Ganze district (semi-arid) is recorded as one of the poorest in Kenya. Masemo Primary School draws its pupils from 4 villages; a total of 5,000 people. 84% of the people live in absolute poverty and as a result 39% of children aged 5-17 are directly or indirectly involved in child labour.Literacy level is 77% for males and 35% for females. The community is committed to educational development and have constructed the semi-permanent classrooms at Masemo. There are only 2 toilets for the girls and with a total of 350 pupils, this poses a threat to the school being closed. With no affordable drink water available the community and school have to resort to other sources and as result the children are often ill and unable to attend school. The school is dependent on Food Aid. Offering the children one meal per day is an incentive for parents to send their child to school. A full operational school garden and irrigation system is the key to lifting the community beyond poverty.
Masemo Primary School is the main focus in this project. As the school’s catchment area includes four villages the effects of this project will be extensive. A series of meetings has been held to introduce and ‘brainstorm’ on all aspects of the Water and Sanitation project. The weekly meetings have been attended by the Management Committee, the school team, the District Education Officer and the manager of a Government demonstration farm. During this initial phase the committee has consulted different Ministerial departments for expert advice and all are devoted to the project's success.
This project is one within a greater programme, ‘Adopt a Village’. Within this programme micro credit projects will be undertaken with women's self-help groups. Eg. Poultry farming, Bio-Charcoal fuel, Bee keeping.
There will also be a focus on workshops and training for the youth population.
The project at Masemo Primary School, Ganze is basically two-fold.
Latrines: The 2 ventilated 6 door pit latrines with hand washing facilities shall be installed according to the stipulations and recommendations of the Public Health Officer. According to the Kenyan Public Health Act on School Sanitation the ratio of toilets is 1:25 girls and 1:30 boys.
At present the boys and girls are represented in equal numbers whereby we presume that this trend will continue as the school expands. With a natural growth to 500 pupils we are working on facilities of 250 for both the girls and boys. Following the Kenyan criteria this will mean 10 toilets for the girls and 8 for the boys. There are presently 2 toilets for the girls. In order to safeguard the continuation of the school a minimum of 2 x 6-door latrines with manual hand washing facilities will be necessary.
The Management Committee will elect four new members who will form the Water and Sanitation committee. This subcommittee will be reporting to the Management Committee at their monthly meetings. As a member resigns a new member will be elected from the MC which will ensure a continuation of working knowledge and experience among the members. The maintenance and possible renewal of equipment will be funded with money reserved from the income generated from the excess crop harvesting.
Water Pan and Irrigation System: The proposed water pan will measure 70 x 40 meters graduating to a maximum depth of 4 meters. The water pan will have a catchment area of over a 2 km. distance and will be able to contain a maximum of 11.200m3 water. The 500 pupils will require 2 litres per day which will be approx. 250,000 litres within a school year. 1 acre of crop growth will consume 60.000 litres per harvest. There will be 2 crop yields per year. It is advisable to water newly planted trees for the first two years, if possible.
The long rains fall between March and July and the short rains in October and November. Although the rain pattern at Ganze is irregular, with one week’s rain the pan will be filled to capacity which will suffice in excess of one year’s usage. This means the dry season will pass unnoticed. The one acre of land required for the water pan is community common property and will be officially donated to the school and the documents drawn up accordingly. The two acres, one for the crops and one for tree growing will be sold to the school for the total sum of 200,000 KES
Due to silt formation in the water pan the water will need to be filtered before passing through the pump. By sinking a culvert in the water pan, with building sand as a filter, the water will drain to a 20’ deep well which will be sealed with four more culverts. The water will be pumped out of the well (Solar Powered) for storage in the elevated water tank. From here the crops will be watered by Drip Irrigation.
The water pan will be excavated by the local community. This will not only create an income, but is an important aspect of involving the parents and making the project ‘theirs’. The development of the water pan and crop growing is of paramount importance to the community.
The school has committed itself to finding a way of becoming self-supporting in providing one meal per day for its pupils. At present it is dependent on food relief and donations. By growing their own crops, the children will be receiving fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. The children’s health and therefore school attendance will be much improved and will relieve their families of illness and medication costs.
Relieving poverty within the community:
Parents are required to pay different monthly fees in order to send their children to school. This includes money for the cook, the guard, administration and exam fees. Altogether this is a substantial amount for a community existing in poverty. The school garden and crop growing project will be the key to sustainable relief on poverty. All surplus foods will be sold and all the generated income will be paid into a related bank account. This in turn will fund all the extra school costs incurred and will motivate more parents to send their children to school. Child labour will decrease and the level of literacy will rise. On a wider scale the school will offer a market to the surrounding villages to accessing fresh fruit and vegetables. The general health and well-being of the community will improve accordingly.
Education and Training:
The school farm will offer the children first-hand ‘field learning’. This hands-on experience will also create awareness and responsibility in the growing of crops. The bulk of the work will be carried out by volunteers among the parents. They will be trained and will work according to a rota devised for the project.
Multi Project Involvement:
The Management Committee are taking responsibility for implementing and overseeing the projects. At the same time they have consulted different Ministerial Departments for advice. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have offered advice and support and the latter will be involved in educating on hygiene.
On completion of the project, The Ministry of Agriculture will be training committee members in the different aspects of agriculture, harvesting and management. The Ministry of Public Health will be working together with the committee on issues such as, Water Borne Diseases and Water Treatment and maintenance of the latrines.
Masemo primary School will own the project and ensure its effectiveness. The school management committee has been directly involved in devising the project and and are committed to its success. They have been inspired and supported in this by the dynamic headteacher, David Fondo.
A sanitation and water committee will be formed within the Management Committee and they will be responsible for the construction of the water pan and the maintenance of the latrines. A team of parents will be trained in the maintenance of the water pump and all other technical aspects of the project.
Great thought has been given to the project and the required equipment. A priority is that it is user friendly with low maintenance costs. Initial training will be given and by holding a workshop every two years the working knowledge will be up-dated and tested. This is a way of substaining a constant level of working methods and maintenance of the equipment.
Due to the income generated by the surplus crop growth and tree planting, a financial reserve will be built up to fund any maintenance and replacement costs.