Since 2014, Legacy Plumbing has regularly partnered with The Water Project to give many people in Kenya and Uganda better sources of safe water. In this article, we’d like to share the story and some pictures of the latest project that we’ve been blessed to be a part of.
What is The Water Project?
Where we live, it is easy to take easily-accessible, safe water for granted. As plumbers, however, we are constantly reminded of how much it impacts daily life when that water has to be turned off for any significant length of time. This awareness has always fueled our passion for bring life-changing, clean water to those who cannot easily access it.
Across the globe, 1 in every 9 people fall into this category, but sub-Saharan Africa is one area of the world where this need is the most acute. That is why The Water Project focuses their efforts here. This organization is committed to making a difference one water project at a time.
This means taking a holistic approach and sustainably implementing each project as a unique solution to match the community’s unique needs. Sometimes this is more picturesque – like drilling a brand new well. Other times, it means creating a system to capture rainwater or building latrines and teaching the fundamentals of sanitation (so that existing water sources are protected).
Whatever the solution, each project is responsibly monitored after it is created – by a system that ensures communities don’t get “checked off the list” and forgotten about. As a result, this organization is leading the way in the cause of creating sustainable change in the the WaSH sector of humanitarian aid.
The Kyamulinge Primary School
Before this project started, there was very little onsite water for the 318 students at this school toward the southern part of Kenya. Students were required to carry a jerrycan of water to school with them, which is, in some cases, over 1 mile away from where they live.
Because of inadequate water, the school also had to discontinue their feeding program. Because of the intense poverty level in the area, many do not have food from home and stay hungry the entire day. To make matters worse, the water sources they were using were contaminated and many students got sick with waterborne illnesses daily.
In order to address this school’s specific needs, The Water Project conceived the plan of building a 25,000 gallon rain collection tank. The school already had a couple of rain tanks that were much smaller, but because of how rarely it rains here, these tanks were far from adequate. This larger tank would enable the school to capture as much water as possible during the seasonal rains and would be large enough to last into the dry months.
The would be a community effort! The parents of the students would gather the materials needed for constructing the tank and contribute labor and time in the actual construction under the supervision of a competent project lead arranged by the Water Project.
Along with this tank, The Water Project would provide an intense class on proper sanitation and hygiene. This would form the basis of a school health club that will continue to maintain the equipment and sanitary practices.
Finally, The Water Project would install three large handwashing stations around the school to enable these hygiene practices to be followed through with on a day-to-day basis.
This project was started on December 1st, 2021.
Much of the massive rain tank was constructed with commonly available materials such as sand and rocks that were collected by the community. The Water Project was able to supply the expertise and additional materials such as cement, lumber, and metal – as well as the new gutter system.
The way the tank was built is similar to how a stone house would be constructed. First, the ground was leveled and a foundation was built. After that, the 1.5 foot thick walls were built up with alternating layers of rocks and mortar. An interior column was built to hold up the roof, and everything was sealed with waterproof cement. A metal roof and gutter channels were installed to finish out the tank.
The handwashing stations were installed as planned, and there was rigorous training provided by experts from The Water Project on soap-making, handwashing, latrine hygiene, safe water storage/treatment, and etc…
The project was a definitive success, and a schedule is now in place for ongoing monitoring visits to make sure that all of this equipment remains functional and the training and safe habits are retained.
The project was officially completed on January 4th, 2022.
An Recent Update
As of the writing of this article in July 2022, we recently recieved some more pictures from the school that we wanted to share.
This project is helping tremendously as the school staff and students are trying to catch back up after last year’s national school closures due to the coronavirus. The students are excited to learn and can now do so without the distractions that result from lack of accessible clean water and the dehydration/disease that frequently comes with that.
Legacy Plumbing was honored to be a part of this project as the primary project sponsor. We want to thank all of our customers who, through using our services and telling others about us, have made it possible for us to spread good across the world!