Water Blogged

Kakamega project a success

Posted by Steve Hall on October 15

Kakamega Muslim 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 and handwashing stations for students, 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.

“This new water point will really be of great help to us,” said Head Teacher Mr. Silvester Oyuga.

“This school has been facing a lot of challenges due to a lack of water. The sanitation levels were down simply because the water was not enough. In addition, we used to borrow water from the high school section. This was a big challenge because they always required us to pay before they pumped the water over to us. In cases where they failed to give us the water, then our students were forced to go outside the school compound in a nearby spring to look for water. The place was so risky for these young children since it was so close to the street. This new water point will really be of help to us, we are so grateful.”

Here is an update from our implementing partner, The Water Project.

Rain Tank
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 by 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. Once finished, the tank was given 3 weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Kakamega Muslim Primary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

VIP Latrines
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.

Handwashing Stations
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.

New Knowledge
Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and Head Teacher Mr. Silvester Oyuga, who together helped ensure that the training date would be convenient for students, staff, and parent representatives. Mr. Oyuga and Sanitation Teacher Mrs. Claura Amatha helped by selecting students from each class to represent the others. Priority was given to those who are typically active in class and have a high level of participation.

23 students attended training. The majority of those who were selected were able to attend. In addition, other participants also came because they got interested and wanted to know what the rest were being taught. 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.

The level of participation for the attendees was high. This could be seen in how they responded to questions and were keen on what they were told. The pupils grasped the demonstrations given to them and were able to do exactly what they were told. Pupils were particularly interested in the session on personal hygiene and sanitation as they asked many questions. First, students wanted to know why they were encouraged to drink a lot of water, so we talked about how water keeps our skin from drying out, aids in digestion, and helps to reduce headaches, among the many other reasons. Under this topic, we also demonstrated solar disinfection as a free method for treating water, which the pupils were very interested in.

Later, while teaching the students about the parts and functions of the rain tank, they were very keen on understanding how it is cleaned. Everyone promised to be each other’s keeper and to help each other remember what they were told concerning maintaining the structures that they have been provided with. We took this as a good sign for the longevity of their rain tank.

“As the sanitation teacher of this school, this training will really be of great help to us,” said Mrs. Amatha.

“For a very long time, this school has had issues with sanitation and hygiene. This is because of the lack of water in our school. Being a Muslim school, water is also used in plenty. A lot of what the students didn’t have knowledge of has now been imparted to them. They will also share the same knowledge with those who didn’t attend this training so that they can all work together to ensure that sanitation and hygiene standards are high and that the project is well-sustained.”

Thank you to the following for making all of this possible:
Global Communications Academy, CT
Nancy Watkins and Family, MN
Reell Precision Manufacturing, MN

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