The collection and consumption of unsanitary water by school children affects both their hygiene and their ability to participate in education. Harrison and Emaculate, two 11-year-old students of the Muangoni School, described how access to a clean water tank (built with the support of Excellent Development and our partners, the Africa Sand Dam Foundation) helps them stay engaged in their studies and protect their health when we visited them earlier this year.

So what do you use the water for in the school?

Emaculate: We use to water for irrigating tree seedlings, washing classes and offices and even latrines.

If you didn’t have the school water tank, where would you need to get water from?Harrison

Harrison: We used to get water from a nearby river.

"We felt happy when you built our water tank for us because it fetches a lot of rainwater for us and it helps us to be healthy and to concentrate in our subjects."

Harrison, student from Muangoni School, southeast Kenya.

From drinking the water from the river, did you ever used to get sick?

Emaculate: I got stomach ache, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Did it mean you couldn’t go to school?

Emaculate: We missed school and subjects because of the sickness.

If you didn’t have the school water tank, how far would you have to walk for the river?

Emaculate: We walked for four hours.

At what age did you start walking for four hours for water?Emaculate

Emaculate: 8 years old.

"(Our parents) are happy too, as we are no longer having to walk long distances to collect water."

Emaculate, student from Muangoni School, southeast Kenya.

Did it affect your performance in class?

Emaculate: I felt tired in the class and sometimes I slept in the class when the teacher was teaching.

How do you feel now that the water is a short distance from your class?

Harrison: We felt happy when you built our water tank for us because it fetches a lot of rainwater for us and it helps us to be healthy and to concentrate in our subjects.

How do your parents feel about the school water tank?

Emaculate: They are happy too, as we are no longer having to walk long distances to collect water.


During our visit to the Muangoni School we also got the opportunity to talk to the headteacher, 59-year-old Francis Mutangi, about the benefits of their water tank and what he has observed comparatively about other schools without access to onsite sanitary water:

"Because of the school water tank the students can get water for drinking, washing and cleaning for the whole day. We are also using the water for tree planting, a small garden. Francis Mutangi, headteacher of Muangoni school, southeast KenyaThe tank is helping us very much and was a feature when I started working here in January 2019."

"Muangoni is the 4th school I've worked and because they have a school water tank it is the best performing. The students come in fresh, less tired."

Francis Mutangi, headteacher of Muangoni School, southeast Kenya.

"Water here means there is no excuse or reason to miss school. Muangoni is the 4th school I've worked and because they have a school water tank it is the best performing. The students come in fresh, less tired. At other schools, students might come and sleep for a few hours at their desk, as they had spent all morning or night getting water for their families and themselves. They were exhausted by the time they got into the classroom."

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