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
Mwangaza Secondary School is a public school with both day and boarding students. It is located along the highway in Shibuli Village, Shibuli sub-location, Central Butsotso location, Lurambi Sub-County of Kakamega County. Because of the school's accessible location, staff commutes from home on a daily basis. The school was founded in the year 1991 as "Ebuchinga Secondary School" under the sponsorship of the Church of God Faithful. In 2010, the school underwent a name change from Ebuchinga to Mwangaza. The school has a total population of 220 students; 150 girls and 70 boys. Mwangaza Secondary School employs 15 teachers, comprised of seven males and eight females. They are also currently hosting six interns who are getting teaching practice. In addition, the school has seven support staff: two security guards, an accountant, a secretary, a groundsman and two cooks.
The community around the school relies on sugarcane farming to make a living. A normal day for students starts early. Students arrive at school in order to start fetching water from the neighboring Ebuchinga Primary School's borehole. This water is used for the school's daily needs as well as for cleaning classrooms and latrines. After enough water is gathered, classes start and then stretch to the end of day, only to be interrupted by tea and lunch breaks.
Mwangaza Secondary School has no water source in the school; they lack any connection to piped water, nor do they have a water storage facility that can adequately serve the school's needs. As a result of this dire shortage, the pupils must assist the two cooks in fetching water from a community well located down the street in Ebuchinga Primary School.
The water from Ebuchinga Primary isn't very clean, and has resulted in many cases of typhoid; not only among students but also among teachers: the most recent case being Mr. Shitote, a new teacher in the school diagnosed with typhoid. Teachers thus opt to individually buy or carry their own drinking water from home, and the students have no option but to consume the water from the neighboring well. At times, the primary school's well pump is locked, putting the students in a dilemma not knowing where to find water for school chores. When the primary school's well pump is broken, it is the Mwangaza Secondary's sole responsibility to repair it, since they 'borrow' the pump. Enrollment at Mwangaza Secondary School is low, since students prefer schools with better water and sanitation facilities.
When water is delivered back to the school, it is consolidated into 100-liter drums located in the kitchen. Students and staff have not yet been educated on water treatment methods, so they drink the water without boiling, chlorinating, or filtering. Cases of typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and stomachaches are commonly reported.
The school has a total of six functional latrines and one urinal; two latrines and the urinal serve the boys, while two are for the girls. The remaining two latrines are for the teachers. Comparing the situation on the ground versus the WHO standard of 25 girls per door and 30 boys per door, the school is in dire need. This especially affects the 150 girls, who waste a long time waiting in lines for the two latrines. Water inaccessibility at the school has also led to dangerous conditions inside the latrines, with a bad odor from irregular cleaning.
There’s only one hand-washing facility with a damaged tap, which is solely for the teachers' use. The students have nowhere to wash their own hands after visiting the latrine, and are thus exposed to infections and diseases. At lunch and tea break, the students all share the water in an open container to wash their utensils.
A newly employed teacher was extremely surprised with the bad conditions. They immediately took to representing the school and its need to the county executives, who later presented the need to us. After an initial visit, we were easily able to agree that the secondary school is in need of a water, sanitation, and hygiene project.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Parents, teachers, and students will be trained for two days of sessions on hygiene and sanitation.
This training is meant to equip participants with the skills needed to practice good hygiene, and to promote these practices among peers and the greater community. The end goal is to eliminate water and hygiene-related diseases!
The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training), CTC (child to child), discussions, lectures, and demonstrations to teach topics including but not limited to disease transmission, hand-washing, and water treatment. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.
Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will be constructed on school grounds. Teachers, students, and parents will gather the local 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.
The actions described above will give students an environment that is conducive to learning. This is an opportunity they deserve!