The generations-changing impact of better education is well recognized globally. Rotary has acknowledged this impact in its Global Grants programmes. The improved education of girls is recognised as being especially important.
The importance of education is magnified in South Africa because of the unusually large importance of formal education in obtaining employment. Unemployment in South Africa is currently 27% of the labour force. A further 10% of the labour force are unemployed but have given up even looking for a job. They are therefore not officially counted as unemployed. Unemployment is 37% when these "discouraged workers are included.
South African secondary education finishes in Grade 12 with the writing of Matric exams. There are no other formal recognised qualifications for exiting secondary schooling at any other level. Obtaining a Matric certificate improves one's chances of finding a job somewhat. With Matric plus a tertiary qualification employment chances improve sharply. There is a dramatic improvement if one has Matric plus a University degree. Unemployment amongst South Africans with University degrees is only 6%. This is low even by global standards and is remarkable for a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
Grahamstown is in a drought-stricken part of the country. Even when there is sufficient water the Municipality battles to provide sufficient pressure to get water to high lying areas like where most township schools are located. It is common for water outages during the day in such areas, making it impossible to flush toilets which rapidly become unusable.
The project will provide on-site water storage and dispensing for school when public system fails (in drought months). With water, the schools can remain open with sanitation and water supply assured. Over 1000 students will have a more positive learning experience and better success on the Matric exam.