Whoever coined the term “stuck between a rock and a hard place” must have had Kisueni Primary School in mind. This particular school is constructed between rocks and on hard ground. I remember when we arrived on our first visit to Kisueni back in 2018, the school seemed to be at the end of nowhere between two visible rocks popping up from the hard ground. Before we even evaluated with our hydrogeologist, we had a feeling that a new borehole well would not be possible for this school.
But, Kisueni screamed of need for a lasting clean water solution. Some of their water tanks were torn, and others bent with the weight of holding water for years. Their roofs were peeling and rusty, yet they still harvested water from there. Kisueni’s only hope was rainwater, a rainfall that was seasonal, sometimes non-existent, and in some years, they experienced prolonged periods of drought which caused tensions and conflict. When necessary, they also collected from nearby ponds and dams, some 3 to 10 km away.
The school staff shared how many organizations had come and gone, leaving behind empty promises of water that were never to be redeemed.
Well Aware proved different yet again.
One year after meeting Kisueni, we returned with a clean water solution – a new rainwater system complete with a new roof, guttering, tanks, solar power, and a UV water treatment system. The school and all 300+ students finally gained access to clean and safe water for drinking.
Since then, in the span of three years the school has seen its population increase and its ground changed from once rocky to green and vegetative. Students at Kisueni now plant tree seedlings which they later transplant to their homes to encourage tree planting. The school also prides itself in its new kitchen garden that serves the pupils with nutritious vegetables throughout the year.
“The water has changed our lives. It has given me a good healthy body and it makes me clean and tidy,” says 13-year-old student, Brian. Now, thanks to the clean water, Brian can stay in class more and focus on his dreams. “I want to become a doctor because I will help the sick people get well.”
The most amazing thing, for me, when we visited the school was hearing the deputy head teacher emotionally explain the changes that had taken place since Well Aware’s addition of a second water tank to further help with clean water storage.
Besides the increase in population, the student’s performance in the national examinations has improved. And, the teacher said they now use a projector to teach the pupils thanks to the solar energy put up by Well Aware for the water system. The school also distributes its water to the community when it can and has water in excess.
Indeed, Well Aware has yet again rewritten the story of not just a school, but a community whose lives have been changed by the availability of clean water in their local school.