Construction is now complete, coming a long way from last spring when digging began. The well is 180 metres deep and produces 7000 litres of water per hour.
Girls no longer have to travel long distances each day to collect water from the river, freeing their time so they can attend school. Drip lines will soon be installed to allow the school to irrigate its demonstration garden and grow vegetables in the dry season.
The community now has a kiosk with a water vendor who is in charge of overseeing the use of clean water. The borehole will be a great help in providing clean water for animals, farming and of keeping households clean and healthy. Community members will also have the opportunity to get their own private water connections where they pay small amounts to get water right to their homes—improving their kitchen gardens and making it easier to maintain a balanced diet.
Back at the school, notebooks rustle and pencils scratch as eager students listen to their teacher explain a math problem on the board. The concentration is palpable in the classroom, but smiles break out when the students grasp the complex problem. Recess offers a welcome break, and the students from the classroom who had been sitting so diligently in the classroom run out and play schoolyard games in the sunshine of the Maasai Mara. The cook at the school calls them over for lunch—a combination of maize and beans—supplied as part of Free The Children’s school lunch program. For some students, this is all they will have had to eat so far that day. The warm meal gives them renewed energy and when class starts, they crowd back into the classroom eager to tackle the next subject. In this quarter, eight bags of maize and five bags of beans were supplied to Osenetoi Primary School.
Meanwhile the environmental club, comprised of 40 students, can typically be found working on the school farm after class is done for the day—it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to grow an interest in agriculture and develop skills that can benefit their families at home. They have just harvested beans that were planted in the previous quarter and are waiting to harvest tomatoes.
And several of the most committed students were further encouraged, having been awarded gifts in a colourful ceremony by the School Management Committee. Now that their interest in agriculture has truly taken root, we look forward to seeing how it will grow in the future!Read more
It’s been a busy few months in Bagad, and we’ve been working to ensure that students at the Free The Children school have access to clean water for drinking, sanitation and the school garden. There were a few steps involved, and as with all of our projects, this one was led by the community itself.
Community members identified two wells in Bagad that could be used for pumping water to the school grounds. After carefully evaluating their sustainability, we selected the cemented well, known locally as “Ramkudi,” and received permission from the community to allow us to pipe its water for use at the school.
We also invited a hydrogeologist to survey the well and analyze the quality of its water. Once he confirmed that it was safe for consumption, he provided us with recommendations for the water pump and piping. The next step was to select a space on the school grounds for our new high-quality water tank. With a capacity of 2,000 litres, it provides ample storage for all of the school’s water needs. Once the installation was complete, we outfitted the Ramkudi well with a hand pump, which would allow community members to access the water more easily.
In all of our communities in India, open wells are often the only water sources during non-monsoon seasons. But being susceptible to contamination from animals, garbage and a number of other pollutants, the wells can easily become tainted and spread waterborne illness. For example, if community members wash their clothes nearby, there is a high chance of waste-water running into the well. To address this issue, we covered the well with a heavy iron grate and demonstrated simple and inexpensive ways for people to filter the well water.
The community members of Bagad are excited about the new system, because it is safe and efficient, and now people can use the well water confidently. And as this water makes its way to the school, students too will be able to enjoy clean water throughout school each day.Read more
We are excited to announce that the community of Gulahuayco
now has a new water system!
When road construction damaged their water system four years ago, many of the community members lost their access to clean water. Read more
Breaking news! Gulahuayco has running water!
This community never ceases to amaze us. On a Tuesday in late July, the entire village came together in an enormous minga
for the final phase of the community household water project, a pipeline that will connect the main water tank to individual houses and provide families with a steady supply of clean water. Minga members made quick work of digging the trench that now connects the school to the main water lines that were put down the previous month. And as a result of their patience, dedication and tireless work ethic, we are incredibly happy to report that the taps have been turned on and the water is flowing in Gulahuayco! This project has been several months in the making, and community members have been uniting in a minga regularly to see it through. Now is the time to celebrate! Every single contribution, like every drop of water, has made a world of difference.
This spirit was also at the root of the Clean Schools Program known as Gotitas Limpias, “clean droplets” in Spanish—a friendly competition launched in March in Free The Children communities across Chimborazo province to encourage students and teachers to take pride in their schools. Along with a local representative, Free The Children visited each school on a monthly basis, inspecting the cleanliness of classrooms, hand-washing stations, student uniforms and the school compound as a whole. Students across the province committed themselves to the initiative, hoping to earn the highest score and a grant to spend on supplies or a new school project.
After a very close race, the school with the winning total was San Miguel, but the efforts of Gulahuayco’s students were also recognized with a $150 prize for the cleanest classroom! These children had come together as a team, picking up litter and recycling after school each day, and looking for new ways to make their classrooms shine. The school director and his fellow teachers decided to use the grant for materials that would benefit the whole school, since all the students had been equally committed to making a difference.
In the last month of the school year, the girls’ club in Gulahuayco was hard at work on projects of its very own. The girls split off into two groups, each with a plan for a new community initiative. The first group came up with the idea for a household garden project. They met with local leaders to explain their idea and began taking applications from households that were eager to participate. They also developed a list of the seeds and plants they would need and are working out a schedule for implementation. The second group chose a school beautification project. They held meetings with the school director to discuss the native plants they could use to brighten up the school grounds. It’s been inspiring to see the girls take initiative in this way, and we’re excited to see what developments happen over the summer!Read more
Mary Chesang on her way to fetch water.
You could feel the anticipation as the borehole drill gained speed and tunneled down through the last layers of volcanic rock almost 200 metres below Eor Ewuaso. As the whirr of the motor intensified, so did the excitement of the workers. After three days of drilling through dirt, mud and clay, they were on the verge breaking through to an aquifer and having a continuous supply of clean water for the entire community.
When the drill finally struck through, the water bubbling up through the dusty soil marked a new beginning in Eor Ewuaso. It used to take an hour to fetch and carry home 20 litres of water from the nearest source. The new borehole well can produce up to 5,000 litres of clean, fresh water every hour—enough to serve all of the community’s needs for cooking, cleaning, farming and more.
“My family will be able to live a healthier lifestyle,” said Mary Chesang, grandmother of a family of six, “with proper hygiene for the children through drinking clean and safe water.” Because of the time she spent hauling water every day, she wasn’t able to give her grandchildren the level of care she had always hoped to provide. Even a simple task like washing clothes took hours and depleted her family’s meagre water supply. The borehole is changing not just her life, but the lives of those around her.
For Eor Ewuaso Primary School—the site of the well—the borehole will enhance the impact of every Adopt a Village pillar. The girls who might have missed school while fetching water for their families can now attend and bring water on the way home. The staff who work in the school kitchen will have a safe source of water for cooking and cleaning, and students will have taps to wash their hands, reducing the spread of illness. The students’ demonstration garden will soon have an irrigation system that will produce healthy, hardy crops.
Of course, there’s still some work to do before the borehole can be opened to the community. In fact, the borehole drill machine—one impressive power tool—only does half the digging. The community members will have to dig trenches to lay piping that will carry the water long distances to a water storage tank, and then into water kiosks and hand-washing stations around the community. To make sure the water can make this journey up the 200-metre borehole, through the pipes and into the storage tank, we’ll also have to install a generator and powerful pump.
For a community accustomed to relying on rainwater and wetlands for all of their washing, cooking, drinking and farming, the water access granted by this new well will transform lives. Girls will be able to attend school, and mothers and fathers will be able to water their crops, even during times of drought, and have more hours in the day for productive work. The seeds of change have already been planted in Eor Ewuaso. They just need water to growRead more