Fourteen (14) Schools from the Maasai Mara and Sengereti regions of two East African Partner States— The Republic of Kenya and United Republic of Tanzania— on 22nd October 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to promote Water Sanitation and Hygiene in their areas of operations.
The signing held at Goldland Hotel, Tarime District, United Republic of Tanzania partially sought to actualize the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding for Sustainable Management of Mara Ecosystem signed on 15th September 2015 by the two Republics.
Opening the Meeting, Dr. Ally-Said Matano, LVBC Executive Secretary termed $210,000 to be disbursed to the 14 schools as piloting project with greater catalytic potential. He urged for effective implementation of WASH project in Maasai Mara and Serengeti regions so that lessons learned can be replicated in Rwanda and Burundi—the sister EAC Partner States—where WASH in Schools is envisaged to be implemented. The initiative is funded by the USAID KEA.
Dr. Matano called for matching accessing to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities with equitability of distribution of such facilities between girls and boys. Such endeavor, according to LVBC Executive Secretary potentially promotes increased school performance in rural parts of East Africa, especially for girl-schooling children.
“School-friendly environments based on well-thought-out WASH plans can be responsive to the needs of a girl’s learning and education,” Matano said. The LVBC Executive Secretary called for integration of environmental conservation in WASH activities in Kenya and Tanzania based schools by applying simple solutions such as Small nursery beds, school tree gardens and irrigation schemes.
Promoting WASH activities in school, according to participants potentially reduced pollution of the waters of Lake Victoria especially in schools without proper hygiene facilities such as toilets.
The WASH project is expected to enable access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, reduce diseases and improve learning and hence contribute towards school completion rates in Maasai-Mara and Serengeti regions of the two countries. School managed hailed the project’s potential to increase school completion rates.
Rain water harvesting and storage, pit latrine hand-washing points, borehole drilling are some of the key deliverables proposed by school managers. Presenting the futuristic perspectives of the project, school managers committed not only to enable accessibility to WASH facilities to schools, but extend them to neighboring non-teaching staff and communities.
Peter Kamau, Principal, Soria Boys High, Kenya emphasized to the selected recipients of WASH projects to "use the resources for the intended purpose as opposed to diverting the resources to construction of classrooms.”
Participants also applauded the project’s potential to promote the wider EAC integration agenda through school exchange programmes, inter-school interactive sessions and free flow of ideas and good practices from the two Partner States of East Africa.
“Exchanges and increased inter-school visits between the two countries is in line with people-centered integration,” LVBC Executive Secretary stressed. Accelerating people centered integration features strongly in the EAC Development Strategy 2017-2021. The Executive Secretary thanked USAID KEA for their continued support to the East African Community through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.
School managers informed participants that School Boards were already aware of the in-coming WASH Project and expressed their full support to actualization of the project intended objectives.
School managers and LVBC project technical teams drafted a project implementation roadmap whose kick off timeline was set as January 2019. At least 6 Schools from Tanzania and 8 from Kenya are expected to benefit from the WASH Project.
Deputy Executive Secretary for Programmes and Projects in LVBC Telly Eugene Muramira also underscored the project’s potential to cement regional integration process between students, teachers and non-teaching staff from Kenya and Tanzania.