In a city said to have the second finest water in the world, some public schools here have not access to safe water.
A report by GiftingLife said 63 out of 290 public elementary schools in the city, as identified by the Department of Education (DepEd), have critical need for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.
With this, the DepEd in coordination with GiftingLife and Force 21 will soon implement Safe Water for Children in schools in some identified pilot schools in the city.
“Why not we focus on the children, because as they grew, the demand for safe drinking water is very high for them,” Liezel Salera, GiftingLife lead organizer and assistant manager of community outreach and development.
The Safe Water for Children aims to provide inclusive access to clean and safe drinking water for children in all communities, especially those that are not service by city or municipal water-systems, through schools, barangays, health centers and other areas where children are garnered.
“There are actually areas in the city that do not have portable drinking water,” Salera said.
She said that some schools may not have installed the right pipes, no infrastructure to serve it or there are no source at all.
In an initial assessment conducted in six pilot schools, it was established that there is “observable turbidity in the water from tap or deep well (water looks rusty or cloudy)” and “that water from the tap is unclear or has risk of contamination that may led to diseases.”
“This problem is tangible, so the solution should be tangible also. The only thing to have safe drinking water is through the use of the equipment,” Salera said.
She added that through the help of the partner-stakeholders they are able to obtain World Health Organization (WHO) accredited equipment to help solve the problem on the safety of drinking water.
As this program aims to reduce incidence of diseases and deaths from contamination and waterborne diseases due to unsafe drinking water or water sources, GiftingLife is setting their goal to prevent children from acquiring waterborne diseases and increase the risk of deaths among them.
Salera said statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that water-borne infection is the 10th leading cause of infant deaths, and nine percent of the total population have no access to developed drinking water sources.
GiftingLife is a collaborative project to implement sustainable development solutions in less empowered communities and help improve over-all quality of life, and currently takes on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, or the access to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation.