Malinda Primary School, located in a quiet, hilly, and rural village, is surrounded by beautiful rock formations and trees. Despite the surrounding beauty, the 461 students and staff at the school face the difficult challenge of not having enough drinking water each day.
The community has a spring which is the current primary water source for the school. Students make the trek to collect water throughout the day, starting first thing in the morning, then again at break time, and at lunchtime to ensure the school has enough for the day.
Emmanuel K., an 11-year-old student, shared, "[I] am affected psychologically as a child because I always have a lot of questions in my mind on how I will balance my classwork and fetching water. The body sometimes becomes tired and weak, forcing me just to miss school because I need rest."
The spring is far away and often does not provide enough water due to low output. Pupils and community members who share it wait in long lines and sometimes quarrel because everyone wants to get water first. Inevitably, students are late and return to class tired. Sometimes, teachers also complain that students disappear to their homes along the way and do not return to school until the next day.
The spring has been protected in the past but is neglected and not maintained, leaving it open to contamination by people, animals, and runoff from the surrounding farmland and homesteads. As a result, even when enough water is collected, it is often dirty. Students and teachers suffer from typhoid and stomach aches, leading to missing school and expensive hospital visits.
There is a small rain tank at the school, but it does not provide nearly enough water (especially during the dry season) because of its small capacity and overuse.
Mrs. Beatrice Mulengeka, the Head Teacher, shared her concerns, "As a teacher, [I] am not comfortable seeing pupils not having access to enough clean water. Sometimes [I] am so sad, but I can't do anything because most of the pupils miss classes because they are fetching water or they are sick."
The school needs a well to have safe, clean, accessible water throughout the entire school day.
What We Can Do:
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, water from the well will then be used by the school's students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.
There is currently nowhere for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, let alone the water to do so.
The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure 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.
We will construct two triple-door latrine blocks using local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls and three doors will serve the boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and to clean. And with a borehole 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, and prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the borehole, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.
Our team of facilitators will use a variety of 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 at home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.
We and the school 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 will help unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.