Mutulani Primary School currently faces severe water scarcity challenges. The school requires around 800 liters of water daily for drinking, cleaning, watering trees within the compound, and cooking. With only a small plastic water tank on campus, the stored water runs out very quickly. As a result, every day the 460 students are expected to carry jerrycans of water from home to school.
Carrying water to school every day is a very strenuous activity, and it has often led to absenteeism and truancy among the students. If the water brought to school runs out mid-day, the students must also fetch water during class time, leading to time wastage and poor academic performance.
The water students bring to school is usually dirty and contaminated because they fetch the water from varied - and sometimes unknown - sources, say teachers. Some students may lack water in their homes as well, adding to the difficulty of this morning routine. But out of fear of being punished should they arrive at school without water, the students draw water anywhere they find on their walk, even if they know the source is unsafe for use. Because water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated sources means the entire school is at risk of water-related illnesses.
"The challenge of water scarcity affects us as students as we do not get adequate water for use in the school. We are often sent out of class to fetch water, which wastes a lot of our time learning. Our concentration span in class often wavers due to the continuous disruption of being sent to fetch water. It is very exhausting to come carrying jerrycans of water daily," said Peter, a school student.
Mutulani Primary School is a day school established in 1959 by the Catholic Ministry of the Holy Ghost Missionaries to provide a nearby learning center for the children of Mutulani village. The school has grown over time through parents' support in the construction of infrastructures, and financial support from the government through the Ministry of Education's development funds.
The school is situated in a rural part of Makueni County, Kenya. The area is an arid and semi-arid land that is prone to receiving little to no rainfall each year. The school neighbors Mutulani Secondary School. The roads leading to the institution are packed gravel and clay roads that get very slippery during the wet season. The school's environment is very well maintained as it has trees planted for environmental conservation.
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 and provide 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 one day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices 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 oversee best and maintain their new rain tank and handwashing stations.
A total of three handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with three taps each, allowing nine 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.