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
Namalenge Primary School was started as a nursery school in 1985, since the closest nursery school was in the neighboring village about 3.5 kilometers away. That's much too far for little ones to walk! Once the school received enough funds in 1995, they added grades to carry kids through primary school, too.
Now Namalenge Primary School is among those with the highest enrollment in Kakamega County, with about 1,000 students! Grade eight has 100 students squeezed into just one classroom. (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.)
Early in the morning, parents in Namalenge Village wake up early to prepare breakfast for their children. Once the children are off to school, the parents do what they can to earn a living: small scale farming, manual labor, or small businesses such as hawking or using a boda boda (motorbike) to taxi people around.
The school had some plastic tanks donated in the past, but these have a small capacity and only last a short time. To have enough water to get through the day, students have to walk to a nearby community that has a water source. Students carry the largest container they can to this protect spring, ranging from three to 10 liters in size. Since it's a community water source, students have to wait for locals to get their water first. They are then able to hold their small containers under the pipe until full.
Since the school needs water for cleaning, students' drinking, and cooking, it's not unheard of for students to have to travel to the spring for water more than once in a day.
Sanitation is a major challenge here. There are only 12 pit latrines for the entire student body: four for the boys and eight for the girls. With a shortage of water, these latrines are not cleaned as needed and are dangerously filthy by the end of the day. There would have been more latrines, but Headteacher Ywaya reports that "12 doors sunk on opening day, lucky enough no one got injured. But my concern is that due to high population of boys, sanitation is an issue because poor sanitation will lead to health problems."
Students don't wash their hands after using the pit latrines, either.
There is only one dish rack for the cook's utensils, but there's nowhere for students to store their own cups or water containers. Some Lifestraw filters were donated to the school, and they've been placed outside of the classrooms, so some of the fetched water is dumped directly in these. The rest of containers are just left out on the ground until they're needed. Even though water from the protected spring is clean, it is likely dirtied on the trip back to school and while it sits open on the ground.
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 be set aside for each gender. 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 have to leave the school whenever water is needed.
We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve - and these higher standards will translate to better academic performance for these students.