Ematiha Water Project 2016

Rosie Bishop and Robbie Mallett

One of the first things we noticed after arriving eight weeks ago at our school was that whenever the students needed water they would undertake the 20-minute round trip to the local borehole to fill twenty litre containers. This was mostly done by the girls who then carried the considerable weight over uneven ground back to the school.

The school had two large water tanks on site, neither of which was properly set up to harvest rainwater. Our project has been to properly connect these tanks so they can collect rainwater, as well as installing a new 5000L tank attached to a large sink with taps. Below is our original design.

end view

The initial planning stages for the water project commenced in week one and two where we gave out questionnaires to students, interviewed teachers and sat in on board meetings. With this information we then started to find fundis (tradesmen) to give us quotes and help us sort through the finer details. Below is a picture of the site designated for our tank and sink.

Science block before

We were very fortunate to receive £600 in central pot money, which is money raised by members of the charity and sponsors, to go towards this water project. After receiving this extra money at the end of week three we got to work sourcing the materials from hardware stores in Kakamega, digging a hole for the tank stand, getting a sturdy tank stand made by a local mason and securing it in place.

Hole for tank stand

Installing tank stand

Fundis at work

The work ran over the course of about three weeks in parallel to some of our other projects. In total we have installed more than a hundred meters of guttering around the site and connected it to the two existing tanks as well as our new 5000l one.

At the time of writing, the sink area currently looks like this. The only things left to do are to fit the taps to the piping and to paint an engaging display above the tiled area explaining what the sink should be used for.

Sink area

5000L water tank

We have also put concrete slabs under the other two reconnected tanks to keep the ground dry and free of mosquitos.

concrete slab

We are really happy with how the project has turned out and, although managing such a largescale project has been hard at times, it has also been a very rewarding process. We believe that the tank and sink area will make a huge difference to the school and having spent time with the students this week they have all expressed how grateful they are for our investment. Many of the top year girls we have spoken to are excited about the prospect of having running water on site and the boys loved that it made the site look more modern.

Happy students