Excellent Development’s Communications Manager, Dwain Lucktung, finds out what impact a water tank has had on the lives of the Iiani Secondary School students.students of Iiani Secondary School in rural Kenya

From the outset they’re like any other students you’re likely to meet. Happy go lucky, smartly dressed in uniforms, passionate about a range of subjects from Maths, to Geography, Chemistry and Swahili. They work hard and play hard (judging by their sprinting from classroom to playground at the lunch bell).

It’s at this moment I’m generously given 15 minutes to speak to some of the students about how their lifestyle has changed since we at Excellent, our partners the Africa Sand Dam Foundation and Jersey Overseas Aid Commission supported the school to build a water tank on the school grounds.

At the introduction 18 year old Irene Ngaar tells me she wants to be a lawyer so she can “terminate the corruption” in a country that is so very familiar with the issue. Her classmate, 18 year old Titus Muai, also wants to be a lawyer “in order to make our country improve”.

"(The previous borehole water source was) unhygienic as donkeys from the local villages also used to use it."

Principle Abraham Nzioka, Iiani Secondary School.

What had been hindering these model students from getting to where they want to be?

One of the main issues was the condition of the students and their water/food supplies, which Titus told me used to be very poor. Their previous water source was a contaminated borehole, which was “unhygienic as donkeys from the local villages also used to use it” said 57 year old Principle Abraham Nzioka. Irene said the water was salty, making the school food unappetising and therefore students were deterred from eating it. She added that it was so unappealing that some students wouldn’t eat or drink at school, they’d be in classes hungry, thirsty and wait until they got home to replenish. Titus said this resulted in the many students lacking energy and motivation during class, ultimately affecting their concentration levels and class work.

The water tank, built in 2013, has changed that all around. With fresh water just a short walk away from their classrooms; all 120 students in the school now have regular access to safe, fresh water, food has vastly improved (Irene and Titus now enjoy their daily meals of rice, maize and beans), the school is cleaner as they have water to sanitise, and the general area in and around the school is greener, as the trees, plants and grass aren’t starved of water.

The water tank has also saved the school money, as they sometimes used to have to buy water from another village. Now with their own supply, and with ample water than the school needs, the principle is planning to invest the saved money back into a school laboratory/science building, and the students are also able to use the water tank to bring fresh water back to their homes.

“Determined to succeed” is the school’s motto. Something made easier to do thanks to the “blessing” that is the water tank said Titus.

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