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
Khumuseno Primary School was founded in the year 2008 by community members who fundraised for the land where the school is now built. The school is located in Khumuseno Village, Mwitako sub-location, Mukhalakhala location, Mwibona Ward, Luanda Sub-County of Vihiga County. The school has a population of 203 boys, 230 girls, three male teachers and six female teachers. The school also employs one cook and one security guard.
This is an impoverished yet growing school, since many local parents view their children's education as a chance to lift them out of poverty. The school has a lot of land, but not enough classrooms for its high enrollment. Since they are poor, they don't have the finances needed to build additional classrooms. The head teacher says, "The pupils congest in classes making many of them not fully getting the required attention from the teachers, especially low achievers. Also, due to this issue, quick spread of airborne diseases like the flu and tuberculosis is rampant."
A normal day has students waking up by 6am to walk to school, carrying water in a five-liter jerrycan with which to clean their classrooms. After cleaning, they start with morning exercises for a half hour until teachers call them in for lessons. The lessons begin exactly at 8am and go to 10am. They get a short break to use the latrines and then return for lessons until lunch. Lunch is one hour until the lessons begin again at 2pm. Class is out at 3:45pm, when students get to play games and sports together until they wait for a 5pm release.
There is no source of water on the school campus. Since students carry water from several different locations, it's hard to determine whether or not it is safe for consumption. The water brought from home is normally used for cleaning first, anyways. When that water is used up, teachers send students out to fetch more water. There are two sources students resort to: a nearby river that flows by a local university, or a protected spring that is over one kilometer away. Since the nearby river flows through so much activity, both solid and liquid waste has been observed in its waters. Students often prefer to walk a shorter distance to get water, but that water often causes them to suffer from typhoid and cholera. When their health suffers, academic performance suffers. If a student opts to fetch water from the faraway source, they sacrifice more of their study time, which also negatively impacts school performance!
The school has eight doors of pit latrines: two for teachers and support staff, three for boys and three for girls. This does not meet the UNICEF recommendation of one door for every 30 boys and one for every 25 girls. Pupils have to form long lines during their breaks to wait, while others, especially the girls, end up abandoning the line and relieving themselves outside those latrines. Khumuseno Primary School needs extra pit latrines to serve their large student population.
The school compound is filthy with no clear waste disposal system, a clear sign that training on hygiene and sanitation will be very helpful for them. Furthermore, the headteacher welcomed our project and agreed to mobilize parents to help gather local materials like sand and rock to construct new latrines and the rainwater catchment tank. This institution is also in desperate need of hand-washing facilities so that students can wash their hands after using the latrine. Everybody runs straight from the latrine back to class! The two hand-washing stations we plan to deliver will be of good use.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Parents, teachers, and students will be trained through 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.
New latrines will reduce the waiting time that is a huge strain on the large student body and thus reduce the rate of open defecation.
Plans: Hand-Washing Stations
Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school. These come in the form of two 60-liter containers fitted with a tap. Students will be taught how to properly wash hands, and each student 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!