Project Background

Total grants awarded to this project by Pass It On Africa: £25,760

 Pass It On Africa (PIOA) and Build Africa (BA) have partnered together to support Vingujini Primary School in Kwale, Kenya. PIOA agreed in September 2014 to become BA’s funding partner.

Without safe water and sanitation, girls and female teachers are often forced to stay at home during their period.

Imagine you are a teenage girl at a school without proper toilets. You are on your period and need dignity and hygienic facilities to keep clean and healthy. Rather than risk bullying or infection, you have no choice but to stay at home and miss out on a vital education. For many teenage girls in rural Kenya this is a reality. Girls do not have access to safe  water and sanitation, compromising their education, heightening their risk of illness and ultimately leading to  higher dropout rates. As well as students, female teachers are also alienated, leading to a direct impact on the quality of teaching at school. Build Africa has been working to create equal access to education at 72 schools in Kwale, Kenya, reaching 35,000 children. This highly successful  projecthas made important progress in changing community attitudes towards girls’ education. The Heshima Project will build upon this important work to further promote the inclusion of girls.

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Why is sanitation so important to education?

Research has shown that a quality education relies on individual and environmental health.

‘Educational achievements can be linked to healthy behaviour, a healthy body and a healthy living environment. There is need to ensure that schools maintain good hygiene in order for the learners to be able to be in school and continue to learn.’ 1

Girls are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of poor sanitation facilities due to the inability to manage their menstrual health. Yet, in a recent survey conducted by Build Africa across 23 schools, 78% of them rated their school latrine facilities at 2.5 or less out of a total of 5 points.

Over 3,100 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Kenya.2

In Kenya, studies have found that inadequate water and sanitation facilities create a major barrier for girls wanting to access education. Without significant improvement of existing facilities, this will sadly continue.

10% of 15-year-olds reported engaging in sex in order to afford to buy sanitary pads.3

Poor sanitation can impact on the everyday lives of children in many ways, including: exposure to hygiene-related disease; decreasing pupil attendance and achievement; and contributing to lower levels of dignity, inclusion and equality.4

Having established relationships with communities and schools across Kwale, we are seeking to use the lessons learned from trials in Uganda to improve the school environment for all children, helping girls who are now enrolled in school to get the education they are entitled to.

The Solution

Build Africa’s established community networks and wealth of experience in supporting young people makes us ideally placed to deliver change to schools in Kwale. Your support will help us to continue our work in three areas:

There are inadequate facilities in schools that prove a health risk to students


- Using high quality materials purchased from Mombasa, we will build pit latrines which are sufficient to accommodate all the primary school children and maintain cleanliness. The structures will be covered and have a concrete base. 


- Handwashing stations will be situated nearby, also with a concrete base to collect the run-off water which can then be used to water school gardens.


- Washrooms will also be constructed on the side of the girls' toilet to enable girls to clean themselves discreetly.


- Two 10 litre water tanks will be constructed to provide clean drinking water for all children and staff. 
The School Board of Management will receive training in how to maintain the facilities as well as the importance of menstrual health management for girls.

Children do not understand the link between health and hygiene, and cannot adopt best practice due to lack of facilities


Training sessions for the wider pupil population will be given on hygienic practices such as hand-washing and the links between cleanliness and health. Posters and flyers will be produced and displayed around schools to create momentum for the hygiene campaign. Activities will also be integrated with the existing in-school girls’ clubs which have been established through the Kwale Girls Project. Special handbooks for the clubs will be produced to help guide their activities.

Girls' dignity, health and privacy are particularly compromised due to a lack of facilities to manage their menstrual health


- All children will be taught how to make re-usable sanitary pads which are both cheaper and more environmentally friendly than commercial ones. Training around menstruation for all children will reduce the stigma. Washrooms for girls to be able to clean themselves discreetly will be built within the girls’ toilet blocks.
- Finally, each girl in the older years of school will be given a Dignity Kit, consisting of two pairs of underwear, the materials to create two reusable sanitary pads and two containers of soap for handwashing.

1.  http://www.hrpub.org/download/20160130/UJPH3-17605560.pdf
2. WaterAid, 2016
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624246/
4. Unicef, Raising Even More Clean Hands, 2012

VINGUJINI cureent toilet block

The Budget

Build Africa is looking for an investment of £25,750. This budget will enable Build Africa to support the education and well-being of students at one of 23 schools we have identified with the greatest need. The budget below includes the necessary Build Africa costs for managing the project.

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