August, 2019: Bululwe Secondary School Project Complete!
A new rainwater catchment system was built! Bululwe Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support. Handwashing stations were installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene.
Rainwater Catchment Tank
Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was successful!
Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, women cooked meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work. Local men and women helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.
Moving stones with teamwork
The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a new rainwater catchment tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.
Then, we cleared the site: excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast by laying hardcore on level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.
Latrine foundation construction
Both the drawing pipe as well as the washout pipe were affixed as the foundation was laid. The wall was built with ferro-cement techniques through six layers. The inner wall was plastered while rough casting was done on the outer part. Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed.
Cementing the rain tank walls
Dome construction could begin after the superstructure had been given enough time to settle. The manhole cover was fitted, inlet pipes were connected to the roof gutters, inlet screens, ventilation pipes (breathers) and overflow pipes were all done to standard.
Once finished, the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Bululwe School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.
Cutting it close!
The celebration of the projects' completion was a great chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we’ve given, as well as remind them of our continued support as they develop.
Mr. Paul Boiyo, the Deputy Principal and Headteacher at Bululwe Secondary, was pleased to see the projects reach completion.
"I am so happy that the school has a new water point - no more queuing with the community members and the primary pupils at the borehole," he said.
"Our students will not waste their time going to the borehole again, they will just open the tap, fetch water, and run to class. Thank you so much, we are blessed to have you in Bululwe Secondary School."
Bululwe Secondary as we knew if before this project was a different place than the one that we are seeing today. It's not just that the school grounds have changed physically. The students, staff, and children's' parents are so happy about the great developments, there is a new energy in the school. This has triggered the surrounding schools to inquire more about similar projects for their school compounds - and don't worry, we're looking into it!
This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. All of these new latrines have cement floors that are easy to use and clean. And with a rainwater catchment tank, there should be enough water to keep them clean a the time.
Completed girls' latrines
Completed boys' latrines
The two handwashing stations were delivered to the school and handed over to the Child to Child (CTC) health club. These were placed outside of the boys’ and girls’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use.
CTC club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, and make sure there is always soap or ash available. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them.
Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal, Mrs. Leagh Onyango, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for students, staff, and parent representatives. Individual teachers helped by selecting students from each class to represent the others.
Anne Adelaide participates in training
The day of the training was good and sunny. After a long wait for the dry season to end, it had rained a day before the training. We could hear the birds singing and rejoicing because of the rains after a prolonged drought that had affected most parts of the country.
Only 12 students and staff attended due to some last-minute communications and because the students were on recess, planning for exams. Those who did attend, however, were very active and engaged. They asked questions one after another, making the small audience feel a lot bigger! Both students and staff were interested in learning more and more after every topic was introduced.
We held the training inside a classroom for comfort. A number of topics were covered, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health.
The new health club will be greatly involved in project management and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. Working as a team will help the children to do more than working individually.
Other training topics discussed ranged from one session on Leadership, Gender, and Governance to Child Rights and School Participation. During the discussion on project maintenance, the participants were happy to hear that they have the mandate of ensuring that the facilities are well cleaned and maintained. They promised to ensure that the tank is cleaned every term so that they will be able to access clean and safe water for drinking.
Made you laugh!
While discussing personal health and hygiene, we taught participants about personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, dental hygiene, and menstrual hygiene. The participants were encouraged to maintain hygiene throughout each day as personal cleanliness is supreme in its impacts on anything that one does, be it in food preparation, what we wear, or how we interact with the world around us.
It was in this session that the participants started shaking their heads in shock because they were not doing what is required to maintain their personal or environmental hygiene. They promised to later have a girls-to-girls and boys-to-boys session where they would educate themselves more on primary health care for each gender, and on the new ideas that the learned during the training.
Student Grace Makokha shared her impressions of training with great excitement and gratitude.
"We have learned what we have never heard, even from our own parents," she said.
"This training has been so helpful to us, [to] the school, but [even] more advantageous to us the students in our future lives. Thanks so much for educating us and making us more knowledgeable on what we used to ignore. We at the Bululwe Secondary will always pray for you!"
Thank you for making all of this possible!