This project is part of Bridge Water Project's program in Western Kenya. What follows is direct from them:
The proposed Emahungu primary school is a local school, which seems to be forgotten by everyone including the government. The school is located 20 km away from Kakamega town and was started in1987 as an Early Child Development Centre (E.C.D) sponsored by the PEFA church.
Because of the poor condition of the school, the environment is challenging for the young, bright boys and girls who have a vision of becoming great members of society.
CURRENT WATER SOURCE
There are no safe water points close to the school. Located in each classroom, are small containers that every pupil is assigned to either carry water from home or go long distances searching water from far rivers, which are not safe for human consumption.
Talking to some pupils about the situation, they expressed their fate of how they are forced to walk long distances searching for water regardless of its quality or quantity. On one occasion, the pupils reported that one of them was forced to fetch contaminated water with urine on her way to school since she had no option but to arrive with water in school.
There have been many efforts and requests for help by the head teacher to improve the water and hygiene situation in Emahungu, but most efforts have been in vain. “I have approached many offices and agencies that can help the school overcome this problem but none has ever promised to help”, said Mr. Erick Otwombe. In addition, he said that his teachers are busy looking for transfers to other schools because life in his school has become a challenge.
The school population is as follows:
- Pupils 630 pupils: 346 girls and 286 boys.
- ECD pupils 90: 48 boys and 42 girls
- Special unit 15: 10 boys and 5 girls
- Teachers 20
- Support staff 3
- Community 30 households (approx. 5 members per household)
(Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
HYGIENE AND SANITATION
Due to lack of water, the schools hygiene and sanitation is poor. No hand washing stations were present and from information from interviews hand washing is not practiced by the teachers or pupils. Many of the pupils have been affected with jiggers, which come as a result of dirty classroom floors and unwashed latrines. It’s very sad to note that Emahungu primary school is a school that still has dusty floors that are smeared with cow dung hence leading to attack of jiggers. Pupils who are more at risk for jiggers are the many pupils whose parents cannot afford shoes to prevent jiggers. According to the senior teacher of this school, the jigger issue has spread widely back to the community affecting parents who cannot afford the treatment.
The school has 5 latrines, which are serving 630 pupils. The latrines are almost full and one block is already fallen down. This has even worsened the situation since young pupils who are afraid of going to the latrines are now defecating in the sugarcane plantation that is close to the school compound. Some pupils also defecate on the latrine floors, which are not washed due to lack of enough water.
Although not very strong, a water committee is already in place in Emahungu and it will be strengthened during sanitation and hygiene workshops given by Bridge Water Project prior to the implementation of the project. The water committee will comprise of the, teachers on staff and community members. BWP will also teach the water committee how to make simple technology tippy tap hand washing stations so that proper hygiene can be improved in this school.
Bridge Water Committee also recognizes that there is an inadequate amount of latrines for the population of the school and hopes to return to this community in the near future to assist in latrine funding and building.