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.
Currently there 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 are 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.