In the Ruiru district of Kenya most of the school children, particularly from Kibii Primary School, must walk for 5-8 kilometres daily to attend school. This school, along with Thome Primary school, were the two schools that were assessed at the beginning of 2010 as having the highest vulnerability of water and sanitation related illness.
At Thome Primary School – where students’ families typically live below the official poverty threshold – 720 children had to share just six latrines. This is a staggering 120 students per latrine, more than five times the Kenyan Government standard of 25 students per latrine. The diseases associated with this lack of safe water and sanitation prevent the children from attending school, force their mothers to leave the fields to care for their sick children and leads to low educational attainment in children. Together, all these factors contribute to deepening the poverty in these areas.
In an endeavour to reduce the rate of absenteeism and to improve the health of the pupils, Just a Drop installed eight girls’ latrines and eight boys’ latrines with two urinals in each school, and two rain water harvesting tanks. The children were also given WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) training through the newly established sanitation clubs in each of the schools.
Mr Michael Gichia, Project Director of the Murera Community Empowerment and Support organisation said, “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the staff of Just a Drop and Hayes & Jarvis… even though the world has experienced hard economical moments, you people have gone a step forward and made the dreams of many marginalised children from poor backgrounds come true”.
The girls from Thome primary school (pictured) said, “We used to avoid the school toilets because they were dirty. We didn’t feel clean and didn’t want to use the bad toilets that we shared with boys. The latrines had no privacy and we used our pullovers to cover the openings of the wooden facilities. The toilets here are now enough for us; they are hygienic, clean and provide privacy. We have our own toilets away from the boys and we also have enough water for drinking and washing our hands.”
Date of Project: November 2011
Beneficiaries: 1,186 students and teachers