The story of how safe water changed a school 

ABC Ilalambyu Primary School is the beating heart of Ilalambyu; a small village located in one of the most marginalised areas in Kitui County, Kenya. The school has been working hard to establish itself as a school known for its academic excellence, but the lack of safe water on school grounds has made this inspiring ambition more difficult to reach than you might think.

It used to be the order of the day for pupils to carry up to 5 litres of water with them to school, along with their school bags and sometimes even firewood. That’s quite a heavy load for a child of primary school age to carry! The children would arrive at school tired and often dehydrated, making it difficult to concentrate in class and leading to poor exam performance. Even parents were expected to carry 20 litres of water, when called upon by the school. However, the school still needed 600 litres of water a day to operate, so there was always a shortfall.

Once the water arrived at school it would be used for drinking, food preparation, and whatever could be spared would be used for hygiene purposes. But the water, which had been collected from open river sources, was in fact unfit for human consumption, causing many pupils to miss school as a result of water borne diseases like diarrhoea. This obvious health risk was exacerbated by the lack of hygiene and sanitation facilities at the school.

But these days, things are very different at ABC Ilalambyu Primary School

By working with the community and the school, Just a Drop built a 104,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank, capable of collecting safe water during the rainy seasons and ensuring that the 253 pupils, 11 teachers and 2 staff members of ABC Ilalambyu Primary School have access to clean safe water on school grounds, all year round.

With a reliable source of clean water, both students and teachers can enjoy a safer and healthier environment, concentrating on getting an education without worrying every day about where the day's water will come from.

As part of our holistic approach, Just a Drop also facilitated hygiene and sanitation training at the school, known as WASH training, including training in how to make a sustainable supply of soap to ensure the upkeep of high hygiene standards at the school. By using a range of games and roleplay exercises, the children learnt about personal hygiene and how to most effectively use the new handwashing stations at the school.

In addition, a Health Club was established to champion hygiene within the school. This, along with soap-making training, will ensure the longevity of the project, increasing sanitation standards and helping protect the school against COVID-19.

This will be a very helpful training not only to us but to the entire community where we come from. Waterborne diseases will reduce because now we have a know-how on controlling them

The impact is clear: Safe water, sanitation and better hygiene help children stay in school to get the education they deserve.

Donate today, to help more children get access to safe water!