WASH Program brings school to life for Caroline
6 October 2017
Caroline and her friends were often sick from waterborne diseases and couldn't attend school. Through the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program, their lives have changed for the better. They can now safely wash their hands, drink and cook with the clean water.
Contaminated water was a huge problem at Kwa Kavita School in Kenya, where 11-year-old Caroline attended as a grade 6 student. Knowing that it could lead to sickness, most children weren't drinking at all. Consequently, Caroline and her schoolmates were often lethargic, with no energy to learn or play.
Also, the school's latrines were old and smelly and provided no privacy for girls, who would refuse to attend school at certain times of the month.
Recently, the school became part of the Kenya WASH program. Using donations from sponsors, three 16,000L water tanks were installed to catch and store rainwater, staff toilets were built, four new toilets for girls and three for the boys were constructed and training in hygiene given to all staff and students.
Caroline has become the President of the Hygiene Club and is now responsible for ensuring that all students learn and practise safe hygiene.
To celebrate the completion of the project, 120 people from the school and surrounding villages gathered for an opening ceremony. In her speech, Caroline outlined the previous problem - water shortage, old, dirty toilets and illness. She said that as a result of the WASH program, "we can now boast an improved school population because water is available in the school... the rate of absenteeism has greatly decreased" and "the handwashing machines are doing a miracle. We are able to clean our hands after the toilet and before meals".
Children have formed the habit of handwashing and are teaching their parents about hygiene. Some parents have started building a toilet at home. With large enough tanks to store rain, the school has clean water during the dry periods. This is a great result for the whole community. This is one of many success stories of the WASH program.
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