A year ago, generous donors helped rehabilitate a well for Shipala Primary School in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to 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 with you.
What does it look like to unlock the potential of the students at Shipala Primary School? A big step in the right direction is making sure a lack of clean water isn’t keeping them out of the classroom. “I have enough time to read and do my studies since I no longer have to go around searching for water from the unprotected sources. Most of my health problems like stomach ache, typhoid and diarrhea have stopped troubling me. This is because of the rehabilitated project in our school.” These are the words of 15 year old student Lilian Adisa Ondeku. Wash officer Paul Weringa got to talk with Lilian when he visited the school recenly, checking on the condition of the well and seeing what changes a year of clean water have brought.
Paul noted that, in addition to improved student health and student performance, the rehabilitated well has helped the school in another way. “The availability of water in school has also enabled the school to stabilize their lunch program where the standard seven and eight eat lunch in school hence allowing them to have more time for studies.”
Hygiene and sanitation teacher Shivambo Joshua Fred shared that, since the new well is outside the school compound, it has also improved the relationship between the school and the surrounding community. “Sharing the same source has helped the community members to relate and associate themselves with the activities run in school. Only a few challenges were experienced during the last dry spell where the water level went down, causing scramble for water between the pupils and the community members.”
Mr. Fred’s comment about the dry season is a reality that we are facing in many locations of late. Through our regular monitoring visits to this site, we have learned that this well can experience a lower yield during during the long periods between Kenyan rainy seasons, sometimes lasting 2-4 months. Extreme, longer dry seasons are proving to be a challenge to all water points in this part of Kenya, and we are working out solutions with our teams. Paul and the rest of his team are talking with the school about how this well can be further developed into a reliable source all year long.
Challenges like this are why we are so committed to monitoring all of the water sources we install. The work is far from done, but with the support of our monthly donors, we are learning more every day! Read more about our program and how you can help.