What a difference ten days makes! This week I visited three of our Kisii Project Pairs, just ten days after waving them off to their schools at the EPAfrica Kisii Head Teachers’ Conference. From their knowledge of their schools and their relationships with teachers and students, I’d have thought they had been there much longer!
I started with a matatu ride out to Magena, a bustling market town where I met Sean and Miriam. They showed me the long walk to their school, Riyabu ELCK, quickly taking us from busy shops to vast green fields. Riyabu is a third year EPAfrica school, yet Sean and Miriam had still found many potential projects to work on, with the lack of a library as a clear priority. As we toured the school, they showed me the currently under-used classroom which they will transform with shelving and building improvements. They’re also full of ideas for other smaller interventions they can implement during their time at Riyabu.
PWs Miriam and Sean at their school, Riyabu ELCK
After another matatu, a shared car ride and a walk up a rather steep hill, I reached Tom and Miriam (a different one!) at their school, St Peter’s Kerebesi. It was ‘exam day’ at the school, and the entire student population was sat at desks spread out across the school grounds.
St Peter’s is a much bigger school than Riyabu, with over 90 students in the biggest classes! Unfortunately they don’t have the classroom space to split all forms into two streams. Miriam and Tom had been considering many possible projects but after consulting staff and students, they’d decided to prioritise water at the school. Having applied to EPAfrica’s Water for Learning fund, they hope to install two 5000L tanks as well as a number of smaller tanks for handwashing and sanitation. They sensibly pointed out that they can’t install water in the science laboratory until they have enough water in the first place! After a minor rainstorm and a very welcome ugali lunch, I headed back to Kisii town.
My final visit of the week was to Alicia and Chen in Marongo PAG. After a matatu ride out of Kisii, I had to use all my negotiation skills to convince a shared car driver to take me to nearby Nyabivena, from where I trekked up the hill to meet the pair. The views from Marongo are fantastic, but being on a hill means it takes nearly an hour to get to the nearest water source and back. As such, Alicia and Chen are also prioritizing water in their school, with a Water for Learning application to install a new 10000L tank as well as making better use of the existing tanks and gutters. As they showed me around the school, I was particularly impressed by how well the pair seemed to know and get on with the teachers and students at the school. It seemed they’d been there for weeks!
Marongo PAG Secondary School
These three visits gave me a great reminder of the core reason that I’m out here with EPAfrica. I’ve been enjoying surveying both potential new schools for us to partner with and catching up with graduate schools, but it’s been fantastic to see Project Workers getting stuck in right now, working with their schools to make plans for really meaningful improvements. I look forward to seeing their plans be put into action!