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).
Rosterman Primary School has a student enrollment of 532 and employs 18 teachers and two supplementary staff. (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 would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
Children are seen pouring into Rosterman Primary School as early as 7AM. They’re always toting their books and small jerrycans full of water.
By their break from class at 10AM, students are sent back out to look for enough water to refill their empty jerrycans. Class then stretches until 3PM when students go once more to the spring to get water for cleaning.
Rosterman Primary School is named after the grandson of a former Australian gold miner who gave 80,000 Kenyan Shillings to start building classrooms. Gold mining is still the livelihood of many families who live in this area.
One of the most unique things about this school is that back when foreigners were mining in this village, they stayed where Rosterman School is now located. There used to be a rainwater catchment tank in the early 90s, but it since broke down. When the school started, they converted the broken tank into a classroom! Check out the “See Photos & Video” section to see the outside and inside of this tank classroom.
The school has a large plastic tank with a capacity of 1,200 liters. This tank is primarily used to store the water that students fetch from the nearby spring. This protected spring is provides clean water, but it takes 20 minutes to walk there. It is also considered a community source. With students often swarming the water point, community members are overwhelmed and must wait to fetch their own water. To avoid the long walk and wait at the spring, students also scavenge for water from other sources, such as puddles! Morning classes never start on time as teachers wait for students to return from collecting water.
Since students can’t be monitored as they look for water, that water’s safety can’t be ensured. After drinking the water, students and staff complain of symptoms like diarrhea, stomachaches and headaches.
There are six latrines on school grounds. Two of the latrines are dilapidated and nearly full. Long lines form as the students wait to use the remaining latrines, and many resort to open defecation.
Headteacher Vincent Mutsomutso talked about the poor water and sanitation situations at Rosterman:
Rosterman Primary School has had immense challenges regarding water and sanitation. The school at one point in 2000 was closed up completely by the Public Health Department due to poor sanitation. A tree fell on the latrines and demolished them. Water is also an issue as we have no safe water source within the school compound and as a result, pupils bring in water every morning as they report to school. This not only leads to lateness but also a lot of time wasted in between classes as they are sent to fetch more. We have had rampant cases of diarrhea diseases, and at one point during the term 17 candidates of the National Examination out of the 42 students were absent from class due to diarrhea diseases. As a result, our performance as a school in the examinations for years has been very poor.
Parents, teachers, and students will be trained for three 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. After our initial assessment of conditions, our facilitator also plans to strongly emphasize the importance of having and using both latrine and hand-washing facilities. 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. Once construction wraps up, the tank will begin collecting valuable rainwater that we will disinfect with chlorine; water that is safe for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that students need! Students will no longer waste class time searching for water that often ends up being too dirty for drinking. And with proper monitoring and repairs, we’ll make sure the rainwater catchment tank is an adequate safe water source; it won’t ever be converted into a classroom.
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. And with a rainwater catchment tank nearby, there will be enough water to keep them clean.
Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school before training. These new stations 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 and seeing that there’s enough cleaning agent. 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.