Tambua Village is full of crops on small pieces of land. It is quiet throughout the day, and little noise is heard from Gimariani Secondary School even in the evenings when students are out playing games. There are just 224 students attending Gimariani Secondary School who are taught by 11 teachers and supported by 9 staff. They learn Kiswahili, English, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, history and government, agriculture, mathematics, religion, music, and life skills.
A day at this school starts at 6:30 am and goes until 4:30 pm during which students attend lessons, have short breaks, go to the river to collect water, play games, and take part in extracurricular clubs. Walking to the river to collect water should not be a part of the regular program, but students have no other choice. The school administration purchased a small black tank that can collect up to 1,000 liters of rainwater, but this is nowhere near enough and lasts very little time when it doesn't rain.
In fact, the tank was dry during our visit.
Much time is wasted going to the spring to fill containers. It's not too long of a walk from school property, but the spring itself is in bad condition. The yield is low and it takes a long time to finish fetching water. We counted seven minutes before a 20-liter jerrycan was full. When students return to school with their filled containers they dump them in a 70-liter barrel in the kitchen that's meant for drinking water. But students say there's nowhere enough water for them to drink, which causes them to get thirsty especially during the afternoon classes.
The principal also says that he thinks many of the students are absent because of the dirty water they drink. Teacher Lwanga Charlly added, "I can say lack of enough safe drinking water has caused us a lot of trouble and it has hindered our progress in all areas because people who are sick are not at peace and whoever lacks peace can hardly be productive."
Some 70% of the students attending here live with their grandparents. These are orphans, many of who never even met their biological parents. Community members attending a local church fundraise the money to send these students to school.
What we can do:
"Students do not practice good sanitation and hygiene. They do not wash hands after using latrines. We really need handwashing facilities so that we wash hands immediately after using latrines. Lack of enough latrines also poses danger to us since the few are overused. Some of the latrines are almost full and in bad shape. Please come and help us," said Teacher Gavalia.
We will hold training on good hygiene habits for two days. Our 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 are currently no handwashing stations.
We will deliver two handwashing stations to the school, and the CTC club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.
We will construct two triple-door latrines 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!