Bumuyange Primary School is located in Senende, which is inhabited by the Tiriki Tribe. The Tiriki are very traditional. This is even seen in schools, where boys are never allowed to do domestic chores like clean the classrooms or fetch water from the spring.
There are 571 students taught by 15 teachers.
Fetching water is the responsibility of girls in this school. There is a small plastic water tank on school grounds, but that's really reserved for the early education students. When it comes to water for the older students, it is all up to the girls. Many of them reach school already tired out, for they are required to balance their school books with a jug of water.
This leads to poor academic performance among girls. The water carried from home each morning isn't enough either, so they waste valuable class time out finding the water their peers need.
The girls prefer to walk to a spring in the community. During the dry seasons, the community members usually crowd at the spring and keep the girls from fetching water. This forces the girls to opt for any other available water - like muddy roadside pools. They fear that they will be punished for returning to school with empty containers. All of the pupils end up getting sick, and stomachaches are constant complaints.
This area also is home to many snakes. On one fateful morning, as the girls were fetching water, a girl named Miriam was bitten by a snake and succumbed to the poison. The incident is still fresh in the minds of students and staff. This incident is what pushed the headteacher to pursue a water project.
We met with some of these girls during their one-hour lunch break. Some of them have to make lunch for themselves and their siblings and often run out of time to finish eating. The teachers end up teaching tired and hungry girls.
"Our students are not healthy because, during our board meetings, the headteacher never fails to express his concerns about increased absenteeism," shared Board Member Joseph Amukhonda.
What we can do:
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! Girls will have the opportunity they deserve.