A Year Later: Ibubi Primary School

December, 2017

Comfort is so much grateful to the water project because it is through its initiative that she has grown as an individual. As the WASH president, the young girl has developed confidence over time.

A Year Later: Ibubi Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and latrines for Ibubi Primary School in Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Jacqueline Shigali, with you.

There has been an all-around improvement in the lives of this community as a result of the water tank and latrines built last year. Incidences of diarrheal diseases have lessened due to presence of water and increased number of latrines within the compound. The hygiene training was also helpful since cases of avertable ailments and infections have decreased. This led to reduced absenteeism which definitely brought improvement in performance. Relative peace is enjoyed by children as there is a great reduction in the number of times they are sent to the spring to get water, therefore the scramble for water and wrangles that could break out thereafter have reduced. This brings proper mental health that is needed for children to perform well in all areas.

Another point that stands out is the aspect of girl child empowerment that is being developed through the many water projects done in this county. We insist on gender balance when selecting participants for trainings and when electing the CTC (child-to-child) leadership. Comfort is a very good example of a girl that has been empowered through the WASH project as leadership gave her a platform to discover her potential and put it into practice. Many more girls are observing her and starting to believe in the power and ability in a girl child and women. Off course, boys and men are now seeing the ability and potential endowed in the female gender. This will wipe away discrimination in line of gender which has been highly pronounced in Vihiga County since time immemorial.

“Constant supply of water during rainy seasons is assured; therefore, pupils do not waste time on the queues at the spring to fetch water for use in school,” explains Justus Okwaro, the teacher in charge of water, sanitation and hygiene at Ibubi. “Utensils used by school children are now washed frequently, unlike the former days when children could just eat then keep their dirty plates inside classrooms and use them the following day with all dirt of the previous days.”

“Queues have also reduced at the new latrines, which means time wasted has now been redeemed,” he continued. “Cases of diarrheal diseases have reduced because latrines are washed daily during rainy seasons and hand washing is done properly after eating and using latrines. This has also saved money and time that used to be wasted when seeking treatment, which has been converted to productive work by parents and concentration on academic work by students. All these positive changes have led to improvement of performance in school and increase in production in the whole community.”

“Food is now cooked properly since there is enough water for boiling a mixture of maize and beans,” shares 12-year-old student Comfort Ihabi. “Initially, children could eat food that seemed raw since water set aside for cooking pupils’ food was so little and the cook could remove food from fire the moment water for boiling got finished. That had caused many cases of stomach problems which used to bring cases of absenteeism.”

Comfort is so much grateful to the water project because it is through its initiative that she has grown as an individual. As the WASH president, the young girl has developed confidence over time. “Nowadays I speak on the assembly, and also stand before club members and talk. I used to be very shy and fearful but right now I have to put on a bright face and enter the head teacher’s office or approach any other teacher to discuss issues concerning our club because I am the president. There comes a time when everyone is looking at me for answers and I have to boldly get a solution from teachers. I have hope that I will become a great lady in future because I believe I have the ability to do all things without fear or intimidation. I now believe in myself. I may be from a very poor background, but I have this very strong faith and a hope that cannot be shaken; that no matter where I come from, my dreams are still valid. Whatever challenge I face in life, nothing can ever discourage me because I will keep hope alive. This new me could not have come out if I had not been given this position that I currently hold. The Water Project and the supporters have helped me discover who I really am,” Comfort said.

Of course, time was taken to encourage Comfort to continue keeping hope alive. The field officers had quality time talking to her and guiding her on how to ensure that her rising star does not die. Guidance and counseling was done for a short time and she was asked to share the same with all club members who should in turn share with the rest the same way they did with WASH messages after the CTC training. We will continue checking in and monitoring regularly but it is evident that this school is very grateful for the support and changes brought by the water project last year.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

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