This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water and Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Lugusi Primary School was started in the year 1978 as a special school for handicapped children living within the community. The school further decided to enroll other pupils who did not have special needs. Early in the morning, at 6AM, the pupils report to class for early studies as per the daily program of the school. At around 8AM, the pupils get out of their classes so they can carry out cleaning chores, particularly for the compounds and latrines.
There are 750 students enrolled at this school. There are eight teachers and three supplementary staff employed. (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 site would make a great location for a second project. To learn more, click here.)
Lugusi Primary School has a feeding program for the pupils of grades seven and eight. The pupils don't go home for lunch, but instead remain in class for food and studies. The school also sometimes hosts local events conducted by the Friends Church.
The Current Source
Kenya Finland Company drilled a borehole for the school in 1978, but it stopped working after a while. Something went wrong with the pump, and it is now unpredictable. The spare parts needed for repairs can no longer be found at the local market. Pupils often overcrowd the well to fetch water, especially for their daily chores. When water is needed, a lot of time is spent at the well since the pump system is not efficient with only a little discharge after a long wait.
As of now, students are also walking over one kilometer to another borehole in the community. This pump outside of the school is already worn out and must be pumped 10-15 minutes for water to flow. The well pad is also old and cracked, which allows for contaminants to reach the water inside. Students have had better luck using this well, however, since their own pump only yields a few drops at a time.
Due to the lack of safe water in this school, pupils end up spending time in the local hospitals seeking treatment for waterborne diseases. The most common ailments are typhoid and diarrhea. Because of all the absences, overall school performance has decreased dramatically. A lot of time is wasted at both water sources, especially at alternative borehole outside the school, as the community members also overcrowd this source seeking to fetch water that flows only in small quantities.
We plan to put a new Afridev pump on the school's well so students no longer have to leave campus to fetch water. This pump will access the water underneath that can serve the school even throughout the dry seasons. The pump will also be a huge upgrade because unlike the temporary Nira pump, Afridev pump spare parts can be easily found in the local market.
There are 10 latrines within the school compound that are washed on a daily basis. Many of the latrines have no doors, and none of them have covered pits. There is one hand-washing station without soap. There is also a dish rack available, but it does not have enough room for all containers and utensils to dry. The school population has a dumping site out back where they throw their garbage. The head teacher acknowledges that this area needs improvement, saying "Diseases are caused by poor hygiene. As a school, we still to put more focus on this so as not to be affected."
Two more hand-washing stations will be installed in the form of “tippy taps.” Tippy taps are containers tied to a rope; when the rope is pulled, it tips the container to pour water. Staff has already decided these stations should be used on a daily basis, but should then be stored inside during school holidays to avoid vandals.
Teachers and students will be trained in hygiene and sanitation over the course of three days. The facilitator will use the CHAST (Children’s Health and Sanitation Training) method to help students differentiate between good and bad practices, and will focus on encouraging students to be agents of positive change in their school and greater community. Not only will students and staff be educated on these important topics, but will together form a water user committee that will be responsible for the rehabilitated well and other sanitation facilities such as latrines and tippy taps. Students on the committee will make sure facilities are clean, tippy taps are filled with water, and that soap is always available. Training will also teach about alternatives, so if no soap is available, ash will be temporarily used.
The school is very excited and awaits this rehabilitation project. The pupils know this will have a huge impact on both their health and academics.
Project Results: Training
Training was held at the school for three consecutive days. The first day was set aside of lower primary, the second for upper primary, and the third was for distribution of hand-washing stations and demonstrations. A section of pupils from each grade was selected to attend, and parents and local leadership were also present.
The CHAST (Children’s Health and Sanitation Training) methods were used to teach different grades different topics:
For lower primary, they:
- Analyzed the problem: Learned how flies spread germs and how disease is spread in general
- Identified the problem: Memorized good and bad hygiene practices
- Practiced good behavior: Hand-washing exercises, toothbrushing, toilet use, and face-washing
For upper primary, they talked about:
- Clean is beautiful: Why do we wash hands? When? How?
- I drink safe water: Different types of water sources, differentiating between safe and unsafe water, water treatment
- Going to the latrine: How? Health risks of open defication, latrine maintenance
- My school is beautiful: Keeping a clean environment, anti-litter campaigns, roles of the school health club
- Germ-free food: Covering food and proper preparation
- How to prevent diarrhea: Fecal-oral disease transmission routes, symptoms of diarrhea, blocking transmission
The facilitator made sure students actively participated with each other in small and large groups. Presentations were also made with the help of a projector, and participants also enjoyed on-site training as they and their teachers walked the school campus, talking about what they saw.
The area's assistant chief, Mr. Fanuel Karakacha, expected the children to learn a lot of new things, but didn't expect it for himself. He said, "I have undergone a training that I had never had since I was born. Though it was meant for children, I have really benefited. I have an opportunity to live again!"
Three days of hygiene and sanitation training are a great kickstart to improving students’ school and home environments. And now that there is sufficient safe water within reach, the school and greater community will have more time and resources to address other issues: Most students go to school barefoot because they are from very poor families, and are at great risk of contracting more diseases from using dirty latrines with no shoes! [Editor’s Note: We hope to see this change in the near future. Ongoing conversations with our partner in Kenya will reveal how the improvements we have made, both in water and sanitation, unlock even greater things!]
These were delivered on the third day of training, and can be seen in the latest picture update. Students were trained on how to use and maintain these properly on that same day.
Construction for this well began on March 7th. The construction team took an entire day to remove the old well pad. If you like demolition work, this is exactly what they were doing! The cement was old and cracked, and thus had to be fully removed before the pad could be built again. The following two days, the team reconstructed the well pad with new materials: a composite of concrete, sand, and cement. The well pad was left to cure for three days before the Afridev pump was installed.
The school kept involved in this process, making sure the work team always had food! With everybody’s effort, there were no challenges and delays to construction. Head Teacher Shem Maumo knows that "this source will be of great help to the school and community at large."