Gemeni Salvation Primary School is a quick ride from Senende Market. The school relocated last year after getting support from Hamisi Constituency Development Fund who bought the land for the school.
A normal day is spent doing classwork, fetching water used for cooking and mud-walling classrooms, and cleaning the school compound. The classrooms are walled with iron-sheets donated by parents and well-wishers and partitioned using papyrus mats.
The school cook prepares food in the open due to the school's inability to build a kitchen right now. The mud-walled office has wooden windows donated by the neighbor. This makeshift facility is divided into three to create the office for the headteacher, one for his deputy, and a very small staffroom that is also used as a bookstore.
Parents support the school by donating food, building poles, chairs, tables and even utensils. Some community members donated sufurias (metal pots) to be used to meals for teachers. The pupils have to go back home to eat lunch and rush back for afternoon lessons because the school cannot afford to prepare meals for them.
The majority of the people in this community live below poverty line and engage in casual labor, making about 150 KSH ($1.50) per day. This hard earned cash is made by picking 1,000 tea stems a day.
Crops grown around the school include tea, maize, beans, and yams on small plots of land.
Water and sanitation are still major challenges faced by the school.
The water collected by the pupils from a nearby spring is used immediately upon arrival. The school has no any storage facility, thus the water is either consumed at the kitchen or used for sprinkling on the dusty floor.
The quality of the water brought by pupils from the spring is highly compromised. Teachers fear using it for drinking. They advised their pupils to carry their drinking water from home to reduce the high incidence of diarrhea and stomachaches that result from the intake of the raw water from the spring.
Coughing is so rampant among pupils who drink the spring water. Pupils also suffer from dehydration after playing or during the middle of the school day, due to the lack of a water point at the school. That is not to mention the tiring 2km walk to Sabatia Spring.
This stress reduces their concentration during lesson time.
The school has only four simple pit latrines, two for each gender. The pit latrines are makeshift sanitation points with mud-walled structure and floor smeared with cow dung. Teachers and elementary school students share one latrine.
"The school and the community nearby are still predisposed to several waterborne diseases because of shortages of water, and inadequate hygiene and sanitation facilities," Head Teacher Amatsimi Ababu said.
"An incessant cough witnessed in the pupils is an indicator that the water available for use is unsafe and inadequate for use."
The interventions, through your support, will help the school to eliminate water and sanitation problems.
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
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 handwashing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two handwashing 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 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!