Kenya (MNN) — Nearly half of Kenya is made up of evangelical believers, but that hardly means the work there is over–spiritually or physically.
The needs in Kenya's rural areas are still great. One significant need is for safe, clean water.
To help meet this need, Lifewater International has hit the schools.
"Children represent the hope of tomorrow," says Lifewater's Patricia Klever. "If we can teach children the importance of drinking safe water, washing their hands, using a latrine, then they will be able to develop, to be able to learn in school, to attend school."
In order to develop these WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) methods in schools, Lifewater designed a curriculum called The Ten Building Blocks for Better Health. Recently, kids have not only been trained in these building blocks, but they have taken ownership of the curriculum by teaching it to others.
"We trained about 500 children who then went out and taught their parents, their siblings, and about 5,700 other school students, and became real change makers in their communities because they were part of their own growth and development," explains Klever. "The self-esteem in the children is just tremendous."
As kids have developed ownership of the program, not only has their confidence experienced a boost, but school-wide and even community-wide changes have taken place.
"Because [students are] healthier now–with safe water, washing hands and using latrines, absenteeism is down, so the school test scores are going up. There's no more cases of ringworm. There's actually higher enrollment. But one of the blessings was to hear that the spiritual growth of the kids and the community is increasing," says Klever.
The curriculum is designed with a Christ-centered focus. It uses Scripture and presents the Gospel. As a result, not only have communities become healthier physically, but their health is improving spiritually.
This ownership approach to WASH in schools is taking off. Lifewater can't do it all alone, though. Lifewater uses a lot of international volunteers to help with training projects and outreaches. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.lifewater.org.