“64 Schools in Isiolo County benefit from OBOS School WASH Project.”

Caritas Isiolo has successfully implementing a secure and reliable water system in schools project funded by Caritas OBOS (One Body One Spirit) through Caritas Kenya. The project aimed at ensuring schools have access to sustainable water as a critical component of multi-sectoral development. The project was geared towards enhancing the water security of educational institutions in Isiolo County. The project goal was anchored within the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ‘Ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’.

In the arid expanse of Garbatulla, where rain is a rare visitor and water scarcity is an unwelcome companion, 18-year-old Aisha Sabor, a form four student and the president of Garbatulla Girls’ Secondary School, shares a compelling narrative of transformation before and after the intervention of the Caritas Isiolo implemented School Water Sanitation and Hygiene project. The project is funded by Caritas Seoul through Caritas Kenya.
“I’m Aisha Sabor, the school president, and a form four student at Garbatulla Girls School,” she begins, her voice resonating with a blend of determination and gratitude. “Water has been a relentless challenge in our school since my admission in 2021. The geographical landscape is dry, and rainfall is as unpredictable as the wind. Long rains tease us in March-April, while short rains offer a brief reprieve in October- December. Yet, the reality is, we’ve seldom seen rains except for the El-nino downpour last year (2023).”

Painting a vivid picture of their struggles, Aisha reveals, “Our reliance was on a shallow well, a relic from he efforts of missionaries, situated 200 meters within the school compound. We lacked storage tanks, and our daily routine involved fetching water for every essential need—drinking, general cleaning classroom, and cooking of school meals. Time engaged by the students in these water-fetching endeavors often meant missed lessons, delayed meals, and an overall disrupted academic environment.”
The turning point arrived with the introduction of the One Body One Spirit (OBOS) School WASH
project, as the school principal – Ms Amina Ordofa Golicha, recollects. “We first heard of OBOS School WASH Project in our village, but its true significance became apparent when Caritas Isiolo embarked on :Aisha Sabor , Student and School President – Garbatullla Girls Secondary school a sensitization campaign at our school. Their vision? To construct a rainwater harvesting system comprising a 10,000-litre tank, gutters, and integration into our existing water system.”

Ms Amina’s eyes light up as she narrates the transformation that followed, “The installation brought a tidal wave of change. Today, we revel in abundant water for all our school needs—drinking, washing hands, cleaning of utensils, cooking and general hygiene of students and staff, and even nurturing our flowers and kitchen garden. The days of disrupting students learning time students to fetch water are behind us; our lunch and tea are served punctually. With lessons no longer disrupted by water-fetching duties, our attendance has soared.”

The School WASH project not only alleviated their water woes but also rejuvenated the once-barren landscape. The School Principal proudly states, “Our environment, once deemed inhospitable, now boasts flourishing flowers and trees. Our watchman tends to them with water daily, a testament to the beauty and growth sustained by the project.”

In a remarkable twist, Ms Amina reveals a surge in student enrolment, noting, “In form four class were Aisha is, we’ve doubled the number of students from 18 to 36 since last year. The allure of a school with reliable water has undoubtedly contributed to this upward trend.”

Garbatulla Girls Secondary school story encapsulates the transformative power of the OBOS-funded School WASH project, turning a water-scarce school into an oasis of opportunity. Through rainwater harvesting, education has triumphed over adversity, and Garbatulla Girls’ School stands as a testament to the positive change that a well-conceived project can bring to a community on the brink of despair.

OBOS School WASH project has been implemented for the last 3 years (2021 to 2024) with 64 learning institutions across Isiolo County benefitting. To improve access to clean water for pupils, teachers, and non-teaching staff the project has been able to successfully construct rainwater harvesting system which entails installation of gutters, a 10000-liter tank, and a pipeline connection to an existing water system.

The project has facilitated sensitization sessions for students, teaching, and nonteaching staff on water resource management practices and proper hygiene with emphasis on water and environmental hygiene. This was done in collaboration with the Ministry of water and Community Health Promoters (CHPs).

But the journey doesn’t end there. In the spirit of holistic development, three schools blossomed into hubs of sustainability, embracing the harmony between nature and nurture. The schools through the project support have established Agro ecology kitchen gardens that have enabled them to grow nutritious vegetables and fruits that are consumed at the school. 

Agro Ecology Kitchen Garden established at Qoticha Primary School.