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How a seesaw became a vital water source at school

Plan International has become the first organization in Pakistan to set up a working seesaw that pumps clean water for a girl's middle school in Vehari, Pakistan.

WASH
Innovative see-saw pump used for pumping clean water for girls

Plan International Pakistan has installed a first-of-its-kind seesaw in a school in Vehrai in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. This mechanical marvel can pump clean water through its up and down motion, avoiding the need for school girls to carry drinking water from their homes.  The seesaw can accommodate 15 children at a time.

Using the seesaw brings smiles and a sense of achievement as the schoolgirls see water rush through the pipes.

“I was astonished by such a community-led innovation and will not forget the smiling faces of my children when they first witnessed their achievement," says Ms. Samina, the school headmistress.

I will not forget the smiling faces of my children when they first witnessed their achievement

"We had no water facilities in our schools and it was against my will to ask girls to bring water from their houses. I am thankful to Plan International Pakistan for installing such a useful and entertaining see-saw pump in my school," she says.

Accessibility of water before and after the see-saw pump

Lack of sanitation and drinking facilities is a serious issue in schools in Punjab province, and in many other parts of Pakistan.

Due to inadequate water facilities at school, girls would be left without a choice but to travel to community places like public toilets and village water pumps to get drinking water and use a toilet.

Concerned for the safety and security of their children as they would travel to public places alone, parents would often hold their children back from going to school (especially in the rural areas).

We had no water facilities at school and it was against my will to ask girls to bring water from their homes

To ensure students did not miss out on their education and were able to have adequate facilities at school , Plan International Pakistan reached out to a primary school in Vehari, a rural area in Punjab, and installed a seesaw pump that provides clean drinking water and water for sanitation to 110 girls.

The pipes from the see-saw are linked with water storage tanks, providing enough water supply to the school.

The seesaw initiative demonstrates the vital role a local community can play in order to provide suitable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for their children. The potential for this product is immense and the design could benefit numerous communities in Pakistan and beyond. 

Learn more about Plan International's work in Pakistan.