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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

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

Emmabwi Primary School was founded in 1961 by the Church of God. It faced challenge from the start, and closed down in 1962 for an entire decade. Emmabwi Primary School now has a massive population of 1240 students, 36 teachers, and four support staff. Its growth is thanks to the quality education teachers are providing at a low fee. Pupils from lower class families who live up to four kilometers away attend Emmabwi. Student Janet Anene told us, “Even though our school is poor, teachers do a great work in class. They teach us well and that is why we compete on the same level with those other big schools. No wonder we became position one in Emuhaya Sub-County in 2015!”

Entering Emmabwi Primary School at 7:10AM, the compound is quiet with no trace of life until you step into a classroom or office.

After general cleaning between 6:45AM and 6:59AM, students settle behind their desks for morning private studies until 7:45AM when they attend morning announcements. The first two lessons take 40 minutes each before students get a 10 minute break. These children flock around their old latrines to answer the call of nature, lined up waiting their turn.

Two more lessons are attended before lunch at noon. Form eight students eat sugarless porridge at school while the other children rush home to eat lunch and return by 2PM. Those that come long distances instead carry packed food or fruits while others carry five to 10 shillings to buy snacks sold by food vendors at the gate.

A few children remain in the classroom during a lunch. This handful of students rely on two meals a day and therefore stay hungry at lunchtime. When interviewed, a few of these students explained that they eat posho in the morning, which is so heavy that they don’t feel hungry the entire day.

Under the scorching afternoon sun, pupils are seen running out the gate with jerrycans in their hands, as if in a competition. Their forms shrink until they disappear, only to return later, one by one or in small groups of two or three – carrying water for the rest of the day.

Classes pick back up until 4PM when students begin to play games until they are released at 5PM.

A local parent heard about a project completed at Esibila Primary School, and told the headteacher at Emmabwi Primary about the opportunity. The headteacher was new at that time and hadn’t even met the board members yet. He feared committing himself to do a project that would require the cooperation of the board and parents. “This school is in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and your idea is good, but I cannot accept a project before talking to the board, I don’t even know whether I’m welcome here,” he explained. This was back in the beginning of 2016. By the middle of the year, the headteacher had rallied support and was ready for a project.

(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.)

We then set up a time to meet with Mr. Victor Kutayi so he could give us a tour of his school.

Water Situation

The school only has a 3,000-liter plastic tank that when full, can provide enough water for two days. This is why students must bring water to school in their jerrycans when they return from lunch. When this is used up, the students are sent back to fetch more water from Mukangu Spring, a protected water source that is shared with the neighboring community.

The senior teacher said that congestion at the spring is extremely high during these dry seasons. He said, “Congestion witnessed in that place when there are no rains leads to wrangles with the villagers telling those from other villages to wait until locals fill their jerrycans. Our children also stay there for so long. They have to show respect to their elders by allowing them to fetch water first. This wastes their class time and by the end, lowers performance.”

The plastic jerrycans students use appear to be dirty, and none of them have covers to protect water during transportation. The road back to school is extremely dusty, and there’s no doubt that the water is contaminated by poor handling and storage.

Sanitation Situation

There are only 12 pit latrines, and many of these are wrecked to the extent that they can longer be used. Some don’t have doors, and others are practically full of waste. Even if all 12 were in perfect condition, it’s not enough for a huge population of over 1000 students. Unfortunately, many of the students can’t wait their turn in the long line and end up running behind the latrine building to relieve themselves.

According to a staff member who visited the school, “Having a glance inside the latrines could make one puke.” One is met with a strong, disgusting stench, for many of the students seemed to have missed the pit. A closer look inside reveals that waste has almost reached the opening, proving what the headteacher told us on phone, “Our latrines are full, please we need your support to build new ones.”

Not only is there a latrine shortage, but there is no opportunity to wash hands after. If there were hand-washing stations, there wouldn’t be enough water to keep them filled.

Rubbish is collected by pupils every morning and thrown into an area at the edge of campus. However, wind carries it back to school grounds.

The senior teacher said “We have had many cases of diarrhea among our children, and I attribute that to poor hygiene. That training will be an eyeopener to this community because the representatives of parents, teachers and pupils to be trained will share that knowledge with the rest.” Many people in Emmabwi Villge itself haven’t heard how practicing hygiene has a huge impact on health. Clothes are spread out on the dirty ground to dry, people suffer from jiggers, and students attend class without having bathed.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

The students’ are in great need of knowledge about hygiene and sanitation. During our visit, students were observed leaving the latrine and walking straight to the school gate to buy snacks. They were unaware of the germs carried on their hands and into their mouths. Even the women selling the snacks would take the money and then handle the food.

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.

These hand-washing stations are in the form of 50-liter buckets fitted with taps. These also have metal stands. Two of these 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. These new latrines will supplement the extreme shortage that would force students to resort to open defecation.

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 so that students and staff can focus on education. There will be an adequate source of clean water at Emmabwi Primary School! We expect that academics will improve as students have more time to stay in class without worrying about water.

Recent Project Updates

05/03/2017: Emmabwi Primary School Project Complete

Emmabwi Primary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your generous donation. A new rainwater catchment system has been built, and there are now six new latrines being used. Two hand-washing stations have been installed, and the entire student body has received training in sanitation and hygiene. Just imagine the difference these resources will make in the lives of these students!

