Primary school children in Lurambi Sub-County, Kakamega, Kenya are unnecessarily at risk from waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid due to sub-standard Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) attitudes, behaviours and facilities in the schools. Our objective, through a program of education is to help the schools build their own WASH knowledge and capability, thus empowering the school Boards, teachers and students to change behaviours and advocate for new facilities
Lurambi has 131 primary schools most of which have poor, unmaintained and inadequate sanitary facilities. This leads to ill health (even mortality) and consequential high levels of student absenteeism and poor performance. In addition, lack of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and facilities mean that girls are stigmatised and experience isolation from other pupils. This leads to high levels of absenteeism and many girls fall behind in their education ending up leaving school before completing.
A sustainable community led solution involves school Boards of Management, teachers and students. Each group is trained to advocate for improved WASH behaviours and standards in line with WHO 2030 targets. This is supported with the formation of Student Health Clubs led by a Teacher Health Champion who ensures that the learning is disseminated within the school to each year group. Schools forming into self-help partnerships of 6-8 schools is key to the success and sustainability of the project
The real strength of the program is in its sustainability through the empowerment of the schools and the formation of the self-help partnerships. As well as seeing the benefits of the program, they will be encouraged in the knowledge that they are acting in line with Kenya Government policies for schools and its 2030 target for UN Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 Early low-cost wins such as handwashing, toilet cleaning, and MHM awareness will have immediate impact and provides encouragement