Katalwa Primary School was started in 1966 by community members. It was later sponsored by a local church and has grown a lot. There are nine classrooms, a kitchen, latrines, and administration offices. There are also two 20,000-liter tanks adjacent to the classroom buildings. Enrollment is 249 students, who are taught by nine teachers. The school also employs two support staff.
The surrounding area is a peaceful, hilly rural area. Many of the students attend class in classrooms that are much more comfortable than their own homes. Homes in Katalwa are old and are missing windows.
Most students' parents are part of the Katalwa Jipe Moyo Self-Help Group, which works to address the severe water and food shortage in the area. They've seen how water scarcity has affected their children at school.
The school has two rainwater catchment tanks that can store a maximum of 40,000 liters. These are both functional. Unfortunately, 40,000 liters does not last the school through the dry season. There are taps fed by a local water pipeline, but this is shut off during the dry season too. During these months, students must carry water to school. Often, they find it by digging holes in the dry sandy riverbeds. Balancing a heavy container with books makes for a strenuous walk to school every morning.
This water is used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Cleaning takes the back-burner since drinking and cooking are essential.
Classrooms and latrines can't be cleaned on a daily basis because of strict water rationing.
"Our levels of hygiene are below average. We lag behind because we lack enough water, as well as the facilities to sustain handwashing in our school," Deputy Headteacher Simon Kamau admitted.
There are only four useable latrines; two for boys, one for girls, and one for teachers. As Mr. Kamau told us, there are no places to wash hands before returning to class.
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
Students and staff will be trained for one day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices both at school and at home. They will learn all of the steps to proper handwashing, how to treat water, and how to keep their environment clean. The school will also be taught how to best oversee and maintain their new rainwater catchment tank and handwashing stations.
Three handwashing stations will be delivered at the project’s completion. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with four taps. The health club and school management will be responsible for making sure tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is available.
Rainwater Catchment Tank
We will build a 104,000-liter rainwater catchment tank for this school. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff. Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, such as sand and stone. They will also lend some strong arms to help with the actual construction.
The huge capacity of this tank makes the others look tiny in comparison; 104,000 liters should be enough water to carry students and staff through the entire dry season. As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning!
This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.