This project is a part of our shared program with the Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Esibila Primary School is located in Vihiga County, Esibila Village, Ipali location, Ebusekwe sub-location, West Bunyore Ward, Emuhaya sub-County. 810 pupils attend the school. The student body is composed of 388 boys and 422 girls, which is taught by 13 TSC teachers, composed of nine women and four men. There are also five PTA teachers and two 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. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
There is not enough access to clean water within the school compound. As a result, students are forced to cross the road and walk 500 meters to an unprotected spring. This road is traveled by speeding motorbikes that risk injury to the children with each crossing.
Pupils spend a lot of valuable class time, even hours, making trips in search of enough water to supply the school food program and clean the facilities. Once the children find water and fill their jugs, they struggle to carry the weight under their small frames. These full jugs can even stunt the growth of the children's spines. And with such long, encumbered walks, children are subjected to greater risk of sexual assault.
Once the water is back to school and consumed, diarrhea outbreaks often follow. The physical effects cause students to miss school.
There are eight latrines for boys and seven for girls. There are also three for teachers. These latrines are all in poor states and are almost full. There is so much pressure with so few latrines that the teachers share their personal bathrooms with students. When these bathrooms are full, students must resort to going outside behind the buildings.
Improper waste disposal and no water for washing hands breeds disease and illness such as Cholera, Typhoid, Trachoma, and Hepatitis. These outbreaks make education impossible for the school.
Effects on Female Students
The head teacher reports that many girls are not able to attend school on a regular basis because their main responsibility is to hunt for water. This requires many hours of walking and hauling every day. These absent hours obviously affect school performance in all realms, including final exams.
When girls reach puberty, they often choose to drop out of class permanently because school facilities do not offer enough privacy and cleanliness.
Improved latrines and sanitation facilities coupled with safe water access, can significantly improve school attendance, especially for girls. Studies have shown that with both clean water and accessible bathroom facilities, female school enrollment rates increase by over 15%.
The head teacher and school are appealing to WEWASAFO for help putting in a water tank and sanitation facilities. They know that with these installations, there will be a remarkable increase in female student attendance.
WEWASAFO held training for 19 adults and students from September 29-30 in the school compound. The students present were chosen for their leadership qualities, and the adults present included school management and teachers.
The school's head teacher, Mr. James Amukowa, urged participants to take training with the seriousness it deserves, since it will greatly impact water management, sanitation facilities, and hygiene both in the compound and the greater community. He also opened training by introducing the improvements being implemented within the school compound: a 30,000 liter water tank, four VIP latrines, and two hand-washing facilities. These improvements will result in less waterborne illnesses, less road-related fatalities (due to crossing the street for out-of-compound water), and overall academic improvement. In fact, Mr. Amukowa said that "In June this year, we lost a standard seven pupil on a road accident while she was crossing the road to get water from the nearby spring..."
Facilitators used Child To Child (CTC) methodology to teach about proper and attainable health methods. The overall objective of CTC is to promote and preserve the health of communities worldwide by encouraging and enabling children to play an active and responsible role in the health and development of both themselves and other children in the community. (Children often have a strong influence on their peers, and choosing the students with observable leadership qualities can ensure CTC's success. The community will not only have teachers that live out these new methods, but also children. CTC is essentially children teaching children.)
This CTC training will result in a CTC club on campus. The group was able to agree on the following responsibilities for club members:
- Fill hand-washing facilities with water
- Promote good health and hygiene in the school
- Ensure general cleanliness of classrooms, compound, and toilets
- Report problems with the toilets and hand-washing facilities
- Develop health promotion materials for the school and community
- Start health fundraisers at the school
- Demonstrate and teach proper hand-washing, toilet use, and water treatment to other children
Children were encouraged to assess the health situation in their homes using the Child-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) method. Environmental awareness was raised as students thought about where they use the bathroom, clean clothes, and cook and store food. These activities are all connected through flies and run-off. The facilitator gave each of the participants a drawn diagram of these connections, and elicited responses and ideas about how to separate different activities.
A list of health precautions were agreed upon:
- Boil water before drinking
- Use Water Guard and chlorine to treat water
- Construct proper latrines
- Do not drink water directly from the tap
- Clear bushes around homes and the school compound
- Keep grass within the school compound short
- Pick up litter within and around the school compound
The facilitator also taught participants the proper way to wash hands: Wet hands with water, apply soap, rub hands together, position hands downwards, rinse, and then dry.
With the completion of both training and sanitation projects, Esibila Primary School students and teachers will enjoy both better health and a better educational experience.
RESULTS OF THE PROJECT:
Construction of the rainwater harvesting tank in Esibila primary school is complete and now in use.
The school now has access to clean safe drinking water within the school compound. Pupils no longer have to make several trips to draw water from unprotected spring which is ½ a kilometer away from the school. As a result, pupils have saved a lot of valuable class time which they lost previously from making several trips in search of water enough for cleaning and supplying the school feeding programme. The pupils are now making good use of the saved time to study. Performance in the school has now improved. This was proven from the head teacher’s word when he was appreciating the projects in the school. He was very optimistic that they will do even better.
Cases of absenteeism in the school have also reduced. With the availability of water in the school, more girls have been motivated to attend school since they know they will not be sent by teachers in search of water. The risk of harassment and sexual assault for girls has been reduced since they no longer have to go outside the school compound during class hours. Female teachers are also happy that the burden of following girls to fetch water is no longer there. Again, the pupils no longer face the risk of being knocked down by the fast motorbike riders as they cross the road in search of water.
The pupils no longer have to carry heavy jerricans that are heavy for their small frame and put great strain on their bodies. Therefore the development of their spines as they grow is not affected anymore.
Severe outbreaks of diarrheal diseases reported amongst the children as a result of drinking contaminated water have reduce tremendously.
Construction of 2, double door VIP latrines in the school is now complete and in use. The sanitation facilities in the school are still a challenge.
This is because even with the additional sanitation facilities, they are still no enough to serve the entire population. One door on average is serving 39 boys and 47 girls. This is still far above the recommended ratio of the World Health Organization which states that one door should serve 30 boys and 25 girls. The girls are most affected by this circumstance. The girls still share the sanitation facilities with the teachers due to the pressure on the existing facilities. But the school is excited for the stop of progress that these new latrines represent.
HAND WASHING FACILITY
Two hand washing stations were delivered and installed in the school and now in use. These are the only facilities in the school and are also serving the teachers. Hand washing at five critical points following the ten steps in hand washing as demonstrated during the trainings will go a long way in enhancing hygiene and sanitation hence reducing cases of water borne diseases.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE THIS PROJECT POSSIBLE!