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
A normal day for students attending Lukala Primary School begins at 6:30am. Students are required to start their day by cleaning for an entire hour; this includes going to the spring to fetch water for those chores. Different classes fetch water for different uses: class four for washing latrines, class five for drinking, and class six for cooking.
Lukala Primary School is unique in that its student enrollment is growing very quickly while maintaining high academic performance. Its first Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam was done in 2015, on which they earned a mean of 275. The school earned a mean of 295 on its second, a clear indicator that the school hosts a committed and hardworking group of people.
The current enrollment stands at 826 students. and there are 14 teachers and four supplementary staff in the school's employ. (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.)
You will see a picture of a well here, but it was not drilled to an adequate depth to sustainably serve this school; it dried up soon after its installation. After further geological survey, we found that drilling deeper wouldn't even be a lasting solution to restore water at this well.
Without a water point on school grounds, students spend a lot of time walking to, waiting at, and returning from a spring. Each student carries a 10-liter plastic container that they're required to bring from home. Since Omina Spring is located in the surrounding community, the adults living there ask that the students wait at the back of the line until they are all finished. Because of dozens of families and hundreds of students all relying on this one spring, the lines are always long.
Though the water from Omina Spring is clean, there is a high chance of water contamination from the walk back to school to its larger storage container. Not only was a lot of time spent fetching water, but there is no guarantee of maintained safety up to the point of consumption. In fact, it is obvious the water is contaminated during transportation and storage because reports of waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera are not uncommon.
The school has received some Life Straw water filter containers, but many students get thirsty on their way back from the spring and drink the water raw. Other students just don't understand the importance of filling their drinking cups at the Life Straw as opposed to any other container.
There are six usable pit latrines on school grounds. The boys have two set aside for their use, and the urinal they had has collapsed. However, boys are still relieving themselves there because they cannot bear the long wait for the latrine. The girls have the leftover four latrines. That means there is only one latrine for 188 boys and one per 95 girls.
There are no hand-washing stations for students or staff for after they use these latrines! Garbage is disposed of in a pit dug behind the classrooms. When this gets too high, school staff burns the excess.
Teacher Clasina Wabuyabo told us, "The health situation of my school is not good, many of the pupils especially those from lower classes are reported frequent absenteeism due to diarrhea cases. I can conclude this is because of the water which is carelessly drawn from the spring and lack of skills and knowledge of washing hands thus leading to stomach problems."
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 serve the girls while the other three serve the boys. And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean.
Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water from the spring for mixing cement (students have already started helping). 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 and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance! Lukala Primary School could become the best school in Etenje Ward.