The Halcrow Foundation funded the construction of a purpose-built latrine block, with designated toilets for boys, girls and teachers. A 5,000-litre rainwater-harvesting tank provides clean water for hand-washing and improved hygiene, saving the children countless hours which they previously spent fetching and carrying water.
By significantly enhancing the privacy and security of the sanitary facilities, this project has helped to dramatically reduce the threat of rape and sexual molestation for Kenyan primary school pupils in Nyarima. Previously, the girls’ toilet block was exposed, lacked doors and was situated on a public thoroughfare. Girls reaching puberty felt extremely vulnerable and uncomfortable, especially during their monthly periods. Kenya had reported significant numbers of female students missing up to 25 per cent of the school year as a result.
In addition, an ongoing education and support programme is helping to raise hygiene awareness among maturing girls, and provides subsidised and free sanitary products.
A knock-on effect of the construction project and ongoing education programme has been the dramatic decline in incidents of diarrhoea and other unpleasant illnesses across the entire student population.
Over 500 teachers and students – including disabled and orphaned children – have benefited directly, and improvements in physical health and wellbeing are already apparent. The wider aim of the programme is to increase girls’ attendance rates, academic performance and give them a sense of empowerment.