Ndithi Primary School is found in Ndithi village of Kitui County, Kenya. The locality is a rural and peaceful location with the school being found on a small piece of land shared with Ndithi Secondary School. The school has a playground, classroom blocks, a school kitchen, and a staff room.
Ndithi Primary School was started by the Ndithi community in 1968 to help provide education to the children of the locality. The school was later taken up by the Mwingi District Education Board to operate as a government-supported school. The school has grown through support from parents and the government to host more than 200 students today.
On a normal school day, a student is expected to arrive at school by 6:45 am carrying a jerrycan of water to share with the school and other students throughout the day.
Students are burdened with the task of carrying water to school every day with a majority of them doing so in addition to carrying their school bag. This also means they have to spend the time and energy seeking out a water source in the morning to get the water.
"We are an old school that has failed to grow because of the lack of a reliable water source. We have always wanted a boarding section so as to improve on performance but lack of a reliable water source is the biggest challenge," explained Deputy Head Teacher Justus Mbuvi.
The school routine has in the past been halted after the school sent children to the river in the middle of the school day to bring water for their cooking and drinking needs.
This leads to the reduction of the time allocated for academic affairs, thus affecting school performance. Cases of absenteeism are on the rise due to the challenge of students carrying water to school.
"No extensions are made in the evening to cater for the time lost fetching water. The water is not always clean and sometimes it is colored, but we survive on it due to the lack of alternative options," said Mwikali, a student at the school.
We will build a 104,000-liter rain tank for this school. 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.
A total of 3 handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 3 taps each, allowing 9 students to wash their hands at once. 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.