The centrality of Water in Promoting NBS in Schools

When it comes to employing nature-based solutions to the environment, Water is a necessary element.  For Vegetative cover to grow and thrive there is a need to maintain the ground moisture in the soil.  Trees are made of approximately 50% water. Water in plants and holds them upright in order to maintain their shape and volume.  Water is also an essential element in the process of photosynthesis.

Learning environments are one of the places where children spend most of their time.  Vegetative cover in learning premises is an important element for the beautification of school campuses, but most importantly for maintaining a clean environment for the learners. Plants are key in purifying air which is essential for learners’ good health.  For the sustainability of such a clean and green environment, schools need sustainable water sources

 Maintaining school greenery continues to be a challenge in most schools in Malawi. This is due to the scarcity of water on their campuses. For the schools that have tap water, usage is restricted to only morning hours during cleaning and only during break times. Many schools have vandalized and dry water taps.  Many schools disconnected water lines because of accumulated unpaid bills. For the schools that have boreholes, it does not take long before the facility is vandalized. This is because surrounding communities also use the water source for their household usage. Some schools have completely no water facility. Learners are required to bring water in 5-liter buckets of bottles for cleaning their classrooms, and toilets and for watering their gardens and other vegetation on campus. This is however not sustainable since kids get easily fatigued and end up just bringing water for their drinking.

As an alternative to the scarcity of water, authorities in some primary schools  at times request    learners to draw water from nearby streams or rivers, however, this sometimes compromises the safety of learners since some men from surrounding communities take their baths or clean their business commodities like shoes, vegetables and Clothed at the river, and can take advantage of female learners

 For school campuses to maintain green cover, however, water availability is very central. Before schools are supported with trees, vegetables, grass, shrubs, and other plants, they must have secure and sustainable water sources that they will use to water the vegetation. Without water, vegetative cover on campuses will only thrive for the four months of the rainy seasons and dry up for the most part of the year.   

 Schools need to be innovative when it comes to conserving water. Schools must begin to use available school funds and other support they receive from Govt and other institutions in investing in rainwater harvesting for example.  By constructing a rainwater harvesting system, schools will be able to have the water needed for watering and cleaning throughout the year, without any huge costs attached to it, except for maintenance.  

Schools with broken water facilities must be supported with maintenance so that they are able to start running again and provide the needed water for watering vegetation on campus. 

Communities that also benefit from the usage of boreholes in schools must begin to contribute to the maintenance and take ownership of the facility. This way will promote careful usage of the water sources and therefore avoid vandalism.

We can therefore agree that, for schools to promote nature-based solutions to the environment, they need a constant supply of water.  Without water, all efforts to solve problems of nature using nature, i.e. Nature-based solutions to the environment will be in vain.

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