When water supplies are low, drastic measures are often turned to in efforts to collect it. The construction of a water tank in Utini Girls Secondary School in southeast Kenya has helped to lift this burden, according to testimony from members of the school community.

Utini Secondary School is a girls’ full boarding public school found in the Nguu area of Nzaui Sub County, within Makueni County. Students and the school community at large have suffered water challenges for many years since the opening of the school. This is because the prolonged dry conditions in the area have led to an insufficient water supply at the institution.

In 2018 the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF), in collaboration with Excellent and with funding from the States of Guernsey Overseas Aid and Development Commission, supported the school in the construction of a water tank. The tank holds a lot of water and has been instrumental at bringing much-needed change to the school.

A visit to Utini was met with joy and optimism from the school community, who shared their experiences of the learning centre.

Serah Mutie has been the school principal for the last five years. She explains the difficulties they have faced in trying to provide water for the school community:

“Since the year I came to this school, we have been fetching water using donkeys from Muooni river, which is two kilometres away. The water was not always safe for human consumption or enough for the school population. We could also back up by buying water from bowsers based at Masimba market. It was difficult and expensive for the school."

Mrs Mutie continues by describing how things have changed since the construction of their water tank:

“For the last year, things have changed because we have a water tank full of water. The water is clean and safe for human consumption. We are no longer using donkeys to get water or buying from bowsers (vehicles equipped with tanks for supplying water to remote locations). The tank has been providing enough water for the school community, which has brought more convenience to the school routine."

She also reveals the financial benefits enjoyed by the school thanks to the on-site water supply:

Serah Mutie - Principal of Utini Girls Secondary School

"We are now saving an average of 18,000 Kenyan shillings per month which was initially spent on water purchases. This money is now being utilised on infrastructural development.”

Serah Mutie, Principal of Utini Girls Secondary School.

Jenniffer Nyiva 16, is a student at the school. She opens up on life at school since the construction of the tank:

Jenniffer Nyiva - Student of Utini Girls Secondary School

“The water tank has brought more hope to our life in school; we are now getting unlimited access to clean drinking water all the time, which is new to us."

Jenniffer Nyiva, Student of Utini Girls Secondary School.

The school community expressed their thanks to ASDF, the States of Guernsey Overseas Aid and Development Commission, and to Excellent for their support in bringing water closer to them through the water tank project.

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