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
Simboyi Primary School was started in 1957 as a community school under the Roman Catholic Church, only to be closed in 1963 due to logistical challenges. It reopened in 1964 because the community again saw the need to give their children a proper education. The school has evolved through time, and now has a total population of 443; comprised of 220 boys, 210 girls, seven female teachers, four male teachers and two support staff. This history-rich school is located in Simboyi Village, Kigama sub-location, North Maragoli location, Sabatia Sub-County of Vihiga County, Kenya.
The school's program begins at 6:30am and ends at 5pm.
Mr. Moses Kavehere, a beneficiary of the Hedwe Spring Protection Project, also happens to be a board member of Simboyi Primary School. He saw the need of his school and how it could benefit from a water and sanitation project, and immediately sent in an application for help. Upon receipt of his application, we paid a visit to his school.
The school currently depends on a seasonal well dug within the compound. Since it's seasonal, it dries up for almost half of a year, so the school must find an alternative. Students are sent to Imburizi Spring to fetch water, located two kilometers away. "Because of the high water demand during dry seasons," says the deputy headteacher Madam Anne Mudengeya, "the community members hardly give our pupils an opportunity to fetch water from the named spring. We have resorted to asking them to carry drinking water in five-liter jerrycans from home." The spring is unprotected and open to contamination, and there's no way of knowing the condition of water brought from home. Students are sent to the unprotected spring so often that they miss a great deal of class and study time. Not to mention the sickness that results from drinking Imburizi Spring's water!
The school has four latrines for boys and six latrines for girls. These latrines are almost full and yet are being shared between pupils and staff. "We have been served with a closure notice due to poor states of our sanitation facilities. Parents have been overburdened to give toward the construction of new latrines because just a few months ago they did a fundraiser to salvage other development agendas," says Mr. Moses Kavehere, a school board member who connected us with school administration. "Our school has never been in shortages of open defecation problems," admits Mr. Job Chanzu, the school's headteacher. "Since even the available sanitation facilities can narrowly meet the needs of half the entire pupils’ population. Any support from TWP and WEWASAFO is welcomed with open hands because the school still lags behind most of the health and hygiene standards required of it."
There was a compost pit, eight old classrooms and one hand-washing facility used only by the pupils who are registered for the school lunch feeding program. The school kitchen was full of soot and in a sorry state of hygiene, lacking enough dish racks for proper storage of the utensils used by students. "We are so eager, willing and positive to get the best, but our efforts are handicapped by fund inadequacy," the cook comments. "Any support from the donors will be a blessing for the school because the school population keeps swelling despite these challenges. The good performance the school keeps recording yearly in national examinations has been a pull factor for many more pupils from our neighboring schools." The good teachers may draw more and more students to Simboyi Primary School, but the water and sanitation situations will get exponentially worse without an intervention.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations
Teachers, students, and surrounding community members will be trained for two days at the school compound. The facilitator will use the CHAST (Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method and CTC (child to child) method to help students discern between good and bad hygiene habits. Students will be taught how disease is spread at home and at school, and how to prevent this. An entire session will be devoted to teaching students when to wash hands and how to do it properly. Students and staff need to be aware of how dirty hands are spreading illness. Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to Simboyi Primary School so that students can practice what they learned!
Training will also result in the formation of a water user committee and a CTC (child to child) club that promotes good health and oversees the school's sanitation facilities. These group of students and staff will teach their peers about easy and effective practices to reduce disease. They will also be responsible for delegating cleaning tasks like sweeping classrooms, cleaning latrines, and picking up garbage around school. They will fill the hand-washing stations with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent like soap or ash available.
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.
With a large water reservoir on school grounds, students should no longer have to make the long walk to and from the unprotected spring, or risk their health from drinking its water.
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.
These new latrines will ease the burden on existing facilities, and will remain clean because of water from the new rainwater catchment tank.
Thank You for noticing Simboyi Primary School's need for clean water and new facilities that will drastically reduce disease among students and their families.