The topography of Kapchorwa Community is unique. It is a hilly and rocky place. Children from this area never used to go to school due to the distance and topography of the area, which required walking through bushes, stones, and hills to get there from the village. Kapchorwa is a poor community, where people live from hand to mouth. Most community members stay in semi-permanent houses and maize planting is very common in this area, although they have small pieces of land due to the prevalence of stones.
Kapchorwa Primary School was started due to the long distance to get to the neighboring Kapsogoro and Musasa Primary Schools. It has grown from one to nine classes of students, today serving 501 students and 12 teachers and staff. Some of the school buildings are temporary, so cow dung is used to smear the floor; if this is not done regularly, the pupils might contract jiggers which are dangerous to their health. While there are some latrines at the school, there are not enough for the entire school population. There is rarely enough water to properly clean the latrines, and never enough for handwashing. Additionally, some of the latrines were built in front of the classrooms.
"They produce an odor which also affects learning," said Headteacher Amatsimbi Ababu.
The nearest water source for Kapchorwa Primary students is a poorly protected seasonal spring .75k away. There, the students compete with community members, including their own families and other nearby schools, for the same unreliable and unsafe water source. This means that the school children who depend on this source sometimes fail to get water to use in school for cleaning the classes, drinking, and cooking. The cycle of water scarcity follows the students home and the continues the next day at school.
"The lack of water in this school is really a big issue," said Mr. Ababu.
"Children have to fetch water from a nearby spring that is seasonal, and during the dry season it's normally congested, hence pupils really waste time when they go to draw water."
At such a young age the children cannot be safe when they are outside the school compound. These are children who are supposed to be in school and in a safe, child-friendly environment, but when they move outside the school in search for water anything can happen to them along the way, so they end up being at risk. Additionally, the pupils take so much time going to fetch water that it negatively impacts them since they waste time, become tired, and end up performing poorly. The rate of water flow from the spring also varies with the seasons, meaning it is an unreliable source since during dry seasons there is no water at all.
The new rainwater tank will strictly be open to the school - only the pupils, teachers, and staff will be able to access it. For now, the rest of the community will keep using the outside spring that they have been sharing with the school. This is because if the water tank is implemented in the school and again shared by the community, they will still have the same problem of water shortages since the school population is already high and is expected to grow annually. It is also good to have the boundary between the community and the school so that in case any damages occur to the rainwater tank, it would be easier to pinpoint who is responsible from within the school community.
Securing a new source for clean, safe drinking water will change the lives of Kapchorwa children, who because of poverty look so different from other children in neighboring schools. Education performance will improve since they won't be wasting time outside the school fetching water. Lastly, this is a growing school so once the project is implemented it will attract more numbers since every parent wishes for their children to be in a good school, especially one with clean and safe water.
What we can do:
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.
There is currently nowhere for students to wash hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch.
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 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!