Water not just for the school, but the whole community

Updated - Thursday 09 November 2017

Community Asset Building and Development Action (CABDA) in Kenya is one of the local partners in the WASH and Learn! programme. They use their experience from previous WASH in Schools programmes to inform the current programme.

“When CABDA came here in 2014, schools were on strike. The Technical Support Unit team came and I happened to be here. They found water in two spots. There was water scarcity so it was a blessing,” Quintus, the Head Teacher of Kamolo Primary School in Amagolo Division, Busia County, explains.

According to Quintus, before CABDA provided the water source, 3 out of 10 children got diarrhoea every month. A big number of pupils had scabies and jiggers. But since the water source was constructed, these cases have reduced and there was no more absence from school due to poor health. “Pupils are 100% present,” the Head Teacher asserts.

The water source at Kamolo Primary School serves the neighbouring Secondary School and the community and is highly valued as it significantly improves the health and livelihood of the people.

Water – Our Sugar

While most people applaud water for being the source of life, Fred, a Community Health Worker in Amagolo Division Teso North, describes it as sugar. “I have tasted the water CABDA brought and it is sweet.“ Fred says that just like bees queue for honey the community queues for water at the kiosk, eager to enjoy its benefits. His description is confirmed by the Chairperson of Ajom Women Group, Celin, who expresses that the water has helped the community reduce diseases, improve their livelihoods through agriculture, and have better hygiene conditions.

Susan, a member of the Operation and Maintenance Committee and one of the four people tasked with overseeing the kiosks and collecting water user fees, also praises the initiative. “I am one of the beneficiaries of this water source at Kamolo Primary School. My house is one of those that are connected to the source. In the season when tomatoes typically would not grow because of the sun, I am now able to irrigate and harvest thanks to the new water source.”

The Water and Sanitation Committee Secretary also states that the water source has reduced cases of diarrhoea and typhoid in the village which were much more prevalent when the creek was the main source of water. 

However, Fred points out that the demand in the area is still not fully met, since the water source is only able to supply one location. The neighbouring villages such as Unyurnyur, Kodedema, and even some households in Kamolo, still use water from the creek. Every morning and evening, the crowd gathers at the kiosks. “I sometimes fear these people will one day get annoyed and break our kiosk because of their frustration towards water – if there is no measure to create more water sources that would allow them to access water easily,” he explains.

Nevertheless, the current water source at Kamolo Primary School continues serving the neighbouring secondary school, 13 connected households, and two kiosks and it has truly heralded an impact on bringing development in Amagolo, in terms of improved agricultural environment, increased investment value of lands and, most of all, better health. The experience in Kamolo Primary School has been used by CABDA to implement the WASH and Learn! programme.

Simavi and WASH and Learn!

The WASH and Learn! programme integrates community and school WASH projects in three adjacent countries in East Africa; Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Together with six local NGO partners, Simavi implements this programme, focusing on water supply and sanitation and hygiene behaviour improvements.

Simavi continues to work with communities on creating a positive and enabling environment in which every stakeholder is active and ensuring that people use the WASH services properly.

More information on the WASH and Learn! programme can be found here.


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