The 220 students and staff at Syunoo Primary School have inadequate water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene tasks at the school. The present rain tanks cannot hold enough to last the entire drought season. School administration locks the tanks to try to preserve the water, but it is not enough because the tanks are too small, and one of them is broken.
The school instructs pupils to carry water in their jerry cans from the local river to help meet the demand. Students use their own (often dirty) containers to collect water from small scoop holes (pictured below) in the river bed. These are open to contamination from dirt and animal feces. Drinking the water exposes both the teachers and pupils to infections, such as amoeba, typhoid, diarrhea, and worm infections, causing them to lose time teaching and learning.
The trek for pupils to carry water back to the school is several kilometers and leaves them exhausted and unable to focus on their studies. Richard Musila, the Head Teacher, shared, "The water scarcity in the school has reduced student attendance because some of them get tired and forego learning altogether due to the water challenges. The school performance has also waned because of issues such as absenteeism."
"I have to walk several kilometers during the long dry months while carrying my water jerrycan to school. I arrive in school feeling exhausted and unable to concentrate fully on the lessons," said Bernard M., a 14-year-old student.
The school latrines, classrooms, and staff offices are suffering from poor hygiene and sanitation because of the inadequate water supply and the need to use water sparingly.
Bernard shared his thoughts on the challenging hygiene situation at the school: "The learning environment is unconducive due to poor hygiene and sanitation levels, thanks to water scarcity. The latrines also emit a bad odor because they are rarely cleaned, which also exposes me to communicable infections such as typhoid, cholera, and amoeba."
The new, much larger rain tank at the school will ensure a clean supply of water, offering healthy drinking water, preventing infections related to water contamination. The sanitation and hygiene situation will improve, and the students and staff will benefit from continuous water even during the dry months.
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.