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
Esiandumba Secondary School began in 1974, but continuously encountered challenges that forced it to shut down. It picked back up in 2002, but has continued to struggle because families in the area don't emphasize education. Many fathers are alcoholics, and women are left to eke out enough to provide for their child's school fees. Most students who attend Esiandumba Secondary School come from impoverished families, most of which are led by either a single parent or grandparent.
The majority of enrolled students owe a huge number of fees. The principal, Madam Susan, has decided to limit the number of times she sends children back home to fetch fees, since many of them never come back. The principal talked about how there's one girl in form three who is an orphan and has to take care of a younger sibling. She visits her maternal grandparents every weekend to beg for food, missing her Saturday lessons. Teachers understand her situation and do not punish her for this absence.
Students report to school by 6:30AM to do daily cleaning of grounds and classrooms, latrines and offices. Students that report late are given punishments like clearing brush by slashing. Morning studies go from 7AM to 7:50, with normal classes beginning at 8AM. Students take a break to drink black tea at 11AM, going back to class until their lunch break.
Students are served 'githeri,' a mixture of maize and beans every lunch. Those with allergies are given rice and greens. Afternoon classes go until 4PM when students play sports and games until they are sent home. Certain afternoons, boys are sent to fetch water for girls to mop the classrooms and offices.
This school has a 1,000-liter plastic tank for catching rainwater. This tank's water is not nearly enough for the school's needs. There are two different springs over one kilometer away. These springs were protected many years ago by a different organization, but are now in poor condition. Even if water was clean at the spring, contamination is likely during the long trip back to the school.
Esiandumba Secondary School administration often hires women to make the long trip to the spring, but cannot afford to keep up with this expenditure. Thus, the water scarcity issue at school is severe. Students don't even have enough water to wash their hands after using the latrine or before eating.
When students fetch water, it is stored in their containers in the back of classrooms. When water is delivered by local women, it is stored in the kitchen.
This school has received a notice from the Ministry of Education saying that if they don't build more latrines soon, they risk closure. This is because the eight latrines they have are all very close to each other. Both genders using the bathroom this close to each other is against rules made by the Ministry of Education.
There are three hand-washing stations, but as was mentioned there isn't nearly enough water to keep them supplied. Garbage is disposed of on the ground in between the boys and girls pit latrines.
The principal is very excited about hygiene and sanitation training. "Our boys and girls have suffered diseases caused by poor hygiene. We have tried to help them but it seems there is an area where we are not doing it well, and I strongly believe that hearing it from you will help them understand matters of health better," she said.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations
Training will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school. This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as hand-washing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.
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.
With adequate clean water, the school will have water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, hand-washing, and irrigation!
This water source will only be open to students and staff. Outsiders will not be allowed to carry water from the school. By enforcing this rule, the tank will have water and be able to serve the school for a long time.
Plans: VIP Latrines
These six new VIP (ventilation improved pit latrine) latrines will be split into three doors 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 new facilities and training, their students’ academic performance will improve. Students will be healthy and empowered to focus on what’s important!
Thank You for unlocking potential at Esiandumba Secondary School!