Water (Xan Goetzee-Barral – “Omoke”):
Last year’s Project Workers (with the Kisii names ‘Moraa and ‘Okari’) did a great job of improving water availability and storage throughout the school. The extra funding will allow us (named Makori – Carlos – and Omoke – Xan) to build on this and optimize the use of the existing facilities to provide more clean water and and more accessible water facilities.
Although having received Central Pot funding last year, improving the water facilities was still a challenge for us. Most of the school’s roof area was being used for rainwater collection, and large scale water projects would exceed our budget – even when taking the Central Pot into account.
Following periods of drought, once all the water tanks have been drained, students have to make a daily trip to a freshwater spring 2km away. The walk is down and back up a hill, and students require around 20 kg of water; a daily routine not uncommon in rural Kenya. Yet collecting water eats into sports and recreation time, therefore a disturbance to the school routine and student welfare. On the other hand, a very large 60,000 litre concrete water tank exists in the school but is highly underused as it has been built at the top of a hill. This made our solution easy to spot: make better use of the 60,000 litre water tank to reduce the need for trips to the spring.
After many meetings with students and school management, together we decided to install a pump at the bottom of the school site to move water up to the 60,000 litre tank. We also improved and installed more guttering where necessary and moved the existing smaller water tanks around to optimise the collection of water. At the top of the school site, the 60,000 lite tank was then connected to a chlorine water filtration system (installed by last year’s Project Workers) which leads onto several taps. The piping has also been adapted to allow the 60,000 litre tank to fill other water tanks near the top of the school.
The end result will mean the school can continuously keep a large reserve of water and provide increased filtered water to students. The impacts of this will hopefully be seen through improved student welfare thanks to more time dedicated for recreation and sports. We have tried to make sure the new water system is easy to manage and effective – the next few weeks will be our opportunity to see how well it works!
Electricity (Carlos Siganporia – “Makori”)
Our second central pot funded project involves installing electrics in the school’s lab. When we arrived at Machongo, the laboratory was the equivalent of a hollow shell that collected a healthy portion of dust and rubbish every day. Therefore, one of our key projects was to try and achieve as much of a makeover as possible by converting the laboratory into a workable, inspiring and importantly sustainable landmark that the students could use as much as they wished.
An important component of this project is to install electrics which ecompasses both lighting and sockets. On examining the options available to us, we felt that the installation of solar panels would provide the most sustainable and low-cost option for Machongo.
There is a saying in Machongo that the principal uses in order to motivate the students to achieve the best they possible can; it involves the clicking of fingers and the repetition of ‘busi’ – goat (and it is rather addicting I may add). We, also, wanted do the best for the school; in our eyes, there was no point acquiring a cheap panel which may have lasted just a few years. We therefore decided on a top quality 145W solar panel that would provide lighting for the lab for up to ten hours each day and it came with a luscious 25-year warranty which comforted our sceptical minds ever so much.
The school management would like this laboratory to become a study pod in the future. With the guarantee of at least six hours of lighting a day, the boarders at Machongo will be able to use the lighting present in the enclosed laboratory each night for their own personal study and we, too, feel this would be the most appropriate use of the infrastructure. Having heard of the improvements being made to the laboratory, the CDF (who had constructed the laboratory) visited the school today and, having been impressed with what they saw, committed a further KSh200,000 to further laboratory improvements which will begin this September!
We feel these central pot projects and many of the other projects we have been unable to mention in this short post will not only provide the students and teachers with extra resources for both their learning and wellbeing, but will also provide the sustainable framework which surrounding schools could follow in years to come.