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
St. Albert Shanjero Primary School was started in the year 1980 by a man known as Albert. The first classes were held in a mud house. He began this school because pupils were traveling long distance to Shibuye Primary School. Before this school started, Shanjero was a center for local brew pubs where children would stay the entire day drinking instead of walking to Shibuye.
So Albert worked hard for the school to start - And finally, the parents supported him too. The school began with just 12 pupils and has since grown to a high enrollment of 849. It is located in Shanjero Village of Kakamega County, Kenya. The school also employs 17 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. To learn more, click here.)
Students wake up by 6am to look for water to carry to school, which will be used for drinking, cleaning, and cooking. They start with morning study hall from 6:30am to 7:30am and then do some cleaning activities until normal classes at 8am. The school cooks prepare lunch for all students to be eaten at 12:45pm. Before they are dismissed in the late afternoon, students must stay to participate in clubs for an hour.
Students have to carry as much water as they can every morning, because there's no water source anywhere near the school. If there isn't enough, they have to wait until the following day.
They are connected to the Lake Victoria pipe system, which is not reliable because it comes on once a week for a short time. There is no nearby spring which pupils can fetch water from, so pupils carry water from home to school every day. A tank was seen as we entered the school, but it is only 4,000 liters. As the headteacher reports, they have been harvesting water but she says it barely scratches the surface of their overall need.
This has made pupils perform poorly because they waste a lot of time looking for water. Because they bring water from unknown sources to school, students are subjected to typhoid and other complications. We traveled with them to one of the springs they fetch water from, which was an eye-opening experience (see pictures).
There is inadequate access to sanitation facilities in the school; there are a total of 20 latrines, some of which are already full. 10 doors are available for girls with the 10 others for the boys. This is still far below the agreed ratio of having one door to serve 25 girls and one door to serve 30 boys.
At Shanjero Primary School, long lines are witnessed during breaks, with waits that cut into class and precious study time. Some students cannot bear the wait, and find another private place to relieve themselves. An even worse challenge is that due to road construction, all the latrines have to be demolished.
There are no hand-washing stations for students to wash their hands after using the latrines, nor before they eat lunch.
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. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer be responsible to find enough water to carry to school every day.
We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance!