Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

We all need water

Year level: 3-4

Issue: Water and sanitation

Country: Niger

Case studies: Wells and pumps in Niger

Students investigate the importance of water for survival. They learn about difficulties that many people in developing countries face in obtaining water and explore how and why access to clean water and adequate sanitation makes a huge difference to people’s lives.

In Niger, villagers queue to use the new pump.

In Niger, villagers queue to use the new pump. Photo from World Vision Australia

Interdependence and globalisation, Social justice and human rights

Australian curriculum links

Learning areas


Year 3

Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to evaluate texts by drawing on a growing knowledge of context, text structures and language features (ACELY1680)

Year 4

Interpret ideas and information in spoken texts and listen for key points in order to carry out tasks and use information to share and extend ideas and information (ACELY1687)


Year 3

Measure, order and compare objects using familiar metric units of length, mass and capacity (ACMMG061)

Year 4

Use simple scales, legends and directions to interpret information contained in basic maps (ACMMG090) 


Year 3

The similarities and differences in individuals’ and groups’ feelings and perceptions about places, and how they influence views about the protection of these places (ACHGK018)

Year 4

The natural resources provided by the environment, and different views on how they could be used sustainably (ACHGK024)

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical behavior
  • Intercultural understanding

Cross-curriculum priorities

  • Sustainability


Activity 1: Carrying water

Students explore a variety of ways that water is collected where there is no infrastructure to deliver it to people’s homes.


  • 1 litre container
  • bucket.

a list of the ways you and your family use water.

Discuss which uses of water are essential for survival and health – for example, clean water to drink; water for our own cleanliness, including handwashing after going to the toilet.

Draw a diagram showing how water gets to you.

Examine a one-litre container. List the things you could do with this amount of water.

Estimate and time how long it takes to fill a bucket with water using the container filled from a tap.

Try carrying the bucket 100 metres.

Calculate how long it would take to carry the bucket 1 kilometre. 

Examine photos of people collecting water.

Describe what is happening in a photograph. (Small groups could look at different images.)

Create some labels or captions to accompany the electronic images.

Write some questions to find out more about the photograph.

Try carrying a bucket of water around the playground in each of the ways shown in the photos.

Order the photos showing the easiest to hardest way of carrying water.


  • Why would people have to carry water?
  • Whose job does it appear to be from these photos?
  • How would health be affected by carrying water every day?
  • How much time might carrying water take each day?
  • What might spending time carrying water stop a person doing?

Design a way of carrying water easily.

Describe how water is collected and carried in places where it is not piped to people's homes using a short story, role-play or map. Include an observation about how you might manage water use better if you had to carry it a long distance.

Activity 2: Collecting water

Students examine technology used to assist in making the collection of water easier and safer in Niger.

Locate Niger on a map. Draw a map of the continent of Africa. Mark Niger and its neighbouring countries, as well as the equator, on your map. Why do you think Niger is a hot, dry country?

Read Wells and pumps in Niger.

Examine the photos.

  • How are people getting their water?
  • How can you tell that the country is very dry?
  • Who are the people getting the water (men, women, boys, girls)?
  • How are the wells protected from animals?

Write your own comments and questions about what is happening in one of the photos. Share your ideas with the class, and then add any further ideas to your comments.

Create a PMI chart for each of the containers shown for carrying water: waskis, plastic buckets, metal bowls, clay pots.

Try making a flexible kind of bucket like the one shown in the second photo. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of using a container like this instead of a plastic bucket? Add your answer to the PMI chart.

Investigate the temperature of water in an open metal dish and in a closed clay pot.

  • Why are the temperatures different?
  • Add your findings to your PMI chart.

List the ways people protect well water and make the job of drawing the water from a well easier.

Imagine you live in a village that has a new water pump. Write a story or draw a diagram contrasting the old way of getting water with the new way.

Activity 3: Water and sanitation for life

Students deepen their understanding of how and why access to clean water and adequate sanitation makes a huge difference to people’s lives.


  • A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World, Amanda Rayner (ed) 2006, produced in association with UNICEF, Dorling Kindersley, London.
  • A3 paper and drawing materials.

and discuss the ‘Watery tales’ double-page spread in A Life Like Mine.

  • What do you learn from the information and pictures?
  • What does this make you think about?
  • Share any questions you might have.

Imagine living in a village where people used to have to collect and carry water from a stream, but now a pump brings water to the centre of the village. Predict some differences the pump might make to people’s lives.

Read the case study of Nou in A Life Like Mine.

Compare the information about Nou and her village with your predictions.

Draw or write descriptions of Nou’s life, using a sheet of A3 paper folded in half. On one side of the fold, record your ideas about her life before the village had a pump. On the other side of the fold, record your ideas about her life after the pump was installed.

Share your responses.

Identify information about Nou’s village that highlights improvements in health and hygiene – for example, safe water to drink has stopped people getting sick, and the village has a new toilet.

Create a poster or multimedia presentation about staying healthy, highlighting the importance of water and sanitation.

Related activities

See the following related activities in the Water and sanitation, Human rights and Health teaching activities, and adapt them as appropriate.

Water and sanitation

Access to safe water and sanitation (upper primary)

Activity 4: Cleaning muddy water

Students make a simple sand and gravel filter to clean muddy water and make it suitable for washing (not drinking).

Activity 5: Water safe to drink

Students compare two methods of making water safe to drink: using alum and boiling; and boiling and distilling.

Human rights

Respecting and protecting human rights (middle primary)

Activity 3: Rights for all

Students develop an understanding that basic needs, fairness and safety are not only children’s rights but also human rights. 


Staying healthy (upper primary)

Activity 3: Oral rehydration solution

Students investigate why diarrhoeal diseases cause many deaths each year, with young children particularly at risk. They learn how oral rehydration therapy, which uses a simple solution of sugar and salt, helps overcome dehydration and possible death from diarrhoea. 

Activity 4: Handwashing for hygiene

Students learn about the importance of handwashing to avoid the spread of disease and explore the technology and health benefits of a Tippy-tap, a simple device designed to encourage handwashing in areas with limited water supplies.

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In Niger, villagers queue to use the new pump.
Photo from World Vision Australia
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In Niger, villagers queue to use the new pump. Photo from World Vision Australia