Nanganda Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which has the ability to collect 50,000 liters of water. We installed new latrines with handwashing stations and we trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. All of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.
Here is an update from our implementing partner, The Water Project.
Construction for this 50,000-liter rain tank was successful! Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, the school cooks prepared meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work. Local women and men helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.
The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a new rain tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater. Then, we cleared the site: excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast by laying hardcore on level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.
Both the drawing pipe as well as the washout pipe were affixed as the foundation was laid. The wall was built with ferro-cement techniques through 6 layers. The inner wall was plastered while rough casting was done on the outer part. Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed. Dome construction could begin after the superstructure had been given enough time to settle. The manhole cover was fitted, inlet pipes were connected to the roof gutters, inlet screens, ventilation pipes (breathers) and overflow pipes were all done to standard.
“We are very happy as a school for this new water point,” said teacher Mrs. Dinah Ramadhan. “As a teacher, I used to feel bad and I had low morale coming to teach in the morning because I would not get the pupils in my class since they were busy out fetching water from the spring. This used to leave our learning targets unmet due to most class time being spent at the spring. But, we want to appreciate and thank God for you because of the great support you have given us. This will indeed not only help us improve not only our health but also our academics and so we are grateful.”
Field Officer Jemmimah Khasoha, the lead officer for this project, remarked that “it was great working with the school. Even when the artisans were requesting a change in the quality of materials being collected, the school did not hesitate in availing them. This gave the artisans ample time in working together and building strong relationships with the school, which means that even when monitoring will be done in the subsequent months to come, there will be no difficulty,” she continued.
This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, half for girls and half for boys. All of these new latrines have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.
The 2 handwashing stations were delivered to the school and handed over to the student health club. These were placed outside of the girls’ and boys’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use. Health club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, make sure the stations are filled with water and work to ensure that there is always soap or ash available.
Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and the Head Teacher Mr. David Wamalwa, who together helped ensure that the training date would be convenient for students, staff, and parent representatives. Individual teachers helped by selecting students from each class to represent the others. We covered a number of topics, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; and operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new student health club will be greatly involved in project management and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.
While discussing the importance and proper 10 steps of handwashing, one pupil said she never knew that something like handwashing could have a procedure. For her, the main thing was ensuring water had passed over her hands, she explained. But by the end of the session, she said she understood that it is for her own good and the health of others that she should be keen to wash her hands with all 10 steps since learning that hands are one of the easiest transmitters of diseases.
“This training helped me to view life from a different perspective,” another pupil said. “I have realized that people and the environment that one comes from can affect your personality and you can change how that environment looks and thus how it affects you…I had heard of things like handwashing and I knew washing hands was something important but I was not aware of how easy it is to do all of the steps. Therefore I see this training as one of the treasures I have gotten to experience,” he finished.
A Special thank you to Varsity Lakes Middle School, FL and Aid for Africa for supporting this project!