A dream come true
"On Futuna, the water is not safe to drink. While there are still problems for the whole community to have access to safe drinking water, at least our children will be able to drink clean water at school and work under better conditions. For me, it's a dream come true," Telesia Sekeme, principal of Kolopelu School.
The 700 children on Futuna now have access to safe drinking water in their schools thanks to the installation of 24 atmospheric water generators. This system of drinking water fountains is an environmentally sound solution, because they take water vapour from the ambient air and filter it, without using any chemicals, to provide purified water. This green innovation has been used for the first time in schools in the European Pacific overseas countries and territories (OCTs).
Its success came about through SPC’s "PROTEGE" programme, collaboration between the various departments involved, and the financial support of the regional European Development Fund (EDF).
"Now all the schools have rules about using the fountains to ensure that everyone can have water on a daily basis (...) Our warmest thanks to everyone involved in this project!” Edmond Fanene, Director of the local Catholic Education Office on Futuna.
The limited production of each drinking water fountain indirectly allowed teachers to discuss a concrete example of the importance of conserving water with their pupils. [photo of the drinking water fountain with adults and children]
An inauguration ceremony was held at Kolopelu Primary School in the Kingdom of Alo on Monday, 24 August 2020, followed by a second one the next day at Fiua Junior Secondary in the Kingdom of Sigave. For Pacific populations, nearly half of whom still do not have access to clean drinking water, atmospheric water generators are a new technology appropriate for the islands that makes it possible to respond to climate-change-related health impacts.