Over the 4th and 5th of July members of the Rotary Club of Kilifi traveled to the Primary schools of Vitsapuni and Dera Tumaini in Kilifi County, on the coast of Kenya. Included in the team were two trainers – Alfred and Tatu – who are experts in delivering information on sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health to primary aged children.
We visited the schools to open the new toilets that the Kilifi Club had built under the two Foundation Global Grants supported by Rotary Clubs in RI Districts 1090 and 1080.
The trip to Vitsapuni took us two hours each way in a hired 4×4 vehicle, very hot and dumpy ride, but well worth it; with Dera Tumaini being easier as it was just 7 Kms from Kilifi. At Vitsapuni we were welcomed by the whole school as though we were royalty. Very humbling indeed. Alfred and Tatu held a training day with the school’s health club. The first session was a joint session for boys and girls in water and sanitation, proper use of the new toilets, how to keep them clean and how to keep themselves disease free.
The second session was predominantly on a girl’s menstrual health and hygiene; with Alfred taking, the boys aside to hold discussions with them on their challenges, needs and peer pressures.
Whilst the training was taking place, the children entertained us with song and dance.
Again when we visited Dera Tumaini health training was again delivered by Alfred and Tatu; including a fun game, based on Musical Chairs, ‘Musical Toilets’ with the children providing the music with their singing. Again while this training was being delivered the other children treated us to dancing, singing, poetry recitals and drama. These were all about thanking Rotary and explaining how their lives will change. It was all very exciting and we really felt that we and everyone who had helped to bring the improvements to the schools were really appreciated.
It just shows how much they value the efforts made by Rotary Clubs to improve their lives.
Kenyan Primary schools all have a two-colour uniform and we paint the toilets in the school colours. Two tone blue for Vitsapuni and yellow and green for Dera Tumaini.
So just what will be the improvement that these toilets will make? Firstly, the children’s health will definitely improve. We know this from previous projects, which Rotary assisted with, in Mnarani and Matsangoni primary schools. Less time off sick means more time in school. Also the girls will be spending more time at school, not missing a week a month because there was not privacy for them. Therefore, the results of their examinations when they are due to leave to go up to Secondary school will improve. In Kenya, all pupils sit their final Primary school examination at the end of their eighth year of schooling. It consists of 500 questions. If you do not get over 300 correct, even if the family could afford for them to go, it is probable that the child will not be given a secondary school place.
So the Rotarians had a great two days. Opening the toilets, listening to great singing, watching dancing and talking to the children and staff. Again thank you to all those Rotarians in the USA and the UK who made all this possible.