Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School is found in Kamuthale Village in the Mumoni sub-county on Kitui County, Kenya. The area is generally rural with flat terrain. Presently, it boasts a population of more than 180 students.
The school was established in the year 1988 by the local Kamuthale residents who felt the need for a school in their community as their children had been traveling for long distances in search of secondary education. The school has grown through support from the Mwingi North Constituency Fund, the national government, and parents' support.
The main water source for the school is a community borehole that is piped to the school grounds. But it is not a reliable source of water, nor does it produce enough water for the students. The borehole experiences regular breakages and failures which has led the school to send students out of class to get water - leading to a reduction in the amount of time spent in pursuit of academic excellence.
When there is water, the boarding students are limited to 10 liters of water per day. That is half of what the United Nations says is the minimum amount of water needed per day per student.
"Life in school has not been easy. I am required to survive on a maximum of 10 liters of water for cleaning and bathing per day which is way below what I need," said Carol, a student at the school.
"Sometimes we are required to walk to the community borehole in the evening and fetch water which greatly affects the school routine and affects our academic efforts."
Buying water has been expensive for the school. It currently spends some 300,000 KSh ($3,000) per year in water bills and to support the borehole when it breaks down. A lack of adequate water supply has led to the slow growth of the school, thus making it less popular among potential parents and students.
"Many teachers are discouraged from staying with our school because of the water challenges," said Principal Solomon Muia.
We will build a 104,000-liter rain tank for this school, making the others look tiny in comparison. Because of how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya, this tank's large volume is designed to store as much water as possible during the seasonal rains, making more water available through the dry months. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff.
Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, including sand, stones, and water. They will also lend their strength and time to help with the construction. We will complement their materials with a skilled artisan to lead the project in addition to providing the tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.
As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin collecting rainwater for the school's use.
We will train students and staff on sanitation, hygiene, and other topics for 1 day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices both at school and at 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 rain tank and handwashing stations.
3 handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 4 taps each. The student health club and school management will be responsible for making sure the tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is always available.