Kisumu and Kakamega, Kenya 11 March 2015 - UN-Habitat in partnership with the Royal Kingdom of Thailand together with the County Governments of Kakamega and Kisumu last month launched the Thailand and UN-Habitat partnership for WASH in schools project at Matete Primary School. The launched follows last year’s contribution of USD 32,500 by the Royal Kingdom of Thailand to support UN-Habitat’s Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Programme (LVWATSAN) which aims to assist small towns in the Lake Victoria in meeting the MDGs for water and sanitation.

The main objective of the project is to improve the health of children and contribute to a clean and healthy learning environment. The project is designed to provide sustainable access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and hygiene awareness in two primary schools within the Western region of Kenya; Matete Primary school in Kakamega County and Renja primary school in Kisumu County.

Mr. Laban Onong’no UN-Habitat Chief Technical Adviser said “In sub-Saharan Africa the water and sanitation conditions in schools where children spend a large proportion of their time, continue to be a cause of concern. The educational reforms which included free education have resulted in massive increases in enrollment and a mushrooming of private schools."

The project scope includes construction of rainwater tanks, rain water harvesting system, construction of sanitation facilities two blocks per school each with four doors for boys and girls, and hand washing facilities. This will see 1,000 students and school community benefit from the implementation of the project.

In his speech Mr. Peter Mathia the Acting Chief Officer Ministry of Environment, Water, Natural resources and Forestry commended UN-Habitat and the Royal Government of Thailand for the support given to the County Government of Kakamega through this WASH project “ We, the County Government of Kakamega, do appreciate this partnership and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration that aims to make school a better place for our children” He also assured the school management of the full support from the County Government towards implementation of the project.

“I am glad that Matete Primary school will benefit from this project, we are looking forward to reduced incidences related to water borne diseases and a boost towards knowledge transfer through behavior change among the pupils and parents. I thank all partners and the minds behind this project we look forward to a great and fulfilling partnership” said Mr. Mandila Lukas Head teacher Matete primary school.

Mrs Pamela Nyaundi Achieng' Head teacher for Renja Primary school thanked UN-Habitat, The Royal Thailand Government for having considered Renja as a beneficiary of the WASH project, “Lack of clean water and sanitation facilities in our school has been a challenge but we are glad that this project will make our life in school better, the children and the school community of Renja are looking forward to a successful implementation of the project.”

She also thanked the County Government of Kakamega and Matete Primary School for hosting them at the WASH Launch. UN-Habitat has been working with different partners towards making school a better place for both the children and the school community. This has seen the organization partner with various private sectors among them The Coca-Cola Foundation in a project known as “Replenish Africa Initiative water, sanitation and hygiene project for schools in East Africa” which has implemented WASH in 20 schools within Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.