English, Kiswahili, mathematics, science, social studies and religious studies are the subjects taught here.
There are four incomplete classrooms and two semi-permanent (mud) classrooms that are not in good shape. Standard six and seven children have their lessons in the same classroom, separated only by papyrus reeds. A circular grass-thatched temporary gazebo structure has been built to serve as the staffroom for the teachers.
But the biggest issues is that there’s no water on school grounds. Instead, students have to go out into the community to find water between classes. They swing by the school kitchen and grab their plastic yellow containers, then walk about 500 meters to a spring.
Since community members and students both strive for this water, school children are sometimes requested to wait until all community members have fetched water first.
The walk back to school with water is tiring and students have trouble concentrating by the time they return to class. The water is also mishandled on the walk back – we witnessed a few students drinking straight from the water containers.
A lack of clean, safe water on school grounds is causing students to waste valuable time and energy. Most importantly, it negatively impacts their health. “If only we had access to adequate drinking water then we would be very far in terms of development. Most of our health problems are associated with lack of enough safe water,” said Teacher Mukagati.
This is the first year that the school is presenting their standard eight candidates for the national examination, Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, so the possibility of this water project couldn’t come at a better time. If water is available on school grounds, the students studying for their national examinations will have a great opportunity to perform well and get into a good secondary school.
They try to clean all buildings and latrines every morning, but the school is still very dirty. They need more latrines and water within the compound to use for cleaning. Classrooms, the kitchen, latrines, and every other building in the school is in very poor shape. The standard three classroom is the worst. They were advised to do some construction work otherwise it could be dangerous to students as its mud walls erode.
Training on good hygiene habits will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.
This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as handwashing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two handwashing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.
“I’m pained most by our status in terms of latrines. Boys and girls of different ages, 326 students in total sharing three latrines is very bad. We do not like it, but we have no option. If you help us construct more latrines it will be a big relief to me. Nothing gives me headache in this school like the condition and scarcity of students’ latrines,” said Mr. Njusi, school board chairman.
All of the teachers are sharing just one latrine regardless of gender.
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls while the other three serve the boys. And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean.
Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water from the spring for mixing cement.
This is a rural area with peasant farming as the major source of income, thanks for the adequate rains received every year. These adequate rains will fill the tank and make it a good source of water for the school.
This community believes that education is the first and best weapon they will use to fight poverty. This is an institution with very good board members, who even though they are not doing well financially, struggle so much to ensure the school is up and running. To quote the chairman of the board, Mr. Njusi, “We desire to promote hygienic care and support to our children so as to strengthen the ability of the village to produce disciplined future leaders, and this will be made possible with availability of enough water and sanitation facilities in the our school.”
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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