Report by: Anita Lukorito
Walk in some schools in Makueni County on a normal school day and you will see poor attendance for girls in comparison to that of boys since most of them are restricted to homesteads to attend to household chores.
The situation is such worrying that cases of early pregnancies and early marriages have become rampant with most parents hanging on backward traditions that belittle women.
The traditional roles have reduced the girls to mere house helps or young mothers making it hard for them to pursue their academic dreams since they have no say on their future.
“The girls walk for long distances to fetch water after school in the evening where they are exposed to cases of gender based violence that leads to early pregnancies,” said Mr Kennedy Kitulu, the head teacher of Kyuasini primary school.
Kitulu said he was personally touched with the plight of the girls in the village that he came up with the idea of constructing a dormitory for Kyuasini to house the girls.
“Having them to stay at school gives them enough time to concentrate on their studies and shield them from the risk of being sexually assaulted,” said the head teacher.
The dream received a boost when the Turner Broadcasting EMEA team (CNN) led by Kaitlin Wiener Came to Kitulu’s aid. They raised funds. They then helped build a new dormitory and an ablution block for girls.
However, Kitulu is unable to start marketing and selling the boarding school idea to the community as the ablution block is not functional; a septic tank has to be constructed and water has to be piped to the block for the dormitory to be useable.
Therefore, Raha Solutions, in ‘Even It Up’ campaign, are lining Kyuasini’s water harvesting masonry tank and installing a hygienic toilet.
Raha’s 2018 aim is to make 52 schools and health facilities equal to similar institutions.
Kyuasini village is water starved. It is not reasonable for them to use water to flush toilets therefore RaHa will build toilets that do not require flushing.
The project also seeks to lay pipework from the tank to the boarding facility; and fill existing tanks with water on weekly basis until actual demand for the boarding facility is established. The water supply system will be completed based on the demand.
The completion of the project will definitely have a positive impact on the girls in this region with regard to boosting their education standards unlike in the past where they were marginalised.
The girls will have a better chance of studying than before which will be a stepping stone for hope and a better future for the rest of the society.