St Joseph Matoyi Primary School is found in the western part of Kenya, Kakamega County. This area is known as a sugar cane growing zone near the Bunyala Forest. Sugar cane farming is extremely hard on the farmers because it requires so much work and resources, that even though these farmers have commercial farms, they still don’t earn much money.
At home, children help their parents with many chores like fetching water, taking care of the cows and goats, and general housework. They must walk to school because they have no other means of transportation. The village has one unprotected water source that is always at risk of contamination. Women and girls must wake up at 4am every day and walk 5 Km to fetch water. They must pass through the sugar cane plantation and forest where they are sometimes attacked by animals and the girls have even been assaulted. Even when girls get to school late, they are still forced to fetch water during break and play time. Because the water source is unprotected, it is unsafe and makes people sick. Teachers report that pupils suffer from stomach pain and diarrhea and parents must spend the little money they have on treatment. As a result, there is a 30% absenteeism rate at the school, performance is poor, and many are late to school everyday.
Women in Water and Natural Resource Conservation will construct a 15,000 liter rainwater harvesting tank, 12 biosand filters, and train the teachers and pupils to make soap. The water tank will bring water right to the school grounds so the students can concentrate on their studies. The biosand filters, a simple water filter that we can build that removes 90-99% of the germs that make people sick, will improve water quality through filtration and will reduce water borne disease like diarrhea, cholera and other diseases. We anticipate that having safe water available onsite will reduce absenteeism and increase student performance, because students can be present in class and focus on their work instead of being sick from dirty water. Money that parents are now using to pay for water related illnesses will now be used to buy school supplies like books and pens. Handmade soap, made by a school Water Sanitation and Hygiene Club (WASH Club) will prevent water borne disease and increase good hygiene practices on campus. The Club will share the WASH knowledge, like encouraging students to wash hands, protect their water sources, drink clean water and take care of their water technologies. The WASH Club will further train their teachers, other students and their parents at home.
H2O for Life is not a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) project implementer. We have partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) implementing WASH in Schools projects around the world. Our NGO partners match funds needed for each school project. We also have a generous donor that provides us with an interest-free loan that, along with matching funds, allows for many projects to be started or possibly even completed before total funds have been raised. In rare situations we reserve the right to reallocate funds to alternate project(s).
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