A school in Mondul Kiri reaped the benefits of community ownership when its school support committee raised funds for a freshwater tank, bringing running water to its students.
Before they enter their classrooms, the students at the Dak Dam primary school gather around their water station to wash their hands and fill up plastic buckets with water. The latter will be used to water the school’s fledgling garden and to flush the toilets.
That is a rather new sight as until very recently,this primary school in the north-eastern province of Mondul Kiri had next to no access to fresh water – the water station for students to wash their hands was largely unutilised, as were the toilets.
It is only this year that a freshwater tank was installed near the school building. This development, according to Son Mao, the school director and advisor to the local school support committee, was made possible only thanks to the committee members.
“When we decided to install a water tank, the school had no money or budget for it, so I called the school support committee and asked them to buy some wood and to hire a labourer who could install it,” the man recounts.It is because of trainings organised by CARE, according to Son Mao, that the committee members learnt how they should be supporting the school.
During these workshops, school support committee members learnt that they should participate in the management of the school, its construction and should help raise funds for this. “Through the training, the school support committee became more active and involved in the school management and raising funds for the school, especially for the water tank and the water station,” he explains.“Now there are even plans to start working on a reading house,” Mao, for whom education is of utmost importance, proclaims.
The teacher-turned-school director seems very proud of the commitment and the achievements of his support team, which helped make the school a better place for his pupils. “If the school doesn’t look clean, the children won't come to school, so it is important that it is clean and functional.
”His school is an example of the benefits of community members getting involved in the governance of their school and the impact this can have on children’s education in remote areas of Cambodia.
These activities are part of the School Governance project, which is supported by the Capacity Development Partnership Fund, a partnership between UNICEF, the European Union and SIDA.