with hope. The same was true in humid, hot Kolkata, where temperatures reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). Schools in Kolkata, like Addis, have many needs, including water.

Among the four schools I visited, Jagabandhu Primary School was conducting a soap drive event where every student in the school brought one bar of soap to supply the school for one year. One by one, hundreds of students placed their soap in a bucket, while the other students watched.

At Nehru Vidyatan Primary School, students ages five and six welcomed me and my colleagues, singing songs about hygiene, cheering us with enthusiasm, and giving us the best of what they had. Here, classrooms are small, and the neighborhoods are crowded and lack sufficient infrastructure, but, thanks to Splash, there are water and handwashing stations at these schools.

These kids are born to thrive and deserve everything that all kids need. Amidst this landscape, there is bright hope and it’s joyous to see that we “Splashers” are bringing clean water and smiles to these beautiful kids.

Clean water, clean hands, clean toilets, and menstrual health support for kids in urban poverty — co-developed with local governments.