Mr Omondi Oyier is head teacher of Sirandu Primary School. The school begun in1983 and currently has a population of 393 pupils of whom 183 are girls. Mr Oyier was transferred to head the school in 2013 and found it in a terrible state. There was no water and therefore pupils had to fetch it from the nearby Kobambo spring which was unprotected. The pupils used break time and in some cases class time to fetch water at the expense of learning and doing extracurricular activities.
Water-related diseases among the pupils
The school did not have hand washing facilities and failure to wash hands coupled with the use of unsafe water resulted in water-related diseases among the school pupils. The school had few dilapidated latrines (see picture to the right) and the pupils had to queue for long hours in order to access them. ‘The parents and guardians in the school are needy thus could not raise adequate funds to improve hygiene in the school,’says Mr Ormondi Oyier. ‘I tried to access money from the Constituency Development Fund but they informed me that as policy they do not support construction of latrines. I knew my school did not meet the minimum hygiene standards and could be condemned.’
New latrines and water harvesting
In 2014, a Public Health Officer from North Gem Community Development Programme visited the school to assess its sanitation standards. As expected the school did not meet the minimum standards. The school management committee met with staff from Dorcas’ partner organisation and they agreed that the school urgently needed to improve sanitation facilities. ‘The parents and guardians contributed Kshs 56,000 (560 Euro) and the project constructed a three-door latrine for boys and a three-door latrine with a bathroom for girls. To enhance rain water harvesting the project installed a 10,000 litre water tank in the school while the children were also provided with hand washing facilities. Besides that, the project has supported formation of a school health club with 20 members and a patron all of whom have been trained.’
The health club (picture right) now spearheads all hygiene and sanitation activities in the school. Community members further partnered with the project and protected Kobambo spring where the children used to fetch water. The entire neighbourhood now has access to clean, safe and sustainable water.
13 July 2015