Mukuku Secondary School is situated in the Nduluku sub-location within Makueni County, Kenya.
The school is found in arid and semi-arid lands which are prone to receive little to no rainfall due to climate change. It relies on 1 10,000-liter rain tank to harvest rainwater for use during the academic year - not nearly big enough to support the 160 students that go here.
The water harvested is never sufficient for all the school needs such as cooking, drinking, laboratory uses, and cleaning. It barely lasts for the first week of a school term.
"Water in school is never enough because we have very few tanks. During the dry season, we get water from the earth dam which is far from school," said Shene, a student at the school.
"Time that could be used for learning is spent looking for water. The water served for drinking is usually dirty and at times is seen to have particles or worms. Often, students complain of stomachaches and diarrhea after drinking the water."
The water fetched from the earth dam is also not clean for direct consumption because it is an open water source which is exposed to various pathogens. It is also used by livestock, posing risks of contracting waterborne diseases such as typhoid or skin infections to the students.
To help deal with the problem of water access, the school purchases water from vendors. The school has to spend a lot of money to purchase water which is very expensive since the payment of school fees by the parents is not done consistently. A delayed water supply disrupts the school programs which in turn wastes a lot of time which was to be used for studying.
"The school had plans to expand its infrastructure and begin a boarding facility for the students who have to walk for long distances to get to school, but most of its funds are channeled to purchasing water," shared Deputy Principal Miriam Nduku Maasia.
"The students' performance has been seen to deteriorate due to the strains of having to walk to fetch water for use in the school. With the presence of a constant water supply, the school will be conducive for the students to learn."
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.
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.