Conclusion of Groupe Scolaire Sainte Famille Handwashing Station Project – Rwanda

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Anna Cowell.

To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was to purchase and erect twelve hand washing stations at locations near toilet blocks and throughout the school grounds.

Anna reports:

Thanks to the generosity of Water Charity and its donors, sanitation conditions at Group Scholaire Sainte Famille have been improved.

Previously there was only one tap to serve more than three thousand students and staff members, and it was not near the toilet blocks. With the funds from Water Charity, the school’s headmaster, Jean Umuhire, met with local metalworkers at the market to select an appropriate handwashing station model for the school and negotiate the best price. He bought twelve handwashing stations and arranged for them to be transported to the school.

The stands consist of a metal base and a plastic tub to catch the water. The stations were installed at strategic locations around the school grounds. They are refilled and maintained by the school’s maintenance staff.

The handwashing stations have made such a difference in the life of the school. Students are now able to put good hygiene techniques into practice every day. The ability to wash their hands decreases their risk of common infections and parasites leading to reduced absenteeism.

The headmaster, Mr. Umuhire, tells us “On behalf of all staff, teachers, all parents and students of Groupe Scolaire Sainte Famille I would like to thank you for offering us handwashing stations which are very important for hygiene, especially in fighting against some diseases.”

The students are also very happy to have the handwashing stations. Senior three student Olikez Uwase says, “I thank you for hand washing project because it helps to clean our body and avoid diseases.”

The school also serves as the home of for WE-ACTx’s (Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment) Sunday Support Group and holiday camps for youth living with HIV. The improved facilities make promoting healthy practices for this vulnerable group easier. Proper hygiene is critical in maintaining good health, and HIV positive youth especially need to avoid infection. The handwashing stations mean the youth are empowered to prevent illnesses and take care of themselves.

Youth program director Henriette Mukanyonga says “I am glad to express my gratitude to Water Charity; it supported our program in order to improve the sanitary system at Sainte Famille place where approximately 150 youth meet every Sunday. The youth are very happy now because before it was difficult to wash their hands after using bathrooms.”

The youth are grateful as well. Aime Ndorimana, a youth leader, says “When we were at Sainte Famille place, we were usually faced some diseases from the latrines which were so dirty, and now you supported us to get some hygiene materials to facilitate us in our hand cleaning, so the challenges we face regarding diseases we could get from bad hygiene are limited. Thank you for your support and we stay healthily.”

Anna concludes:

Thank you again for your support. This project truly has made a difference in the health of the children and youth in the Sainte Famille Community.

We wish to thank Anna for completing this project, and again extend our gratitude to Six Senses Resorts & Spas for providing the funding.