Kathungu School- H2O’s first school revisited!
The H2O for Life team visited Kathungu School in Kenya to see how WASH in Schools has impacted the students.
We were warmly welcomed by all teachers, the parent committee and our implementing partners from Kenya Rainwater Association. In 2008, Irondale HS helped fund a rainwater catchment system for Kathungu Primary School. We are delighted to report that the tank is full following the rains, and students and staff have access to drinking water. The tank has experienced no problems and is working as it should be.
This year, a family decided that they wanted to help a school in need. They supported the building of latrines that were desperately needed for the girls. A block of 8 latrines was constructed and dedicated on the day we arrived at Kathungu. (The latrines have been under use for the past 2 months) The latrines are wonderful. They are clean, sturdy and offer privacy for the girls. Teachers and students report that there is no longer a queue during bathroom breaks and that the girls are proud of the latrines and are working to keep them clean. More girls are attending school.
The school has a plan that assigns grade levels from standard 6-8 to take turns cleaning the latrines. The teachers also provide hygiene education in the classrooms, focused on handwashing and proper use of the latrine.
Has it made a difference? Yes! Teachers report that school attendance has increased, particularly for girls. There is more time spent on studies now that students do not have to walk to the river to collect water. I had the opportunity to accompany several US girls and Kenyan girls on the walk to the river for water. It took about 25 minutes round trip to complete the journey, Once we reached the river, the water was muddy, and as we filled the water containers, the cows came and walked into the water to drink- RIGHT next to us. Obviously, the water is contaminated. There is not a way for the students to purify the water upon returning to class, so they drink the polluted water.
The school, due to the addtion of water, is working to add a small dormitory so that some of the students that walk 45min to an hour each way, may board at the school M-F. They hope to have the dorms completed sometime next year. This will allow students that experience great hardship, especially during the rains to attend school.
We also witnessed many improvements in the community due to the fact that the community has seen how a good water source and an improved latrine can affect their lives. Many homes have added small rainwater catchment systems and have built VIP latrines.
Thanks Irondale for your past work in Kathungu Village. The Community asked that we send their greetings and thanks.