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
Kilingili Primary School was founded in 1957 by the Church of God, which donated all of the land the school sits on today. It currently enrolls a total student population of 693 and employs 20 teachers and four support 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 community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
Kilingili Primary has high enrollment thanks to its students' academic performance; it is one of the best schools near the border of Kakamega and Vihiga counties. It is located in Kilingili Village nearby Kilingili Market, which gives the students and staff convenient access to services and foods.
The headteacher told us that "most parents are poor, but they make sure that their children get proper education by sacrificing the little they have to support it. Even though we are faced with challenges of lack of safe, clean drinking water and enough latrines, we have demonstrated excellence in our academic performance compared to schools which have everything within their reach. If we get these projects at our school, I am very much sure without a doubt that we are going to do much better than previous years."
A normal day for a Kilingili student begins at 6AM. They prepare for school, making sure they have a full jerrycan of water to be used for drinking and cooking. When they arrive, they start by sweeping the classrooms. After cleaning, they have morning study hall, regular lessons, and then an hour's lunch when they are sent home to find food. Students return for afternoon classes and are held for games and sports hour that starts at 3:30PM.
Though the school has a vegetable garden and a nursery for tree seedlings, the yield isn't close to meeting the school's needs. Teachers consume all of the vegetables, and students take the little trees home to plant.
Headteacher Omukhomba learned about the opportunity for a project when he visited Essumba Primary School last year and witnessed the improvements made there. He asked for our contact information, and we visited to assess the school's situation.
The school has a small 5,000-liter reservoir for catching and storing both rainwater and the water that students bring.
One of the most popular places for students to fetch the required water is an unprotected hand-dug well in their community. Unprotected means that there is no cover or pump to protect the well's water from the elements and contaminants. The fetching process itself contaminates the water inside; students have attached a plastic container to the end of the rope, lifting it up and down until their own containers are full.
Since the school only has 5,000 liters of storage, students' water is stored in their own containers.
There's no way to regulate where and how students get their water, and this has led to outbreaks of waterborne disease. Many students have to walk long distances in search of water, which consumes their time. No sufficient water source on school grounds means that valuable class time is spend on finding a sufficient amount of water to get them through, day by day.
There are 14 pit latrines, but not all of them are usable. They are made of concrete and plastered floors, brick walls, and roofed with iron sheets. Most are fit with wooden doors, but some of these doors have fallen off. Another block of latrines were condemned by the department of public health, declared too dangerous for small students. The leftovers are not nearly enough for a student population in the hundreds.
There is one hand-washing station with soap. Garbage is sorted in an open area out back to make a pit for burning and a pit for compost. This compost is used as fertilizers in the school garden.
"Many people lack information on basic health issues that affect them daily, and leads to many of them suffering in silence. When a disaster like an outbreak of a disease strikes, people start to talk of how to cure or treat it rather than taking measures to control its outbreak," said Headteacher John Omukhomba.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Parents, teachers, and students will be trained for two 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.
Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 50,000-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. 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! They will no longer have to worry about fetching and bring enough water for their needs each day.
Plans: VIP Latrines
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.
Plans: Hand-Washing Stations
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!
"For a very long time, we have never had any well-wishers or sympathizers of the school come to us, but Wewasafo has done where others have failed. We as a school believe that this is a New Year's gift for us from God and we tightly embrace it," said the headteacher.