This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Essumba Primary School was founded in 1956 by the community and the ACK Church in Essumba Village, Emabwi sub-location, Embali/Ebukanga location, West Bunyore ward, Emuhaya sub-county of Vihiga County. The school has a population of 375 boys, 392 girls, seven male teachers and seven female teachers. The early education section has 25 boys and 28 girls taught by three female teachers. The school also has one cook, one office messenger who doubles as a groundsman and two security guards. This puts the total school population at 841.
(Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
The school is located in a very poor community of subsistence farmers. Other livelihoods include small-scale businesses. This is thus a poor school with a high rate of absenteeism due to failure to pay fees. Some parents give their children too much work at home or on a farm, since children are the cheapest labor available. It is important to note that Essumba Primary School is surrounded by people of different tribes, resulting in tribal clashes that often affect the entire school.
Classrooms are overcrowded and the compound is too small for its population. "The pupils do not have a playground, and the congestion in classes leads to quick spreading of contagious diseases like flu and tuberculosis," said the head teacher. "Many girls have dropped out of school as a result of early pregnancy, and I suppose they were impregnated on their way to the spring, since it was hard for teachers and parents to supervise them closely when they go to fetch water."
The Current Source
Essumba Primary School has two plastic tanks, a 4000-liter and 3000-liter. Even if these are full from heavy rains, they do not yield nearly enough water for a school population of 841 people.
Access to clean, safe water is a big challenge for this school. Pupils are asked to fetch water from a nearby spring, which distracts students from academics. This also endangers the lives of female students who are exposed to the enticement of young men, especially motorbike cyclists. There have also been numerous cases of typhoid and diarrhea both among students and teachers.
The school has 16 pit latrines: two for teachers and the support staff, eight doors for boys and six for girls. This does not meet the World Health Organization recommendation of one door per 30 boys and one per 25 girls. Pupils have to queue during breaks to use those facilities, which leads to a great waste of time that was meant for class work.
New pit latrines are needed to save the extra minutes spent by pupils in line to use the sanitation facilities. The school compound is filthy with poor disposal of waste, a clear signal that hygiene and sanitation training will be indispensable. Furthermore, the head teacher welcomed the project and has agreed to mobilize parents to gather the locally available materials for construction of latrines and a 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank. Locally available materials include sand, ballast, empty sugar sacks, hardcore, bricks, and poles. This institution is also in desperate need of hand-washing facilities since the current washing tank is far from latrines, and most pupils conveniently run to class after using the latrines instead of taking the effort to wash hands.
Training will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.
Project Results: Training
Hygiene and sanitation training was held in a classroom at the school. The head teacher was notified of the schedule so that he could mobilize training participants, including students, teachers, and parents. He chose both female and male students of various grades and ages. In total, there were ten participants comprised of two teachers, two parents, and six students. All ten actively participated during each training session. A goal of the hygiene and sanitation training was to develop CTC (child to child) encouraged by teacher and practiced by students. CTC is based on the belief that children have the greatest influence on their peers, and thus have the power to transform schools and greater communities. The development of these students will also result in the formation of a CTC club which purposes to take responsibility for hygiene and sanitation, and promote good health in the student body.
Topics covered included but were not limited to:
- Resource mobilization
- Operation and maintenance of VIP latrines and the rainwater catchment tank
- Disease transmission and prevention
- Water pollution and control
- Water treatment
The facilitator used demonstrations, group discussions, lectures, and illustrations to teach those topics and more. Participants were very grateful for what they learned. 11-year-old student Tabitha Okiya said, "I am happy to be chosen to represent the school in this training. I will use the knowledge have gained to teach my friends!''
VIP Latrines: Construction of two triple-door VIP latrines is complete and are now in use.
Two hand-washing stations were delivered and installed, and are now in use by students. Because of the pupils' training on proper procedures for hand washing, both boys and girls alike are happy to wash hands and demonstrate their knowledge for others.
Rainwater Catchment Tank
Construction for this 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank began on February 1st. The process began with site clearance, setting and casting the foundational slab, construction of the wall, roofing, and installation of fittings such as delivery pipes, vent pipes, and screens. Finally, good drainage was ensured.
The community provided many materials that were used to build the structure, such as bricks, sand, hardcore, ballast, sugar sacks, and poles. The school also made sure that the construction team was taken care of well, providing both meals and accommodation.
With the tank now complete, it can begin to gather rainwater. Good timing, because it is currently the rainy season in Kenya! A father of one of Essumba Primary's students, Benson Anima, said "I thank God for remembering us through The Water Project and WEWASAFO because for a longer period of time, we have been forgotten." Local leadership has acknowledged this improvement and pledged their own support to improve Essumba Primary School. Leadership will ensure that there are enough classrooms and facilities for the growing student body, and that every basic need is provided as soon as possible.
Thank You for your generosity that unlocks potential for students of Essumba Primary School!