Waterborne disease: global problem, local solutions
Onesmus Mutisya, senior teacher at the Ngiluni primary school, talks about the school's water challenges and how their new water tank is helping.
The Ngiluni primary school in rural Ukambani, southeast Kenya, is working hard to improve the health and education of its pupils.
Water is the key challenge
Like many other schools in the area, Ngiluni has struggled to achieve satisfactory attendance rates. The reasons for low attendance were often related to water. Onesmus Mutisya, a teacher who is responsible for health and sanitation at the school, tells us how the lack of clean drinking water used to be one of their key challenges:
“We needed clean water for the pupils, because the water they were carrying, that they were getting from the [water] points, was contaminated water, and indeed there was an outbreak of waterborne diseases among the pupils.”
“There were many problems arising from the water issue. Due to the waterborne diseases they used to contract, the enrolment of the pupils was low.”
One water tank can make a big difference
In 2011, the school, together with the local self-help-group, Ndethye Nguthethye, decided to build a water tank for their children. The tank now harvests rainwater from the school’s roof and stores it safely in a sealed container.
A typical school roof in Kenya collects up to 100,000 litres of water every rainfall, which can then be stored for use during dry periods.
According to Onesmus, the water tank has made a big difference at the Ngiluni primary school:
“We can now wash our hands after visiting the toilets. We have clean drinking water for the pupils now, we don’t have cases of waterborne diseases among the pupils.”
“After the construction of the tank, right now, we are so happy because the [enrolment] number is increasing. It used to be 150 and now it’s around 200 pupils.”
A local solution to a global problem
Diarrhoea is the second largest cause of death among children under the age of 5, and is responsible for killing around 760,000 children every year.
A simple and cost-effective technology like a water tank can prevent these unnecessary deaths, one school at a time, and give children a chance at the future they deserve.
Now, we don’t have cases of waterborne diseases among the pupils. We are so happy because the [enrolment] number is increasing. It used to be 150 and now it’s around 200 pupils.
Onesmus Mutisya, Ngiluni Primary School
A joint project
The water tank at Ngiluni primary school was built with support from Africa Sand Dam Foundation, Excellent Development, Just a Drop, and sponsored by Thomson and First Choice.