This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Esibakala Primary School was started by Church of God in 1962. It is located in Esibakala Village, Esibakala Sub-Location, Ipali Location, Emuhaya West Ward, Emuhaya Sub-County, Emuhaya Constituency of Vihiga County. The school has 815 pupils enrolled, 346 of which are primary boys and 375 primary girls, 45 of which are early childhood boys and 49 early childhood girls. The school has a total of 17 teachers, of which 13 are employed by the Teachers Service Commission and four of which are teaching parents. There are also two watchmen and one cook.
(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. Students will also benefit from a second project in order to provide both the school and greater community with an adequate water supply. Students often travel to the closest water source, Margret Spring. To read about the Margret Spring protection project, click here.)
The school has no source of water within the compound. Students must instead fetch water from the Margret unprotected spring which is 200 meters away from the school, and another protected spring that is 500 meters away. Students spend a total of two hours each day getting water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. During the academic day, students and staff prefer to walk to the closer spring in order to save time. Water from the unprotected spring is not safe, and consuming it often results in malaria, stomachache, diarrhea, and typhoid. Students miss school when they come down with one of these water-related illnesses.
Many of these students attend school with empty stomachs, which make it hard to concentrate. They are from poor families who cannot afford any more than this, and students often miss school because of hunger headaches or overall weakness. The school infrastructure itself is in poor condition, and students that make it to school often come down with Jiggers.
The school has a total of 12 VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines and one urinal. Two latrines are for teachers, four for boys and six for girls. The latrines are not enough for the total population, which results in long lines and dirtier conditions. One of the male latrines is in bad condition, along with one of the female latrines.
Nor are there hand-washing facilities in the compound. Not using soap and water after using the latrine heightens the risk of diarrheal diseases.
Esibakala Primary School is appealing to WEWASAFO to consider their application for a rainwater harvesting tank and VIP latrines.
Child to Child Training
Child to child (CTC) training was held from November 17-18 at Esibakala Primary School. Total attendance was 13, comprised of eight students, one parent, two teachers, and two management committee members. The purpose of training was to equip teachers and pupils with the skills needed to effectively practice and promote good health and hygiene. After training, the school is expected to establish a CTC club that will oversee health and hygiene promotion.
CTC training is effective because students are effective agents of change in their community. Information is shared from one participants to a group of their pupils, and then those pupils do the same and also take the message home to parents and family.
The group brainstormed practices that promote healthy living in their community:
- Boiling or treating water before drinking
- Physical exercise
- Constructing new latrines
- Regularly cleaning sanitation facilities
- Planting trees
- Washing food before eating
- Storing water in clean containers
- Making and using compost pits
Participants learned that proper hand-washing helps break the disease transmission cycle. The facilitator emphasized when to was hands and then demonstrated the 10 steps of hand-washing. Each group member also had a chance to demonstrate the 10 steps in the front of the classroom.
Students and teachers were also able to brainstorm a list of responsibilities their school CTC club should have:
- Fill hand-washing facilities with water daily
- Ensure cleanliness of sanitation facilities and classrooms
- Report any repairs needed for the water tank or latrines
- Promote health and hygiene to peers
- Develop educational materials that will promote health
- Initiate and mange income-generating activities
The head teacher ended training by expressing their gratitude for both the efforts of both facilitator and participants. They look forward to academic and health improvements that will result from the 30,000 liter water tank and the efforts of the CTC club. Time wasted fetching water will soon be redirected into studies and other more valuable endeavors.
Rainwater Harvesting Tank
Construction of the rainwater harvesting tank for Esibakala Primary School is complete and now in use by students and staff. The school now has drinking water available from a safe water source within the compound. Before, students had to waste two hours per day to fetch water from an protected spring 2 km away. Thanks to another project, there is now a protected spring only 500 meters away, Margret Spring. Saved time is now being used for studying, and everyone has high hopes that these improvements will also lead to academic improvements.
Construction of two double-door VIP (ventilation improved pit) latrines is complete and are now being used by students. Two doors are meant for the girls, and the other two for the boys. This now gives the school a total of 16 bathroom facilities; six doors for boys, eight for girls, and two for teachers and staff. Students prefer to use the new facilities because two of the previously existing latrines are in extremely poor condition. Even with the new facilities, this school is still in need of more. The student to latrine ratio is well below that recommended by the World Health Organization, which says that there should be one door to 25 girls and one door to 30 boys.
Two hand-washing stations have been delivered to and installed in the school. Two stations was not remotely adequate for the large student population, so the school health club improvised by setting up tins filled with water. The pupils are now observing the good hygiene practices that they learned during training, such as always washing hands at important times. The head teacher promises to manage and maintain the facilities alongside the CTC club. Teachers, students, and parents are very grateful for all the support you have shown their school.
The Water Project and Esibakala Primary School Thank You for unlocking potential.