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
Matende Girls High School was started in the year 1974 by its sponsor Church of God. Their purpose was to make sure that children living in the area were educated, empowered and in turn developing their entire community.
The school now has a total of 450 girls and employs 26 teachers and 11 support staff. The girls are a mix of both boarders and day scholars.
Girls boarding at the school wake up at 4:30AM to prepare for morning study hall which begins at 5AM. Day scholars arrive at 6:30AM for daily cleaning. Normal lessons run between 8AM and 4PM with two breaks and a lunch hour in between. Students are sent to the field for games and sports for two hours after classes, whereafter the day scholars leave for home and boarders eat supper and study on their own.
During our first visit to the school, the lack of proper water was obvious. The school gets water from a well for a portion of the year, and they have a few plastics tanks for storing well water and rainwater. The water here is not sufficient for the entire school population, especially since it is a boarding school.
What's worse, the well does not provide water during the driest season of the year (a period of three months or more). And throughout the changing seasons, the well continues to silt up, exacerbating the low levels. In this situation, the school must buy water from vendors. The water purchased from vendors is not only inadequate, but it’s quite expensive. Poor health and thus low academic performance is always reported during these water-scarce times of the year.
The school’s sanitation level is quite low and needs to be addressed. There are 10 doors of poorly-constructed pit latrines in the boarding section, and 10 doors in the learning section. Two of each set of latrines belong to the teachers and any other visitors.
The school only has one improvised hand-washing facility being used by teachers, compromising sanitation and hygiene among students. Students are at a high risk of contracting water and hygiene-related diseases, thus leading to a high rate of absenteeism and a massive spending of resources on treatment.
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 50,000-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, and hand-washing.
Plans: VIP Latrines
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed, providing six new latrines just for the students. 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.
Principal Elizabeth Musambai said, "Today, everybody is advocating for education for the girl child. Matende Secondary is one of the schools tasked with that noble task. It is a fact that this cannot be achieved if the school does not have sufficient and clean water. The project being undertaken by WEWASAFO will go along way in ensuring that he girl child is clean and well taken care of. This will indeed motivate the girls to work hard and better their performance because they will also be studying in a clean environment."
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!