An estimated 40 per cent of Kenya’s population lacks access to clean and safe drinking water.
The situation is dire in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL), as residents are forced to walk for many kilometers, in search of water for their livestock and domestic use.
Many schools in ASAL counties also lack access to clean water resulting to poor performance as learners waste valuable study time in search of the precious commodity.
It is against this backdrop that Faith Kenya Mission, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has embarked on providing clean water to pupils by sinking boreholes in schools.
According to the organization’s founder, Faith Kiio, provision of water in schools will help retain learners in class, thus boosting their performance, as they will be able to concentrate on their education.
Kiio revealed that her organization has embarked on sinking 1,000 boreholes in schools located in ASAL counties of Makueni, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo and Kajiado.
The boreholes, she said, will be solar-powered and will provide water, not only to the pupils but also to the local communities, as the commodity will also be supplied to the nearest markets via pipes.
Apart from water provision, Faith Kenya Mission is also providing water for wild animals by installing watering pans, in an effort to minimize human-wildlife conflicts.
Wild animals including elephants often invade schools neighboring the parks, as they search for water, putting the lives of pupils at risk and leaving a trail of destruction.
Iltilal Secondary School in Kajiado South and Mtito Andei Primary School in Makueni are among some of the schools that have already benefitted from the boreholes sunk by Faith Kenya Mission.
According to Mtito Andei Primary Head Teacher, Stephen Ngovi, provision of water in the school, will help improve performance as pupils can now report to school early.
Ngovi revealed that previously, the pupils used to report late as they were forced to walk for over seven kilometers in the morning in search of the commodity for use in their homes, before coming to school.
He added that pupils no longer have to come to school with jerricans of water, as there is plenty of water.
“Before Faith Kenya Mission sunk a borehole here in school, we used to suffer a lot, as we were forced to buy water for those in boarding section. Day scholars were forced to come to school with their own water from home. This is now a thing of the past and pupils can now concentrate on their studies,” affirmed Ngovi.
He added the school will no longer have to spend a lot of money on food, as they will embark on planting crops such as maize, sukuma wiki, beans and cabbages among others, as water was now available in plenty.
Kilelo Nairesho, the Principal of Iltilal Secondary School, reiterated Ngovi’s remarks, adding that availability of water in school boosts performance, as pupils no longer have to worry about walking long distances in search of it.
Nairesho noted that many pupils, especially boys had dropped out of school as a result of the prolonged drought and provision of water in schools will bring them back.
“The on-going drought has affected learning in this area. Many pupils have dropped out of school and moved to other areas with their families in search of water and pasture for their livestock,” he said.
The Principal added that the water will also be supplied to Iltilal market centre where residents will be able to access it for free thus cushioning them against the adverse effects of drought.
By Rop Janet