At 6:50am precisely, all pupils of Shamalago Primary School must be within the school compound or else punishment awaits them. They must begin by cleaning their classrooms and sweeping the staff offices together, and then go outside to clean the pit latrines and pick up litter around the school compound. There's a morning study hall next, and then morning assembly when the teacher on duty makes announcements. Students go back home to find lunch after their morning classes, and must be back to school by 1:30pm.
The afternoon is for discussion class, and then there are different clubs that meet for an hour. Each students is required to pick a club or game to participate in. But unfortunately, the water situation often interrupts the afternoon schedule. Students must leave class in shifts to go fetch water.
There are 662 students enrolled at Shamalago Primary School. Most are students who either live with their grandparents or a single parent. Teachers have sacrificed a lot to help these children, even of their own money as they purchase learning supplies for their classrooms. (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.)
There's a 10,000-liter plastic tank that collects rainwater, but it would need daily rain to adequately serve the school. Since there often isn't enough water on school grounds, students need to leave school in the afternoon to find more. They go out to sources in the community, particularly a protected spring. It should take them 30 minutes for a roundtrip, but it often takes much longer. When villagers are already waiting, children are asked to wait in the back of the line.
Not having enough water has caused the school to skimp on water uses that they see as less necessary. Drinking is most important, but water is used less and less for personal and environmental hygiene.
Moreover, the school is afraid that the water students fetch from the spring is unsafe for drinking by the time they return. Students are often sick with stomachache and diarrhea and miss school to recover. The spring is protected, so this is probably due to the long trip back along a dusty road with open containers.
There are three pit latrines used by the boys, but we're concerned that they may collapse at any time. The walls are cracking and the floors are unstable. The girls' latrines are extremely overused, and thus filthy and smelly.
There is a hand-washing station, but not enough water to fill it. Garbage is thrown on the ground behind classrooms.
Teacher Martin Mseve said, "We have suffered for so long, and when we heard from Bumuyange Secondary School that you help schools get water and sanitation facilities, we could not wait. That is why we had to look for you. I'm afraid if we continue living in such an unhealthy environment we may even lose some of our children. Please help us get out of these poor health conditions."
Here’s what we plan to do about it:
You make this possible. Thank You for joining us in providing clean water, sanitation facilities, and important health information for these students and teachers.
Training will be held for two days. 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.
This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as hand-washing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls while the other three serve the boys. 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 for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer have to ration water and make frequent trips into the community.
We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance!
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.