The high clay content of the soil in the areas we work in make pits dug without reinforcing walls prone to collapse. Additionally many of the latrines we find that exist at schools have wooden floors over the pits which are prone to rot and cannot be kept clean. It is not uncommon for children to fall through these floors. The walls often lack privacy and doors may not be present. Dig Deep works with schools to address their lack of access to safe latrines to build Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines.
V.I.P latrines have a limited amount of light in each cubicle which means that any flies attracted to the pit holes try and escape through ventilation pipes from the pit which is a brighter opening. The flies are caught there in mesh which prevents them from spreading diseases and making the pupils ill. The latrines are also designed to face the prevailing winds and suck air in through the pit holes and out of the ventilation pipes which minimises bad odours.
The lack of toilets disproportionately impacts girls. With little privacy and no hygienic place to deal with menstruation, after adolescence it becomes increasingly difficult for girls to attend school while on their periods, with many choosing to drop out of education altogether instead of dealing with the indignity of the current toilets. Providing somewhere private, safe and hygienic to go to the toilet will help keep girls in education and provide them with more opportunity, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and transform their own lives.
Tembwo Junior is located near Ndanai in Bomet County. The lack of safe toilet blocks was a big barrier to school attendance. The staff were very dedicated to their pupils and they understood their 297 pupils were suffering from diseases caused by their poor latrines which allowed flies in and out of the pits and from a lack of dignity as the latrines offered little privacy.
The school had identified a priority need and approached Dig Deep in 2016 in order to seek our assistance to address it. The project began with two teachers being trained to become Hygiene Champions in order to teach the children about hand washing and the importance of keeping their latrines clean.
When we first visited the school there were no hand washing stations and no soap on the compound. The result was a high incidence of absenteeism due to diarrheal disease, which was limiting the potential of the students to achieve high grades. After the training the school had implemented a School Health Club and installed handwashing facilities.
With Tembwo having embraced the training, we began to search for funding for the latrines and secured the support of The British and Foreign Schools Society for the project. Work began in 2017 to build a block of 6 latrines for girls including a wash room and a block of 6 latrines for boys including a urinal. Within 10 weeks the school now had safe latrines within the requirements of the Kenyan Government of a latrine per 30 boys and 25 girls.
The School is now flourishing. The Headmaster Mr Langat has noticed absenteeism plunge along with illness and attainment increasing.
Dig Deep's hygiene and maintenance training and the school's effort has meant the toilets have been well looked after every time we have returned to monitor the project. The Head Girl Chebet told us:
"We have benefitted a lot from the Dig Deep Programme. Our toilets are now clean and we have good health with our toilets. We have no more diseases in our school. We want to thank you a lot."
You can make a change like this today by Linking Your Loo with one at a community members' or school in Kenya. By donating £50 to Link Your Loo, your support will help alleviate the disease caused by open defecation and poor sanitation practices which keeps parents from earning, and children from learning, in the communities we support in Kenya.
You will be provided with a Link Your Loo certificate which includes a photograph of the loo you have been linked with and a GPS location so you can find its location online.
"The villages have been engaged by Dig Deep and have now understood the importance of household latrines. Over 420 new latrines have been built. In many cases the communities are coming together to assist the needy. They have the knowledge now to fix the problem."