Katalwa Secondary School is located in Katalwa Village of Kitui County. It is a very hot and semi-arid region. This calm and peaceful rural area is hilly an expansive. The village is thronged with old buildings lacking windows, and floors are not cemented. Amidst those, there are a few well-established buildings with cement floors and good roofing above them.
The school was started in 1966 by the community members. It was sponsored by Africa Inland Church initially, but now is supported by the Kenyan government, the local Constituency Development Fund, and the parents of the 249 students who attend.
The school has piped water but it does not work for the majority of the year due to prolonged dry seasons. So the students also have to carry water to school, which is very burdensome and exhausting. A lot of students turn to unprotected scoop holes that expose them to waterborne diseases because these water sources are also used by animals.
Purchasing water is also an option, but it is costly. The classes and latrines cannot afford to be washed on a daily basis due to the water shortage. A handwashing culture is also foreign to the students due to water scarcity in the region.
"Our levels of hygiene are average on sanitation. We lag behind because we lack enough water as well as the facilities to sustain handwashing in our school," said Deputy Headteacher Simon Kamau.
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
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!
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 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.