What a difference 5 years makes

WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

Meet Prudence. She is 13 years old and attends school at St. Theresa’s Girls’ Primary School in  Nairobi. Kenya. St. Theresa’s Girls’ Primary School is located at the intersection of three of the most impoverished communities in Nairobi – the infamous slums of Eastleigh, Mathare and Pangani.

Prudence Kinyua, 13, is an eighth-grade student at St Theresa’s Girls’ Primary School. Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya. 04 July 2017.
WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

St. Theresa’s used to have access to water only once or twice a week and had toilets that were dirty and unusable. During the evening, when the competition from big businesses and upper-stream areas decreases, the water would flow into the neighbourhood and to the school. By that time however, the school would be closed and the water was not useful for students or teachers.


In 2015, WaterAid Canada, along with our partner KWAHO, installed a water holding tank that substantially improved the school water supply by providing valuable water storage for times when the grid would run dry. The project also included the renovation of the school’s existing toilets and ensuring a toilet is available for each class. 


“Then the tank came and now even if there is no water in the area, our school will have some water to drink, or wash with. So there is change,” said Prudence. “The moment we step into the compound, we leave our backgrounds behind and we just enjoy this clean, safe environment. Personally, being able to walk around in a comfortable environment is very important to me. And I am happy to make sure that it stays that way.”


Today, St. Theresa’s school is a safe space for children, providing a clean environment they can be proud of, where they are free to focus on learning and where they can play.


For the past 5 years, WaterAid Canada has been tackling issues just like those found at St.Theresa’s in Kenya one school at a time! Our Clean Water for Schools Program, jointly funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and WaterAid’s generous supporters, is now complete. While the work may be done, the impact of that work goes on and will be felt for generations to come.

Toyiba Mohammed, 13, is a fourth grade student and a member of the Hygiene and Sanitation Club at Adame Primary School. Adame, Kalu, South Welo, Amhara, Ethiopia. November 2017.
WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

Through the Clean Water For Schools Program, WaterAid successfully reached 170 schools and over 120,000 students and teachers in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia with access to water, toilets and hygiene promotion. Through the engagement and collaboration of community members, senior school staff and government officials in the areas we worked, we:


  • Developed child-friendly hygiene and toilet facilities that respect different physical and mental developmental differences of students at different ages
  • Developed gender-appropriate hygiene and toilet facilities so girls and female teachers can practice effective menstrual hygiene management in safe and private environments.
  • Taught students about the importance of hygiene using drama, music, and art.
  • Engaging children as agents of change, building their confidence and encouraging them to spread the message about good hygiene at home and in their communities.



Thanks to your incredible commitment and generosity along our 5 year journey, communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda can enjoy and benefit from healthier school environments where children can learn, thrive and start preparing for their future.


Together we’re changing what’s normal for millions of people around the world.