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).
Ebwambwa Primary School was started by the Ebwambwa Baptist Church. The church met this need in 1973 when they realized children had to walk to the neighboring Mwiyala Village for school. Ebwambwa Primary School is located 1.5 km from Kakamega-Webuye road in Ebwambwa Village, Sichirayi sub-location, Shieywe location of Lurambi Constituency within Kakamega County.
The school has a total population of 670 students; 580 in primary school and 90 in early education. There are 306 male primary students and 274 female primary students. In early education, there are 58 male students and 32 females. There are 16 teachers employed by the Teachers Service Commission, three early education teachers, and three support staff.
The school compound has only one 5000 liter rainwater collection tank. This capacity is not sufficient to serve such a large student population that has to use water to clean, cook, and drink.
Since the safest water source is 3 km away, the school must buy water from local vendors every day. The Board of Management chairperson Mr. Andrew Harambee reports that they buy 15 and 20 liter jugs per day at KSH 20. This puts the daily spending average at Ksh 300 (roughly USD 3). That adds up to KSH 900 monthly (USD 9) and KSH 81,000 yearly (around USD 762).
This is a lot of money to spend when the school already lacks proper sanitation facilities. But chairperson Harambee says that this money must be spent to avoid waterborne disease outbreaks. Though even after this effort and money spent, the student body has suffered from diarrhea, typhoid, and amoeba illnesses.
The old sanitation facilities the school has are comprised of 16 doors; eight for the boys and eight for the girls. The latrines are 3/4 full and have serious cracks in the floor.
The latrine situation is similar to the water situation; there is not enough to go around. There are long lines for each door during breaks, so many students choose to relive themselves behind the buildings and rocks on the school compound.
After students have made it through the queue, they have no means of washing their hands. Chairperson Harambee says that this is a big reason the student body has been suffering from diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and various parasitic infections. The head teacher also reported many incidences of round worms, whip worm, and schistosomiasis. She said that these outbreaks have a strong negative impact on students' health, attendance, learning capacities, and overall performance.
The head teacher confirmed that the school received a letter from the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation because of these poor conditions; especially the cracked latrines that pose danger to students.
Beyond the waterborne diseases, the head teacher has also noticed six cases of Jiggers. This is the result of dirty classrooms. The classrooms do not have enough desks and the roofs leak rainwater.
School administration and the Board of Management has submitted a letter to WEWASAFO requesting assistance to build another water tank and new sanitation facilities for the pupils.
Child to Child Training
Child to child (CTC) training was held from October 13-14 at Ebwambwa Primary School. There were 13 in attendance of which were three teachers, two parents, six pupils, and two WEWASAFO staff. The participants were excited to be involved in the workshop and both willing and ready to learn.
CTC training is important because children are great agents for change, and if given a chance, they can bring positive change to both other peers and their greater community. Students agree to be part of a CTC Health Club that has the following responsibilities:
- Educate others on using sanitation facilities
- Ensure hand-washing stations are in working order and filled with water daily
- Clean latrines
- Conserve water
- Educate others (even parents) on good health and hygiene practices
The participants agreed that health can be promoted only if they do the following activities:
- Use clean and safe water
- Sweep the school compound
- Collect waste
- Wash latrines daily
- Plant more trees
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise
- Practice personal hygiene (wash hands at critical times)
- Clear excess brush and cut grass
Participants were then taken through a session that taught the 10 steps for thorough hand-washing. Both students and staff will share what they learned in their communities.
The deputy head teacher thanked both the donor and organization for selecting their school for this project. Since 1973, the school had suffered through many challenges, the greatest being a lack of clean water. The next step will be to follow an action plan that introduces new concepts to the entire staff and student body, recruits new CTC members, and generates income.
Rainwater Harvesting Tank
Construction of the Ebwambwa Primary School rainwater harvesting tank is complete and now in use. The school now has access to safe drinking water, which will be sufficient for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Before, the school's food and water program was very limited; but now, school management is planning on starting a program for the entire school!
The school no longer purchases water from local vendors, making the Board of Management chairperson, Mr. Harambee, very happy: "The Water Project has relieved us of such a great burden. We used to spend around Ksh 81,000 every year just to get water for the school. The money we have saved will be used to develop other infrastructure in the school. The face of the school will now change."
Overall sanitation and hygiene has improved, because students now have enough water to clean classrooms and latrines.
Construction of two double-door VIP (ventilation improved pit) latrines is complete and they are now in use. Two doors are meant for the girls and two for the boys. These facilities have greatly reduced the time students have to wait in line. Many of the students prefer these new facilities because they are safer and more comfortable.
The head teacher is very grateful for the new latrines, but also asks that the organization return to build even more. The latrines present are still not enough for such a large student population.
Two hand-washing facilities were delivered and installed in the school compound. They are now in use by the entire school. As you can imagine, the lines for hand-washing are quite long! Since this is the case, many students do not have time to make it through the line before class starts again. The CTC club came up with an improvised solution, installing ropes and tins as a supplement.
The entire school and staff is very grateful for this project. Thank You!