At Nampongo Primary School in Likunyi village, Zambia, staff and pupils have to rely on a nearby dam for their water every day.

The water looks milky, and they know animals drink from the same place too.

The school, which has 427 pupils aged between five and 15 years old, has no clean water, and nowhere for students and teachers to wash their hands. Pupils are encouraged to bring a can of water them from home to help them survive the extreme hot weather.

Nampongo Primary School, Zambia.Nampongo Primary School, Likunyi village, Zambia.

There are also just three toilets for them to use. As a result, many pupils resort to going to nearby bushes to relieve themselves, which often makes them sick – and drastically affects their motivation to learn.

Girls find it especially difficult to cope without a safe, private place to go to the toilet when they hit puberty, with many dropping out of school completely.

Meet Petronella

10-year-old Petronella is a student at Nampongo Primary school.

Petronella, pupil at Nampongo Primary School, collects water from a dam near Likunyi village, Zambia. Petronella collects water from a nearby dam before school.

She’s just one of the pupils who have to carry an average of 20 litres of water in a container on their heads from the dam to the school, for drinking, cooking and handwashing.

The uphill journey is very difficult, and Petronella often gets tired, which affects her ability to learn. She also has pain in her neck from carrying the water.

"It is hard to lift and put a bucket full of water on your head," says Petronella. "Sometimes I have to ask someone for help."

A year for change

This year, everything will change for students like Petronella and the staff at Nampongo Primary School.

Thanks to the amazing support of schools like yours, we’ll be working with our local partner to build a new toilet block and borehole at the school – transforming daily life at Nampongo.

Bring WaterAid's work to life at your school with our Speaker Network >