The first thing you notice when you walk into AIC Sunrise Primary School is the intense heat of the surrounding area. It is located in the county of Baringo which is one of the most arid counties in Kenya, and the school experiences a heat wave throughout the year, in addition to long drought seasons.
The next thing you notice is the huge water tanks standing outside the classroom, and kids huddled at different water points cheerfully playing together and laughing while trying to fetch clean drinking water at various water points. However, this was not the case several months ago.
Before Well Aware provided additional water storage at the school, in partnership with So They Can, there was only one water point where the pupils and the greater community of more than 1,400 people gathered daily to fetch water. Most kids ended up spending entire school days without gaining access to drinking water. The community also faced similar challenges because they couldn’t access the water source during school operating hours, resulting in a limited amount of time to fetch water during the evenings after the school had closed. Other community members and students relied on nearby rivers, resulting in diseases such as cholera.
“We get water from rivers, but they are far away and dry up. It is inadequate. People queue in line the whole day to get water. Sometimes I miss school to fetch water.” – Joy, student
The lack of adequate clean water also prevented them from doing basic things such as cleaning and handwashing, and as a result, the community and school hygienic standards were hit hard.
But now, things are quite different.
With the addition of extra storage and expanded access, all the children in the school now have clean drinking water throughout the school day, and community members can access the same water with their own water points as well.
“[This project] is very important because it helps me to get water for drinking and cleaning. We can’t live if we can’t have water,” Joy explained.
On a recent visit to the school, the head teacher could not hold back his joy and excitement while talking about how much the school has changed.
“This project could not have come at a better time. It has put a stop to all the water problems we were experiencing.”
This project is truly transformational. And, with So They Can‘s continued support, the students’ education will continue to improve. They will help improve learning conditions, train teachers, and further build inclusive partnerships with the community and in-country governments. We’re excited to see how this school and community will thrive with access to lasting clean water and quality education!