Global OUTREACH SCHOOL PROJECT
Global Outreach School has two borehole wells to provide drinking water which is a huge step in having close access to a water source, but it is still allows contamination by pathogens through the groundwater. In addition, the children have poor hygiene and can contaminate their drinking water with residual stool on their hands when they handle the existing hand pump, or filling and carrying the buckets or jerrycans with water. Sadly, since the school's founding in 2004, the children continue to suffer from diarrhea and related diseases.
Access to clean drinking water has a direct effect on the children's education. Children miss class because of sickness related to water related diseases. Dehydrated children are not able to concentrate on their lessons. In the world, every two minutes a child dies due to water related diseases, which are mostly preventable. Arthur Vincent, headmaster at the school, says that about half of the school's pupils are affected by diarrhoea during the school year and each year, he has had to send some children to the hospital for treatment!
Diarrhea is especially prevalent he says during the dry season and at the beginning of the rainy season when pollutants are washed into the water supply.
We have developed a tailored solution for the school with the help of water experts which involves:
a new solar pump to draw water up from the existing borehole to feed into a 5,000 Litre holding tank. From here, will be two drinking water taps with an in-pipe Uzima water filter which can remove 99.9% of pathogens in the water. A 6 tap hand-wash station on a permanent concrete base will also be served by the water from the well through a separate pipe coming from the holding tank.
We are involving the children in some aspects of the planning and give them certain decisions to make. We will also help them to start a WASH club so that certain children can become 'experts' and pass on their knowledge to others. Being engaged gives them a sense of ownership in the project and they will be more likely to use the water plan correctly and to help maintain the installations for the long term.
On the computers we provided for their new computer lab, we have installed Water Well, the app we developed for learning about clean drinking water for kids. Also we have installed Droople, a smart monitoring system for the kids to see on their computers how much the water the filters have treated, when they need cleaning or maintenance.
We think that school children can improve their water situations significantly themselves just through education and develop confidence, knowledge and self-agency. Educating and engaging the next generation is critical to helping the water crisis.
Thank you to SIG Patronage Fund for their contributions to our Clean Water Project for the
Global Outreach School
After learning of the illnesses at the school and knowing that we could make an important long-term impact for the children’s futures, we investigated carefully and realized that the school has already some good measures towards water and sanitation, but it is still not sufficient. This was the situation at the school before our interventions:
There were are two borehole wells with hand-pumps attached, which means the children do not need to travel very far to access water which is an important step. However, contaminants still were able to enter the water supply, even more so during the beginning of rainy season and during dry season. Run-off water from the well area runs down an open drainage channel, and the water is able to build up and stagnate. This is another possible site of contamination.
We arranged a water quality analysis test for the well water and found contaminants and bacterial traces in the water, which are able to enter through the ground water.
We also discovered that the ways the children draw their water for drinking from the well presents many opportunities for contamination with dirty hands. One way is that the children need to use their hands on the hand pump to draw water out, which they will put into open buckets. Then they will dip their mugs into the water. Multiple children will do the same, potentially contaminating the water in the bucket. Or 20L plastic jerrycans will be filled with pumped water and then brought to other areas of the school for drinking.
There are toilet installations on site, however, no handwash sinks or soap. The children generally do not wash their hands after visiting the toilet, if anything, they may rinse their hands in a bucket of water. However, this is not sufficient to remove fecal material and germs which may be on their hands, meaning they can contaminate their food and water afterwards.
PREVIOUS SITUATION AT GLOBAL OUTREACH
The existing well at Global Outreach is already a huge step towards having close access to a water source, but its not enough to prevent the children from getting diarrhea which forces them to miss school.
Open drainage channel
from the well area
Toilet facilities but no hand-washing sinks
OUR CLEAN WATER SOLUTION
We have consulted with many experts in the field, and have devised a holistic plan for water and sanitation for the school.
We will install a solar pump to the existing borehole well, which will pump water to a 5,000 litre poly holding tank, which is made in Sierra Leone.
From the tank, water will pass through a filter, which will filter 99.9% of pathogens out and which is estimated to last around 10 years without needing to change cartridges. From the filter, we will have one pipe going to two drinking water taps, and a second pipe going to a new concrete handwash station which will have soap provided as well.
We selected products that are long lasting, do not require additional electricity, costs or complicated maintenance to make sure that they can last for a long time at the school.
We will include the children in the planning and give them some decisions to take to help them to start their interest in water and sanitation.
We have already arranged to provide a computer classroom to the school and arranged for computer lessons for the children. Installed on the computers will be an educational app: Water Well that we developed for the children to understand why clean water is important for their health, what pathogens are and how they get in their water, and why personal hygiene is so important for their health.
We will also arrange for some water workshops to be delivered by distance learning and plan to start a WASH club for some interested children. They can become leaders in the school by becoming experts in water and sanitation themselves and we will help them with some ideas for club activities. They will then have a sense of personal investment in the project and will make sure that the equipment is kept clean and maintained. We are also installing Droople, a smart IoT monitoring solution so the kids can see how their filter is doing and we in Switzerland can also monitor the maintenance and operations of the filter.
Once the children are armed more with knowledge, hopefully they can bring their knowledge back into their homes and teach their parents, making an even larger impact. We believe that the educational component is just as important as the equipment measures taken to ensure that the project is sustainable for the long term.
Thank you to our donors, the SIG Patronage Fund and Swiss Water Partnership for funding this project. Construction started at the end of October 2021. View Progress Photo Gallery
Droople device connected to our water filter for kids and our NGO to monitor the functioning of the filter via computer interface