Most community members in this area engage in small-scale farming of maize, vegetables, and sugar cane. Some have small businesses such as kiosks that provide the community needed goods or do casual labor.
Since this area runs along the Nandi Escarpment, it is a bit rocky but vegetative. There is a unique blending of people in this region, so most community members speak two Bantu languages, Luhya and Nandi.
Munanga Primary School began as a community school in 2006. In 2007, it became a government school and received its first headteacher. The classrooms were made of mud until 2011 when donated funds from Europe helped construct permanent classrooms. In 2013, the Kakamega County government added three permanent classrooms, and the school took its first national exams.
Currently, the main source of water for the school is surface water from a nearby stream which is seasonal and open to contamination. Access is challenging because it is on privately owned land, and the owner often chases pupils away. In 2013, there were reported cholera cases, but without alternative sources of water, they were forced to continue using it.
When the water from the stream dries up due to seasonal changes, students carry water from home. This wastes a lot of time and energy. Instead of students reporting early to school, they spend the early morning fetching water. Water challenges make these nearly one thousand pupils lag in academic performance and hygiene.
"I feel bored when I am told to carry water from home to school. It is time-wasting. But if we get this project, we will be able to save time and use water for cooking lunch here, handwashing, and any other hygiene-related activities," said Thomas, 14 years old student.
This area desperately needs a clean, safe water solution to serve the students, school staff, and community members.
What We Can Do: A New Well
We conducted a hydrogeological survey at this school, and the results indicated the water table beneath it is an ideal candidate for a borehole well. Due to a borehole well's unique ability to tap into a safe, year-round water column, it will be poised to serve all of the water needs for this school's large population, even through the dry months.
The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. They will also provide housing and meals for the work team, in addition to providing local laborers. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans and drilling professionals, tools, hardware, and the hand-pump. Once finished, the school’s students and staff will use water from the well and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.
The school and we strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will help lead to better student academic performance and unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.
The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide and ensure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.
Two triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls, and three doors will serve the boys. These new latrines will have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.
Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More
We will hold a one-day intensive training session with students, teachers, and parents. This training will cover a wide range of topics, including COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.
Our team of facilitators will use various methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and promote good hygiene practices within the school, including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.