Conclusion of Siyombe Primary School Latrine Project – Kenya

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Sarah Sisaye.

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

The project was to build a latrine for disabled students at the Siyombe Primary School.

Sarah reports:

The Siyombe Primary School Special Latrine Project was successfully completed on June 19, 2012. The project was a resounding success, but it was not without its hiccups.

In April 2012 shortly after receiving the funds, a final budgetary meeting was held with the following participants: Sarah Sisaye, Ernest Musali (Siyombe Primary School head teacher), Florence (a parent representative from the special unit), Albert (the fundi – or carpenter/architect tasked with building the latrine), George (the head worker who had dug the latrine) and Joseph (the head of the school’s governing board). After a 4 hour meeting, the budget was finalized, with Mr. Masuli agreeing to pay up to 5,000 Kenya Shillings over budget.

Immediately following this meeting, supplies were purchased and construction of the cement slab commenced. This work gave jobs to the local hardware store as well as young laborers in Siyombe.

Construction continued steadily for the next month as scheduled. However, it came to a stall as funds lowered. We had budgeted everything, but some prices were higher than expected. I kept speaking with the head teacher about his promise to pay up to 5,000 Kenya Shillings over the budget. Throughout this time, I stayed in touch with the fundi who encouraged me to come to the site and see the progress.

I visited in May and found the construction semi-complete. They had yet to finish the raised latrine and put in the doors. However, I was impressed by the quality of the workmanship. I returned on June 15 to take some photos and speak with the head teacher. On Tuesday I came back and found the latrine had been finished. I was able to take pictures with the students and the latrine, as well as their teacher and a few parents.

Everyone was very proud and excited for the new latrine. They felt that it put Siyombe on the map and marked out the school as a point of progress for special education within Navakholo.

Here are some responses:

Ernest Musali – “This has been a very good project for the special unit. This is very helpful to the children and the parents are very appreciative. The work has also given jobs to youth in the community.”

Madame Beatrice (head teacher of the special unit) – “This latrine is part of the school’s expansion plan, which includes building several more classrooms and more latrines.”

Florence (representative of the parents association for the special unit) – “We are very thankful for the latrine and happy for the children. Other people are inspired by the project. Parents are proud of the new structure that all neighbors look at and admire. They find it a good example to learn. Before, we parents, were afraid to show our children in the community, now we are proud.”

A sampling of the students’ responses (all students gave their opinions as part of the process of valuing them and their ideas). We did a round table discussion to accomplish this:

Ruth – “I am very happy. We have been given something good and clean. I’m happy our choo is better than the other students’.”

Bruni – “I am very happy it will be easy to use the choo now. We’ve built up the school with this work.”

These fantastic kids have been ignored by their community for so long. Now they have something special to be proud of and are receiving recognition for their contributions to the community. They feel special, proud and excited. They have a sense of accomplishment and don’t want to be forgotten.

I was so happy to be able to work with these deserving kids. They have such large hearts and are so welcoming. I, too, am proud and excited for them. This is a small project that has made a large difference in the lives of many people, including students, parents, teachers and community members.

We are grateful to Sarah for completing the project, and to the Elmo Foundation, Jane Bryan, and Sarah’s other friends and family for providing the funding for this project and other projects in Kenya.