You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this rainwater catchment tank and many other projects.

The report below from our partner gives the latest details of the project. We also just updated the project page with new pictures.

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held in the school’s nursery classroom, allowing the training to occur without interrupting normal classes.

Mr. Atieli, the teacher in charge of hygiene and sanitation at the school selected the most active children from standards one thru eight. Teachers who had to teach the least lessons that day were also invited to attend. Parents were in attendance, too.

26 people attended, all excited to learn because they had heard good reports about the training from another school’s teacher.

We taught an entire lesson on management and maintenance of the new tank and latrine facilities. Regular checking and cleaning of the gutter system is a must! It’s also important to treat the water while it is still in the tank. We also covered topics including but not limited to:

– Water pollution and water treatment

– Personal and environmental hygiene

– Group dynamics, leadership, and governance

– Forming an effective CTC (child to child) club

– Hand-washing

We used a number of different ways to teach the above topics, while demonstrations were used for hand-washing and tooth-brushing. We facilitated group discussions and presentations. The girls and boys also received handouts which will help them teach hygiene and sanitation to their peers.

The child to child club will include both students and teachers who want to take responsibility for spreading the message of good health and hygiene among their peers. They will also be responsible for taking care of the new hand-washing stations, making sure they are always filled with water and that a cleaning agent like soap or ash is available. A water user committee has also been formed by parents and school administration, which will be responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new facilities. By the end of training, the health club had already put their first meeting on the books.

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During a visit two weeks later, we found that the CTC club had grown by 30 members. The headteacher told us, “I was shocked at these children, I do not know what you gave to them. Imagine, a girl came to my office and introduced herself as the WaSH president and then went ahead to request that I give them one evening in a week as the WaSH club to be meeting so that they plan how well to maintain sanitation and hygiene in our school and also take good care of their water tank and other sanitation facilities in the school,” he continued. “I gave them permission to be meeting every Wednesday evening for one hour and she surprised me by requesting that the school gives them 1,000 shillings to buy seeds so that they start a nursery bed for growing tree seedlings because they now have water that will be used for irrigation. I was shocked, but she convinced me to see the sense behind it, and I found myself taking my own money and then gave it to Mr. Atieli who I requested to help them start the project and also oversee whatever they do. To me, that is great change within a very short time. You did not just bring us a tank, latrines and hand-washing facilities, but I can assure you that you have helped us identify and develop future leaders and to be specific in this case, woman leadership. I had never known that Carolyne Ayacko could even come to my office voluntarily, let alone addressing me with such confidence. Therefore, I say that you have transformed the whole of Emmabwi, understand that I mean more than the water tank, latrines and hand-washing stations; it is more than the physical. You have transformed this community in all areas.”

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Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered to school and handed over to the CTC club. They will teach other students how to properly wash their hands at these stations, and will make sure there is always soap or ash available. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them! The CTC students even want to make their own hand-washing stations to give every student the opportunity to wash their hands.

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Project Result: VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines. These latrines are easy to use and easy to clean. And with a rainwater catchment tank, there should be enough water to keep them clean all the time!

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Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction on this 50,0000-liter tank began in January.

Parents, staff, and students first helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. One parent hosted the skilled artisans during the entire construction process and children fetched water for construction work. Teachers together with board members helped supervise construction work. The board chairperson must be commended for his great work; he would reach the school at 8 am and leave at 7 pm throughout the construction period just to ensure that work was being done well and the artisans were also taken care of.

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Then, the location for the tank was decided on with the input of school leadership. We had to find a place that provided enough roof for a gutter system. We then cleared the ground, set and cast the foundational slab, built the five-inch-thick wall, built roofing, and installed the fittings such as delivery pipes, vent pipes, and screens. Finally, good drainage was ensured. Before the tank could begin collecting rainwater, we had it cure for two weeks. Once dry, we could remove the supportive beams and then install the gutter system. The school now has the opportunity to collect 50,000 liters of water!

Children are no longer sent to fetch water from the spring, which gives them a lot more time for studying. The children will attain higher marks that will get them scholarships to good secondary schools. Farmer and parent Joseph Dala said, “You have done us well. What you have done is not just physical, but you have touched us in all areas. Having water is having life. With this water our children will have enough time to sit in class and study. Cases of diarrheal diseases will also reduce because this water is used for washing hands after doing manual work and visiting latrines, and that is how people stay healthy. It is not just the physical tank, but you have transformed us socially, psychologically and spiritually as well.”

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01/27/2017: Emmabwi Primary School Project Underway

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, Emmabwi Primary School in Kenya is building a source of safe, clean water for their students and staff. A rainwater catchment tank and new latrines are being constructed, hand-washing stations provided, and students and staff are being trained on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Imagine the impact this will have on this school! Thank you for noticing the need here, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Click on the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for your generosity that unlocks potential at Emmabwi Primary School!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Vihiga, Emmabwi
ProjectID: 4642
Install Date:  05/03/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 09/02/2017

Visit History:
06/24/2017 — Functional
09/02/2017 — Functional


Project Sponsor - John Ligon and Ixtla Malagon

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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

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.