It's a full day for the 496 students who attend Kitumba Primary School. Pupils wake up at 5:30am to go to the river to fetch water that will be used by their families throughout the day. They do other house chores like washing utensils before brushing their teeth using a chewing stick and salt, then they wash their faces and feet, put on school uniforms, take breakfast if it's available and proceed to school by 6:30am.
At school, cleaning is done by collecting litter around the compound and bringing it to the garbage pit in time for morning assembly at 7:30am. There are morning classes with a break at 10:30am. This isn't much of a break though since the pupils are asked to rush to the spring to fetch water that will be used to prepare lunch for them. They go back to class at 11 am and learn up to 12:30 pm when they go for lunch.
They have afternoon classes until later in the afternoon when the students are once again sent to get water from the spring out in the community. When students get home, they help their parents prepare supper which will be ready at 8pm, and the pupils retire to bed at 9pm after a long day.
Students frequently leave class to get water because there's none on school grounds. The spring they frequent is located in the community and it takes 20 minutes to get there. They often have to wait their turn to fetch water because community members are there first. The yield at this spring is low. During the driest part of the year, it can take up to five minutes to fill a large container.
Since the current water source is situated far from the school, students waste a lot of time that could otherwise be used to study. The lack of water on school grounds also leads to pupils not cleaning their classrooms and latrines regularly, which results in them contracting diseases associated with dust and dirt.
"We don't have sufficient water for use in school," said Senior Teacher Amuyunzu.
"As a result, pupils have to waste a lot of time going to fetch water from the spring. The water is also not safe for drinking. As a result, the pupils and teachers contract diseases like cholera and typhoid. With the proposed construction of the tank you plan to do for us, these problems will be solved and I am sure that our children will access safe and clean drinking water which will be treated easily when in the tank."
What we can do:
The school compound does what they can to stay clean. They have a compost pit though it is not fenced. They also have a dish rack. They have improvised handwashing stations for both genders - even separate ones for teachers. The latrines need to be cleaned every day since they are very dirty, and they should also pour ash in the pit to keep away the bad smell. The water they use to clean is not clean itself, and it is not enough since they have to use the little water they have sparingly.
Training on good hygiene habits 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.
"The latrines are in a bad state and we have to queue for long to answer the call of nature and some children especially the ones below six years sometimes can't hold it anymore as they urinate on themselves as they wait for their turn," said 11-year-old Elisha.
There are more than 40 students per latrine door, and some of these latrine doors are off their hinges!
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!