Clean water to drink and abundant water to grow food can change the lives of the impoverished poor in the Kisii, Kenya region. By capturing the rain, schools can provide clean water, a nutritious feeding program for children and income for parents.
Kisii is located in the densely populated region of southwest Kenya. Land has been subdivided so often that there's not enough available for the poor to farm. Children lack nutritious food and are susceptible to water borne diseases and malnutrition. Yet most schools have large plots of land that sit idle. By making school property available to self help groups within the school community, businesses can be created and profits can be shared enabling schools to provide clean water and create a nutritious feeding program for their students. All that we need to do is capture the rain.
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Water and wealth for schools
multiple schools, Kenya
Teachers and administrative personnel at 4 schools
These schools are training sites for 36 other schools that are participants in SCOPE's Economically Sustainable Schools Program. The four schools will be the site of workshops to train trainers on WASH, tree nurseries, tree farming, high yield vegetable farming and animal husbandry. The development of income producing projects and health related seminars will impact 2,000 children women and families within the four school communities.
A group of 10 unemployed youth are being trained to install rainwater harvesting and storage systems.
Four people will be trained to be part of a 'circuit rider' team to monitor, train, and repair this and other projects to enhance project sustainability.
SCOPE (School Communities Offering Projects that Empower) and the Kisii Rotary club are the implementing organizations for the Economically Sustainable Schools program. SCOPE has a field agent assigned to each of the four schools participating in the project. A group of youth, ages 19 to 35, from one of the school communities (Gesure Primary) are being trained by AQUA CLARA, a partner organization also doing RWH projects, on how to install rain water harvesting systems. They will be supervised by the SCOPE field agent and a water engineer from the Kenya Water Resource Management Authority. The installation will include high quality gutters, brackets, and water storage tanks. There will be a first flush system and screening to prevent debris from entering the tank(s). The water will be treated by either chemical means or bio sand filters. Overflow from the heavy rains will be directed to an open storage area, a fish farming pond, and spigots will be erected in the vicinity of agriculture projects. The installation will be a model for other schools to replicate. I've been involved with rain harvesting and other water projects for Rotary in Uganda and Kenya. The RWH systems will be similar at each school. The many problems I've observed in failed RWH systems have been the result of the use of low quality materials, faulty installation, and lack of knowledge on how to repair broken systems. Training youth to start a RWH company and having skilled people as part of a circuit rider team will insure sustainability. Furthermore, SCOPE has assisted communities in establishing a 15 member leadership team representing widows, orphans, disabled and other community segments. SCOPE field agents will assist the leadership teams in resolving any problems that are encountered.
Phase one: installation of gutters and storage, water treatment, and hand washing stations with soap.
Phase two: installation of distribution system to fish farm, greenhouse, and agriculture projects.
SCOPE began assisting school communities to empower themselves two years ago. Leadership teams were formed and asked to create and prioritize their most urgent needs. They then created a plan to address their needs using local resources and identifying areas where they needed help. They have begun forming self help groups and registering with the government. SCOPE has partnered with Equity Bank to provide training on business development and micro finance. Income generating projects have begun. The communities realize that increasing the quantity and quality of water is essential for economic sustainability and improved health.
SCOPE is partnering with government entities provide training, advice and. in some cases, material support for projects. For example, the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute is sending their scientist to train communities at SCOPE workshops on how to increase their crop yields and protect their animals. Ministry of Water personnel have assisted by surveying schools to determine water storage needs, identifying the amount of guttering needed to create adequate storage, and will monitor the construction of water projects. Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation is training Community Health Workers appointed by school communities.
Water harvesting and storage is part of a larger 3 year community and school development plan. Students are benefitting by working with teachers and parents to create high yield gardens and assuming responsibility for caring for the animals. They are learning how to be entrepreneurs as they tend to their own garden and cell in the market to earn money. Many of the curriculum skills can be taught in a practical way, something missing in the lecture driven method of teaching and learning. Parents and community members are forming self help groups and doing income generating projects on school grounds. Schools will be planting a minimum of 500 trees annually thereby improving the environment and creating a sustainable source of income as the trees are harvested when mature. 50-75 banana trees planted as part of tree farming will provide food for the students and income for the schools. Calliandra trees will provide wood for fires, leaves for feeding animals and nutrients for the soil.
Kenya schools are given a small sum per child by the government. The amount isn't close to what's needed to operate a school so head teachers/principals depend on well wishers, fund raisers and appeals to parents most of whom are living in extreme poverty. By using idle land, schools can benefit the community and create a steady flow of income to be used on projects that benefit the children. The plan will only work if clean water is available for children to drink and sufficient water is available for projects.
Long term sustainability is inherent in the way the community has organized to implement the sustainable school plan. The leadership team will have a WASH committee and community health worker to oversee water and health initiatives. SCOPE will have a representative visiting the schools monthly. The 'circuit rider team will make quarterly visits to check on water and other projects. They will also be available for repairs that are beyond the capability of the school to handle
% of project completion at each school
Quarterly visit evaluation by circuit rider team
School attendance figures
Identification of diseases causing absences
Number of children fed
Storage tanks (8 10,000 ltr) $6,305
Gutter components (80meters per school) 2,823
Base construction (8) 470
Screws, taps, pipes 90
Transportation of materials 1880
Labor (supervisor + 3 workers x 3 days/sch) 620
Water Engineer (Site plans and transport) 352
Water treatment dispensers (4) 800
Hand washing stations and soap(16) 320
WASH and soap workshops 4,000
Maintenance fund 1,782
Total Cost $19,842
Arvada Sunrise Rotary
Site preparation, sand and stones for storage tank bases, non skilled labor and Kisii Rotary Clubs project oversight
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