Spotlight on Central Pots: Water and Electricity in Nyamakorobo

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Over the past few years, EPAfrica has incorporated a new source of funding into its summer project: the central pot. It’s called the central pot because, unlike the funding that Project Workers invest in their schools, it is fundraised and managed by the central charity. In the past, it has come from grants to EPAfrica, as well as regular donations from our alumni. Central pots are allocated to a specific purpose, and Project Workers get to submit applications for the funding, telling us how they would use the additional investment in their school. This allows us to make sure the funding goes to the most promising projects. When deciding on where to allocate funding, we assess: which projects are the most cost-effective, which will have the most impact, and which are the most achievable.

This summer, we invited applications for two initiatives: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects, and Electricity projects. In Nyamakorobo Secondary School, we funded two separate projects: installing lighting in the girl’s dormitory and laboratory, and installing a new rain collection system and plumbing for the laboratory. The school was already connected to the electricity grid, but had been unable to wire up many of the buildings. Two of those were the dormitory for the girls, and the laboratory – both of which had an urgent need. With the money from the central pot, the Project Workers wired up the rooms and installed lighting.

Some of the benefits of the project were highlighted by the school’s Chemistry teacher: ‘The installation of electricity has made it easier for me to teach the students, and when preparing for a practical the next day I can do it in the evening instead of in the class the next day which wasted lesson time. ’Doing the same for the girls’ dormitory means the room is more usable after dark. One of the girls said ‘I am now able to work after dark, and this will help me get the grades that I want!’

The central pot funding also helped to improve the facilities in the laboratory further through water collection and plumbing introduced by the Project Workers. The school has always struggled with water collection and has spent a lot of time and money on fetching water during dry months. The head teacher said that this was a priority for the school: ‘The installation of water has been something that we have been wanting to do for a long time, but couldn’t afford. Water shortage has been a problem for a while with the number of boarders we have.’Introducing the large new storage tank along with the rain collection system will make science practicals possible, and make more water available for students to drink and boarders to wash with. This one-time investment will also allow the school to save money, as they will no long have to pay to collect water from local wells.

To grow the number of projects we can support with the central pot funding, we need your support. Sign up for regular giving, or support us with a one-off donation, on BT Mydonate – or email nejra.cehic@epafrica.org.uk