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Every child should have safe drinking water

In rural Fiji, schools are faced with a serious problem, they don’t have sufficient clean and safe water available for the children. As part of the Water for Women project Habitat for Humanity Fiji has installed First Flush Devices in 10 schools. The First Flush Device is a simple design that can improve the quality of drinking water collected by rainwater harvesting. It is used to divert the first flush of water when it starts to rain, washing away any dirt and debris from rooftops, gutters and downpipes, before filling a water tank. This reduces the risk of children drinking contaminated water.  

Timoci is the Rainwater Harvesting Coordinator for the Yasawa Islands at Vinaka Fiji, one of Habitat’s local partners. Timoci and his brother Bill have been working with community volunteers installing First Flush Devices in homes and schools across the Yasawa islands since 2013. 

Makareta delivering a speech at her school

As part of this project, the first flush devices have now been installed in 10 schools in Fiji. The devices have been installed onto existing rainwater tanks or as part of new rainwater harvesting systems. The purpose of the devices is to ensure that the water captured in the tanks is clean. This is important for providing clean drinking water for the children whilst at school which reduces the risk of water-bourne disease.  

The first flush device and water tank

Makareta, a teacher at the same school she attended as a child, shares the importance of water for children and the work that Habitat has done in providing water for the children at her school. Makareta shares: “When I was in primary school at this school, we didn’t have clean water. We had to get clean water from the village. We only had two concrete water tanks at our school and looking back now, the water which was not safe for drinking water for children. I want to say thank you Habitat for helping us rebuild this school with the greatest gift – water.” 

Timoci and his brother Bill will continue to install and build First Flush devices to provide clean drinking water to more communities in need.

The Water for Women Project Fiji receives support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Find out more about the development approach and work overseas here.