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
Every hour of the day at Bumuyange Secondary School has been planned out to maximize time. Students arrive at school by 6:45AM with water they've carried from home in jerrycans, then get straight to daily cleaning. Girls sweep classrooms and the office as boys collect litter around the compound. Classes begin at 7AM half of the week, while the other days begin with morning announcements.
Students have a 10 minute break midmorning for snacks and bathroom. Later when they break for lunch, students eat a mixture of maize and beans that is prepared and served at the primary school. Some students complain that having the same meal everyday is boring, but the school cannot afford any other kind of meal at the moment. Afternoon lessons stretch until 4PM when students break for various activities depending on the day of the week. Practice for games like football and netball are done every Monday and Wednesday, Christian Union is held every Tuesday, guidance and counseling is done on Thursdays, and every Friday evening is set aside for girls to mop all rooms in the school while boys slash (clear brush from) the compound.
Since the school doesn't have its own water source, students are asked to carry water from home on a daily basis.
Teachers often release students early because going to the springs, streams and rivers is very dangerous for students, especially girls, who may be harassed sexually. This is why the school does not have evening study classes, yet they still have to compete with students from other schools that attend both morning and evening preps.
Those who fetch water from the stream and river submerge their jerrycans until they're full. There are other students who make the trip to the protected spring in the area, which is the safest option. There are others who say they leave their buckets right under the water flowing from iron sheets or gutters at their homes. Another student, Annete, said her uncle has tapped water, so her family just borrows it on a daily basis.
But there's no way for teachers to keep track of where water comes from each day. There was an outbreak of typhoid a little while ago, and it was attributed to the use of contaminated water. Even now, some students complain of diarrhea and have to seek treatment before resuming studies.
There is no water storage on school grounds, so water is kept in the students' jerrycans until it is used. None of these containers have covers, so the water inside is open to contamination throughout the day.
The secondary school has no latrines of its own. Instead, the primary section is lending two of its latrines to the older girls. They boys and teachers must share the rest of the latrines with the small students.
The primary students normally work with their teachers to clean the latrines every morning, but they are filthy from overuse by the end of the day. One of the students described that "the latrines are old with no shutters, therefore we have to struggle to hold the door as we ease ourselves."
Lack of latrines has forced the school to make several adjustments; they already altered their schedule so that congestion at the primary school latrines would not be an overwhelming issue. When the secondary boys would rush to get to the primary latrines first, sometimes the younger boys would show up and demand to go first since the facilities are "theirs."
Neither are there hand-washing stations for after using the latrine or before eating. Rubbish is thrown on the ground behind classes, and the wind blows it around.
Teacher Shunza said that sharing facilities like the kitchen and latrines with the primary school is a hard thing to do. "We do not love our state, especially old, worn out latrines, neither do we love seeing our children carry water from home. This has even driven other children from this area to go to better schools like Lusengeli, that is at least ahead of us in terms of water and sanitation facilities. We know that our school is at risk of another diarrheal disease outbreak, but we also understand the poor state of our underprivileged parents who either survive on meager daily wages they earn from hard work or from the small profits gotten from businesses. There are homes with no latrines, and I believe it is because of ignorance," he said.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations
Hygiene and sanitation conditions in this area are poor, and we with the school administration fear that only training the students will not instigate the change needed at home. Therefore, we plan to invite community members to join our hygiene and sanitation sessions.
Principal Enos Kagali said, "I'm happy you will train participants from the community on matters of health and hygiene. Most people live in poor health conditions, we sometimes have to go to homes of our children which are so dirty -which makes me wonder whether it will be easy to control diarrheal diseases if the fight is mounted on the part of the school alone. However much we try in school, the same children will get diseases from home."
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.
This school is already mobilizing for materials like sand, ballast, hardcore, old sugar sacks, and propping poles. Three male parents have already offered to do unskilled labor, and some female parents will fetch water for construction work. These parents accepted to do so after the principal decided to calculate payment for the work they do as school fees for their children.
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 Bumuyange Secondary School! We expect that academics will improve as students have more time to stay in class without worrying about water.