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 from Kenya (edited for clarity, as needed):
Welcome to the School
638 students attend Shipala Primary School, most who wake up extremely early to get there on time for class. The upper primary classes need to get there for morning exercises at 6:30. A half hour later, these students are sent to fetch water for cleaning and cooking. If they get back late for normal classes at 8AM, they are punished. After lunch, students return for afternoon classes until sports and games that go for another hour until 4PM, when they are sent home to do homework and prepare for the next day.
Shipala Primary School employs 20 teachers and three support staff. The headmistress was the one who called us and applied for a project. She had seen the work done at Cheptulu Primary School and was very impressed, so we paid her and her school a visit to assess the need.
(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 community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
The school has no water source on campus, so when students are sent to fetch water, they must walk to the nearest spring. This spring is protected, but the construction is old and needs repair. There are cracks in the walls and floor, and the area behind the spring has most likely been walked over. This spring is in a neighboring community, and students must defer to the local community members who are already waiting in line. Sometimes, they wait a long time and have no choice but to be late for class. We met a village elder who described these issues that occur at Musamalia Spring on a daily basis.
To avoid having to go fetch water after morning exercises, some of the students opt to carry water all the way from home. Once water is returned to school, it is poured from students' small plastic containers into large storage barrels.
After drinking this water during the school day, waterborne disease affects both students and teachers. Diarrhea is the most common symptom, which weakens young students to the point they must stay home. Typhoid is also a common reason students are absent from class.
There are 11 pit latrines on school grounds, all made of brick walls and iron sheets for roofs. Six of them are in good condition, while the other five are almost full. There were two others, but these are entirely full and cannot be used. Some latrines are even missing doors!
There are three hand-washing stations, but since the school doesn't have its own water source, filling these are put on hold unless there's leftover water after cleaning, cooking and drinking. Either way, there wasn't any soap or ash to scrub with.
Teachers, the headmistress, and the students are all ready to attend training on hygiene and sanitation.
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: VIP Latrines
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will be given to girls, while the other three will be given to the boys.
Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will help gather the needed construction materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer have to leave their school in search of water!
We're excited for this project to become a reality for students and staff so that they can focus on education. Girls won't miss class fetching water for their peers. Clean water will improve health here, freeing students from the waterborne diseases that would keep them at home.