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
Bukura Primary School is located in a community of early-risers. People are astir as early as 5am, with the women preparing their children for school. Students are on their way by 6:30am, seen balancing the weight of school bags and a jerrycan full of water. While the children are off at school, the adults move to their farms where they tend to sugarcane and maize crops. The sugarcane is hard to grow, but is worth the effort because of the local Mumias Sugar Factory that buys it for a decent price.
Bukura Primary School leadership sent our office a letter requesting help after they saw the huge improvements at St. Stephen's Eshihaka Secondary School, and so we sent our staff to visit in person to collect the following information:
Bukura Primary School has two small rainwater catchment tanks, the smallest one by the kitchen and a larger one by the classrooms. Even when full, these tanks can unfortunately only serve the 671 students and 21 staff for a short time (It would have to rain every single night for there to be enough water available!).
(Editor’s Note: A single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. By adding a tank with a large water capacity, we hope to supplement the small amount of water the school already has - and of course we intend that students no longer have to carry heavy containers of water to school. To learn more, click here.)
Administration has asked students to help alleviate the water shortage by carrying their own personal supply of water to be used during the school day. Certain classes are required to carry water with them on certain days. Students often fill their container at convenient sources on the way to school, and show up with water that is visibly dirty. However, there's just no way for the teachers to confirm whether or not the water students bring is safe. Students tend to carry their jerrycans with them throughout the day so they won't lose them; parents expect them to return home with them again in the evening.
All of this water is used for drinking, cooking, and then cleaning, if there's enough left over. The oldest grades remain at school for lunch served by the cook, while younger students are sent home to get food from their parents. Teachers record a great number of absences due to typhoid, a complication that arises after drinking this dirty water.
This is a rocky area, which has presented challenges to the school as they try to add new facilities. Some of the newer latrine units collapsed soon after their construction. Because of such a high student population, the few units left are not nearly enough to meet their needs. Huge lines form during class breaks as hundred share around a dozen latrines.
There is no cleanliness to be found at the latrines, between the water shortage and overuse. Human waste covers the floor.
There are only two hand-washing stations filled with water from the students' jerrycans, which run out very quickly.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations
Training will be held for two days for teachers, staff, students, and parent representatives. 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. The school will no longer have to rely on the small amounts of (often contaminated) water carried by students. Between this 50,000-liter tank and the two smaller plastic ones, the school should be able to ration water to serve everyone even through the dry season.
Plans: VIP Latrines
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed, normally 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.
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!