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
Ewamakhumbi Primary School is located in Ewamakhumbi Village, Navokholo sub-location, North Butsotso location, Ematia Sub-County of Kakamega County. The school was started by the Church of God (Ingots Mission) and the community in 1975. They saw the plight of their young children who as young as 4-years-old had to travel for more than seven kilometers away to the 'neighboring' Bushiri Primary School. Most of the children would end up arriving at the school extremely late, missing a lot of their classes. Others would get distracted on the long trek and not reach the school at all! Some parents decided to keep their children at home instead of having them travel the long distance each day.
The school now has a student population of 1161, out of which 489 are primary boys, 516 are primary girls. The rest of the student body is comprised of very young early education students totaling 156. The school also has a section for kids with special needs. The school employs a total of 18 teachers. There are also four support staff that help throughout the week. (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 school and their community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so that adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
Since this is a day school, students start trickling in from around 6:40am to 7am, because morning studies begin anywhere from 7:15am to 8am. Every morning Monday thru Friday, pupils assemble on parade for prayers and announcements, which are usually led by the teacher on duty and the Christian Union's leader.
Normal class curriculum starts at 8:30am and stretches until 5:00pm with breaks in between. Grades seven and eight remain behind for extra study sessions for an average of one hour an evening.
The school had a well dug within the school compound. However, no pump was ever installed. Instead, students and staff use a bucket tied to rope to access the water. The small students sure spend a lot of energy pulling the full container all the way back up! It is also very dangerous for such small children to be around such a large opening; there is the risk that they will fall inside.
This unprotected well is used for all the school's needs: water for cleaning the classroom, cooking meals for staff and students, and drinking. Before the well was dug, students always had to fetch water from an unprotected spring located one kilometer away from the school. But even now, girls are still asked to travel to the spring to fetch water when the well runs dry. Three girls from grade eight say they got pregnant as a result of being asked to go to the spring. In order to avoid this dangerous walk, some students choose to carry water from home in their own jerrycan. Since all of these water sources are unprotected, there have been cases of many communicable diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.
The school only has a total of thirteen pit latrine for their huge population. Five doors are for boys, six for girls, and an extra urinary pit for boys that is dirty and dilapidated.
There were 12 other pit latrines that have since been rendered unusable. The teachers have a door for each gender. This shortage of latrines causes huge lines, especially among the female students. There is an average of 129 girls per one door; imagine the lines! Some of these girls can't wait in such a line, and are forced to relieve themselves behind school buildings.
In fact, the entire school is old and nearly all the classrooms need to be rebuilt. The school doesn't have enough chairs or desks for all the students, so many sit on the floor. The head teacher confessed that, "I am even afraid that classroom may collapse during the lessons because of the cracks on the walls of the old buildings."
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations
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 preventing communicable disease, properly handling water and treatment before drinking, and how to properly operate and maintain the new water and sanitation facilities.
Two hand-washing stations will also be delivered to the school so that students can practice what they learned during training. The training facilitator will demonstrate how to properly wash hands, and then students will have a chance to practice in groups. These hand-washing stations come in the form of two 60-liter containers fitted with a tap. The CTC club that was formed during training will be responsible for filling the hand-washing containers on a daily basis.
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.
School administration and parents are positive that with these facilities, their students' academic performance will improve. More importantly, they know having enough water on school grounds will protect vulnerable girls.