In Kenya, it is estimated that only a ⅓ of the population has access to safe drinking water close to their homes, at an affordable price. Therefore, school-going children have to walk long distances (at least 4km) so as to secure water for their families before/ after going to school causing absenteeism and resulting to school drop-outs.
In 2013 International Transformation Foundation members worked together on a countrywide research project about a sustainable clean drinking water system. One of the main insights gained is that all communities wish to improve their water system. Some communities do not have a working tap water system at all, prompting school-going children and women to walk very long distances to secure water from neighboring communities’ wells/ rivers. Other communities especially in per-urban areas have a small number of taps within and would like to increase this number.
The problem with current water projects in communities in Kenya are:
- the water system with the technical components to get groundwater to the tap and
- the paying system that describes what to pay for, how to maintain the system and how the business is set up; the social system.
That is how A Water Kiosk at School was created as a (primary) school-based business, managed by the students, selling clean tap water to community residents. In this context, the organization works with community schools to set up on-site water kiosk with specially designed and sustainable products for children to transport tap water to their homes straight from school. A water kiosk at school is both an educational and profitable business teaching students business and entrepreneurial skills. It also generates much-needed income for schools.
It provides practical education bridging the gap between school and work and contributes to the development of a community with a school which is able to support itself without relying on subsidies and yet is able to afford the best facilities and the best teachers.
Since November 2014, ITF has built 10 Water Kiosks in 10 schools & communities in 4 counties (Nairobi, Bungoma, Siaya and Homabay) across Kenya.
Methodology Used: A Water Kiosk at School is set up in a school located in a generally poor and/ or rural community with no working tap water system. In a community, it set to be the main source of clean water for all households.
A water kiosk at school is characterized by the following environment-friendly products developed in partnership with Join the Pipe Foundation:
- Water Saving Tap Station - The water stations not only provide clean drinking water but also saves water. No water is wasted with our auto-stop tap. They are also Vandal resistant.
- DRIP TAPS For Hand Washing Facilities- They build toilets and hand washing sinks to prevent waterborne illnesses to spread. Drip taps technology reduces 90% of water usage.
- Water Bottles - They provide refillable water bottles for the children to drink from.
- Jerry Carry Karts - These Jerry Carry Karts reduce the physical injury from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water on heads of the children.
Within 24 months, the school earns enough money from selling water to community residents at an affordable price and are able to repay the setup cost which is then redeployed to an additional school/community. Below are activities that are carried out (chronologically) in setting up A Water Kiosk At School:
- The school’s expression of interest to adopt A Water Kiosk At School. The expression is made by filling an application form documenting the school; community background and water situation in the school and around the community.
- The community involvement & cost estimation. ITF, the school, and community residents work together to estimate the setup cost within community resources context. This way, the school will be able to sell water profitably and return the setup cost.
- ITF sources for funding to set up the kiosk.
- Legally binding agreement. An agreement is signed allowing ITF to place the kiosk management to the school and community residents. In the case that the school violates the kiosk principles, the school is held liable.
- Permits & Licenses: The School requests and obtains kiosk construction and water connection permits and related licenses from the relevant authority.
- Kiosk construction & water connection: An ITF technician with help from the community residents set up the kiosk at school.
- Kiosk launch. The kiosk is opened to the public after training students & teachers how to run the day to day operations of the kiosk.
- Monitoring & evaluation:
Day to day operations & records: A Water Kiosk at School is managed by two students per day with two roles. One receives money and does the book records. The other one is responsible for assisting customers at the tap. The bookkeeper records include time, buyer name, quantity purchased and paid the amount. The bookkeeper also records any expense if any. At the closing of any business day, both kiosk operators sign and submit the records book to the responsible teacher.
Weekly and Monthly report: The information is recorded every day in the records book is used to compile a weekly and monthly report prepared by students with the support of a teacher. The report is sent to ITF and essentially contains information such as the number of students and non-students that used the kiosk, the amount of water purchased and money spent, names and details of students that managed the kiosk, etc.
Monthly Kiosk Visit: The ITF project coordinator visits the school /kiosk to review the day to day book records.
User Survey: This is done every quarter to get user feedback.
Repayment: The school repays the setup cost on a monthly basis.
- They have built 10 Water Kiosks in 10 schools/ communities in 4 counties across Kenya.
- 4815 school children no longer need to be absent from school to secure water for their families. They also have improved sanitation and health at their schools.
- 73087 people thus far have access to clean tap water at an affordable price in their communities.
The multiple benefits associated with a water kiosk at school for students, school and community residents include:
- The first microcredit project for schools with a sustainable business model, creating money for WASH activities in school.
- A repaid loan system that allows funds to be redeployed to additional schools in need, thus reducing the need for subsidies and dependency.
Improved Sanitation And Health :
- All sanitation facilities are improved around the school, the money from the water kiosk is used to purchase soap and toilet paper for the school children.
- Jerry carry karts reduce the physical injury from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water on the heads of the children.
Education And Capacity Development :
- Increased school attendance as children no longer need to absent themselves from school to secure water for their families.
- Work experience for students through the running the water kiosk. They learn about teamwork, commitment, leadership and responsibility.
- Children are able to transport water to their own homes straight from school.
- Increased safety as children do not have to go to remote and dangerous places to fetch water.
- A school kiosk saves time and waiting in lines at other water points.
Environmental added values:
- Providing the community with filtered drinking tap water.
- Reduction in the enormous amount of plastic waste and CO2 emissions caused by the production and transport of unsustainable water bottles and containers.
- Brand new campaign as a strong ambassador for access to clean drinking tap water and better sanitation in rural and poor communities.
Budget: Setting up A Water Kiosk At School model costs $10,000-12,000.
With a school and a community ready to adopt A Water Kiosk At School, stated below are the minimum resources needed to set up the kiosk:
- Join the Pipe Products:
- Water source within at least 4kms from the school
- Kiosk building construction Space of 7X9” at school
- Kiosk building construction materials & technician
- Water saving tap station
- Drip taps
- Refillable bottles
- Jerry carry karts
- Water connection (plumbing) materials & technician
Mr. Venuste Kubwimana- ITF Secretary General