Thursday, February 14, 2013

GWWI Report from the field : Ex-Commercial Sex Workers Build Water Tanks for Local Schools

722 students and teachers at Kabati Primary School in Kabati slum now have water right at their school thanks to GWWI partner Life Bloom Services International (LBSI)!

Life Bloom offers vocational and leadership training to vulnerable and abused women and girls in Naivasha, Kenya. If you recall, last year they trained women convicts to build Biosand filters which now provides clean water to women prisoners and their young children (children under 4 years of age live with their mothers who are incarcerated) in Naivasha Women’s Prison.

This year, after attending the GWWI Women-led WASH Service Training in Kampala, Uganda, they learned to build rainwater harvesting systems and brought the technology home to share with their members. Led by GWWI graduate Wanjiru Ngigi, LBSI Program Manager, LBSI mobilized ex-commercial sex workers and hosted a training at Kabati Primary School. With support from the GWWI Training team, - Godliver Businge, Head Technology Trainer a trained mason, bricklayer and Civil Engineering candidate and Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Regional Coordinator – the women learned to build a roof rain catchment system with a 4,000 gallon ISSB tank (interlocking stabilized soil bricks). 

The exciting part of this project is the fact these women now have a viable alternative for income. They were not only paid to build this tank, but another school found out about this project and Life Bloom has now been contracted to build another tank at a nearby school. The women will be hired to build another tank providing 100s more students and teachers with access to water!

Having water in schools can make a significant difference in attendance and attentiveness. Children won’t have to fetch water during school hours, meals can be cooked on time and they can be more focused and clear when they’re hydrated.

LSBI has participated in GWWI Trainings since 2011. Within the last 18 months. they have learned two different water technologies, impacted nearly 1000 people in their community and their Executive Director and GWWI Graduate, Catherine Wanjohi was elected as the Board Chair of her local water board. It’s hard to imagine that this group didn’t have any construction experience or prior knowledge of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) education or strategies.

Water truly transforms, and LSBI is a testament to its power to change lives!