Western Kenya WaSH Program
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).
Ibubi Primary School is a public primary school located in the remote village of Ibubi, Mumbita sub-location, Iboona location, Emabungo Ward, Luanda sub-county of Vihiga County. The school was founded by Church of God Faithfuls as a missions school in 1955. It was later to be adopted by the government in 1966. It sits in a quiet environment away from the main road’s traffic, and is thus ideal for studying. Being only accessible on foot or motorbikes on a weathered road, the school can prove very difficult to reach.
There are no open areas for playing, nor fields for sports. Despite this, there are vegetable gardens and flowerbeds that students attend to after classes.
In order to maximize student-teacher time, the school has begun a feeding program for all seventh and eighth grade students. This program provides porridge for these students at lunchtime. They stay at school, which allows for an extra hour of class time. Before, students were allowed one and a half hours to return home for lunch. Unfortunately, many students would have to return to class with empty stomachs; when students arrived home, their parents were often unable to put food on the table.
Students and teachers arrive early to clean the school compound. When learning begins, the only noises that can be heard come from the early education section and the occasional passing motorbike. The school has a total enrollment of 450 students and employs 15 teachers and two supplementary staff.
The school doesn’t have a water source of its own. Instead, students are required to bring 10-liter jerrycans from home every morning. Tradition is that as a group, students leave together from school to gather water from either one of two protected springs. These are 500 meters and 600 meters away. Pupils then line up at the delivery pipe to fill their containers until each one is done, and then return to school together. This water is stored in the kitchen and is used for cooking and cleaning. Water meant for drinking is stored in plastic jerrycans in the office.
Because of this situation, the school suffers from water scarcity. Drinking and cooking is prioritized, but there’s never enough for adequate cleaning.
There are 14 usable latrines on school grounds. These are walled with bricks, but will soon be full. The floors are also damaged and flooded with urine. The stench is unbearable!
The school is committed to good hygiene and sanitation, but doesn’t have the means to achieve it. They have provided hand-washing stations for students, but don’t have the water to fill them. Students are taught responsibility by undertaking chores around school grounds. Some are more responsible for fetching water, while others rotate latrine-cleaning duty. When there isn’t leftover water from the day, cleaning the latrines is put on hold.
Ibubi Primary School received five hand-washing stations from a different organization. To maximize the effectiveness, the school saves money for soap; they sell some of the harvest from their garden for a small profit.
With an adequate water supply, students will be able to keep their hand-washing stations full and clean their school compound on a regular basis.
We ran into Mr. Livingstone, a teacher who has witnessed the excitement about this project. He said, “We really appreciate your consideration. Your coming is a great encouragement even to the parents who are eager about the project and are already giving materials like poles and sacks. The tank would really save our pupils time currently spent to fetch water outside the school as well as ensure availability of water to clean the latrines regularly.”
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.
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 (Which they’ve already started doing!). 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.
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.
Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school before training, supplementing the existing five stations. 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. They will be able to follow through with this thanks to the water tank on school grounds!
The actions described above will give students an environment that is conducive to learning. It’ll free up so much time that was used going to and from the spring. This is an opportunity they deserve!
Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.