Day scholars attending Mumias Complex Primary School arrive around 6:30am every morning. Their peers who board overnight wake up as early as 5am to take a shower and brush their teeth in time for breakfast at 6:30am. By 7am, students need to be done with their cleaning chores like sweeping classrooms, dormitories, cleaning latrines, and picking trash up around the school compound. The teachers then have them line up to be checked for cleanliness. They check their nails, whether they've washed their uniforms, brushed teeth, and combed hair. Those with dirty bodies are taken to the bathing area and asked to wash up. These school bathrooms have soap, basins and buckets for cleaning.
There are morning classes and then an hour for lunch, when oldest students get to stay and enjoy school lunch. The younger students must return home to find food. There are afternoon classes, sports, clubs, and a study hall for the students who are preparing for their secondary school entry exam.
The school is connected to a tap supplied by Lake Victoria Water. It is extremely unreliable, with water flowing once a week for a day or two. For storage, the boarders have their own buckets and the school has some 100-liter barrels. These can be filled up when the tap is on.
But since the only source of water in this school is unreliable, the school has to find alternatives. Since the school borders Mumias Sugar Factory, they normally hire a factory's water boozer of 16,000 liters to bring them water. School administration uses what little money they have, paying around 19,200 per term just to access water. No matter how much money is spent, water is normally not safe for drinking. The boozer primarily fills up with water from the nearby river (which the factory lets waste into).
In 1984, the school was supported by the factory to put up a block of pour-to-flush latrines for boys and girls. A lack of steady water quickly led to poor hygiene standards, with pupils not having enough water to flush toilets. The school has recently been asked to increase the sanitation facilities and ensure a reliable supply of water, or be closed indefinitely.
"My name is Alusiola, and I am the Deputy Headteacher in this school. I've been a teacher in this school for the last 10 years. Accessing safe water has been a nightmare, as we spend a lot to access water. With primary education being free, there is little advocacy for water services - since those services might come with a fee. With our limited budget, other major school infrastructure needs take priority, leaving water as an ongoing issue. Using the flushing toilets without water is also a problem, and we have recently been given a notice by the Public Health Department to add toilets and also ensure a constant supply of water - or face closure. We will be glad if we can get partners to help us in this matter."
Here is what we plan to do about it:
There will be two days for teachers and students to meet at the school to learn about hygiene and sanitation practices. They will also attend sessions on the management and maintenance of their new rainwater catchment tank, latrines, and hand-washing stations. We will use all of our training topics to empower participants to invest their time in positive behaviors that promote health, prolong life, and enable them to become more self-reliant citizens.
The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.
The two hand-washing stations are 50-liter plastic barrels on metal stands, and each has a tap to conserve water. These are often delivered by hygiene and sanitation training so they can be used for demonstrations, but always arrive by a project’s completion.
The CTC club will be in charge of filling these stations with water, and will ensure that there is always a cleaning agent like soap or ash.
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will be set aside for each gender. And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean.
Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water from the spring for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff.
We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance for these little scholars!
This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.