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).
Welcome to the School
The Cheptulu Primary School is located in Shaviringa location, Cheptulu sub-location, Shiru Ward of Vihiga County. The school has a population of 647 pupils, composed of 312 boys and 335 girls. The school also employs 13 teachers, out of which four are female and nine are male. (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 site would make a great location for a second project. To learn more, click here.)
A normal day entails reporting to school very early in the morning, when pupils arrive with water in their small 5-liter jerrycans to clean their classrooms in preparation for class. When they are finished with cleaning, they do morning preps and exercises for 40 minutes as teachers arrive to start their lessons. The lessons begin exactly at 8am and go to 10am when they take a short break and then return for more lessons. They take another break for lunch that lasts for one hour. They continue with lessons at 2pm until 3:45pm, when they stop for games as they wait for dismissal.
The headmaster of Cheptulu Primary School highly values education. He hates to waste time that could otherwise be spent in the classroom. He dislikes that in the course of the day, pupils must fetch water from an unprotected spring for cooking because what they carry from home is not enough. This takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how many people are already waiting at the spring to fetch water. The spring is 1km away from the school.
The school was selected for a project because the principal of Ebwiranyi Secondary School is a friend to the Cheptulu headmaster. The principal invited this headmaster to see what WEWASAFO had done through TWP at his own school, and the headmaster was very impressed. Cheptulu Primary School was then given the proper contact information, contacted WEWASAFO, and then the WEWASAFO team went to the school to assess the need.
The school has no reliable, protected source of water. Students get water from a nearby unprotected spring which is also used by local households. The spring is open to contamination, since a lot of activities are carried out around it which include: washing clothes, bathing children, and watering animals. There are even those who are in the carwash business who wash a lot of equipment in the spring. This exposes the children to many water-related diseases!
The only visible water storage equipment as one enters the school is a tank that is old and not in use. As the head teacher reports, the tank has been there for quite some time, sitting idle. The school is in desperate need of a rainwater catchment system that actually works!
The school currently has 15 ventilated pit latrines (VIP latrines). Ten are for girls, though two of them are full. Five are for boys. This leaves the school with far fewer latrines than the WHO would recommend (1 latrine per 25 girls and 1 latrine per 30 boys). For the case of Cheptulu Primary School, one door is serving about 33 girls, and one door is serving 62 boys. Therefore, long queues are witnessed during break times, leading to a loss of precious study time! This tremendous overuse is also a health risk to the children.
The school does not have any hand-washing stations for students or staff to use. "We have been affected so much, and every now and then with waterborne diseases resulting in stomachaches and typhoid among our pupils who are always absent, which leads to poor performance. We also have inadequate facilities at which our pupils queue, wasting a lot of time for when they are to be in class," said Head Teacher John Isatia.
Despite this difficult situation, the school’s attitude towards sanitation and hygiene is positive. They are willing to be trained on different topics to bring about healthy changes.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Students and staff will be trained over three days using Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), and Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) methods. Training will include group discussions, lectures, presentations, handouts, a transect walk, and demonstrations.
Based on the initial survey conducted at the school, topics covered will include but not be limited to sensitizing the community against open defecation and empowering them to properly operate and maintain their new water and sanitation facilities.
Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will be constructed on school grounds. Teachers, students, and parents will gather the materials needed for this project, including sand, ballast, bricks, and hardcore. This contribution will fuel a sense of responsibility for the school and community to take care of their new facilities. Once materials are mobilized, the WEWASAFO team will arrive to lead the construction effort.
Plans: VIP Latrines
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed, providing three new latrines for each gender. Latrine materials will be mobilized the same way as the tank, ensuring the school feels these facilities are truly theirs.
Plans: Hand-Washing Stations
Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school before training. These come in the form of two 60-liter containers fitted with a tap. The training facilitator will demonstrate how to properly wash hands, and then students will have a chance to practice in groups. The CTC club will be responsible for filling the hand-washing containers on a daily basis.
With the challenges being faced by pupils in the school, this project is ideal. The students will soon be able to collect and store a lot of rain water with the 30,000 liter tank, especially entering the rainy season. The tank will serve as a good, safe storage facility for the pupils. The girls will also have an additional three latrines, as will the boys. With the enthusiasm that we were welcomed with, it is obvious this school will be delighted to have these new facilities. The school administration is also willing to meet their end of the bargain, hosting training, mobilizing students and staff, notifying parents; we have no doubt this project will be a success.