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).
Shitirira Primary School is a public mixed school for both boarding and day students. It is sponsored by Friends Church Quakers. Most of the pupils that attend this school come from within the Shitirira area. Every morning Monday to Friday, the non-boarding students report to school with the hope of shaping their futures. They are seen with small jerrycans of water and bags on their backs carried all the way from home to school.
Shitirira Primary School has 700 students enrolled. It also employs 16 teachers and four supplementary staff (such as a cook, security guards, etc.). (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.)
The Current Source
The boarders fetch water each evening from the neighbor's home; the neighboring family has an unprotected shallow well, but it is prone to drying up because the consumer demand is so high. In fact, pupils are not able to access the neighbor's well during dry seasons because it dries up completely. It is obvious this source is contaminated since it lets in pump "backwash," general runoff, and trash. Since it has no working pump, those fetching water have to lower a bucket tied to a rope. This bucket is passed between hands and rests on the ground when left unused. All containers used around this unprotected well are clearly not clean. The buckets, basins, and jerrycans used to fetch and store water are only rinsed with the same, contaminated water. Even though it is obvious this water is dirty, people are not aware that boiling the water before drinking is an important treatment. After drinking this water, many cases of waterborne disease have been reported.
The school also has a well of their own, but the pump broke. This well was drilled in 1989 by the Kenya Finland Company, but the pump installed included lots of hard-to-replace parts. Since the local market does not carry these parts, the school installed a temporary Nira pump that has also since broken down. The school also has some rainwater catchments systems, but these dry up along with the neighboring shallow well, causing nothing to be available during the dry seasons. With the lack of a safe water source within the school campus, the academic performance of the pupils suffers. This is quite an aggravation for the teachers who know that a potentially long-lasting water system stands within their school compound and yet it is currently inaccessible. The head teacher, Mr. Musia, explains, "This is the only safe water source around though we did not manage to maintain because we lack the spare parts in the market. This has made the pupils to carry water from their homes, in different kind of container which are not clean. The water comes from different sources in which is not treated thus results in waterborne diseases." The rehabilitation of this school's well will save the users both their time and their health.
There are 16 latrines within the school compound, but some do not have doors. Each of these pit latrines is cleaned three times a week by students. There are also bathing rooms available, and one hand-washing station. There are four clotheslines, creating an ample amount of space for boarding students to dry their clothes up off of the ground. The school has a designated dumping site for trash. Though they have all of these facilities, they lack knowledge on how to clean the right way, maintain personal hygiene, and store water and food properly. Students and staff will greatly benefit from the health tips they can learn during hygiene and sanitation training.
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.
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 teach a session about how to treat and store water. 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.
During the initial survey of this site, the local assistant chief was fully engaged in ensuring that the whole community is sensitized and has full information in regards to the rehabilitation of this well. The assistant chief has also promised to ensure that SAWASHI has the necessary environment to complete this anticipated project.
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.
During the course of this project, a school from the neighboring Rift Valley County visited Shitirira Primary to learn what they could from them. A group of these visiting pupils also joined the others for hygiene and sanitation training.
At the close of training, Head Teacher Kefa Musia shared, "The knowledge my school has been trained on is of great help. This is what will help to ensure that the health of the pupils and teachers is good, hence promoting good academic performance."
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 9th. 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. The head teacher added his sureness that with this water source for students, there will be "improvement in the school performance since time will be saved for studies." With all these structures in place, SAWASHI anticipates a ripple effect of even more positive results in terms of behavioral change and academic performance!