Water Blogged

Sikhendu Primary School, Kenya

Posted by Steve Hall on February 6, 2020

Sikhendu Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which can collect 50,000 liters of water. They installed new latrines for students, handwashing stations, and 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 is the completion report from our implementing partner, The Water Project.

“The children were wasting a lot of time going to fetch water from home during dry seasons, but now, with the availability of water in the school, the children are enjoying their breaks and lunch sessions,” said teacher Salome Kabosa.

Sikhendu Primary School members are indeed grateful for the project that will change their lives in a big way. They will now enjoy clean drinking water in the school compound. Before, they had very few pit latrines which were barely enough for the huge population. With the additional pit latrines constructed, the congestion has decreased.

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: 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 to 4 weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Sikhendu Primary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. The celebration was a great chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we’ve given, as well as remind them of our continued support as they develop.

VIP Latrines
This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, 3 for girls and 3 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.

New Knowledge
The project officer together with the deputy headteacher planned for a hygiene and sanitation training. They ensured that the training date would be convenient for students. The participants were recruited from classes 4 to 6, both boys and girls, and were instructed to be ready in the assigned classroom on Wednesday at 11 o’clock. The headteacher, deputy headteacher, and some teachers also attended at one point of the training. The day of the training was hot. We conducted the training in one of the new classrooms in the school which had not been officially opened for the pupils to use. This created the perfect quiet environment away from distractions.

We covered several 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 participants were very involved and active since initiatives were being handed to the most active pupil which made everyone to be keen during training. The students were taught how to develop themselves through the Child to Child club so that the lessons that were learned during the training could be taught to fellow students and maintained in the future. The new group plans to meet every Thursday at 3:30 PM, which was decided by the end of the training.

“The training will help us know how to maintain the tank so that it can serve us for as long as possible,” said Headteacher Carolyne Musonye.

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.

Thank you to Westridge School For Girls in California for making all of this possible!

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