WASH Facilities In School Withstand Storm Damage In Zimbabwe

Human Interest Story Keche Primary School Pic1 (1)

Heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds cause damage at Keche primary school – Mashonaland Central Province.

Staff Reporter

Heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds pounded Keche primary school recently causing widespread damage. The school, in Mashonaland Central Province is situated in a low-lying area and exposed to climate induced adverse weather patterns such as persistent droughts, storms, floods, heat waves and whirlwinds.

“We thought we were going to die. To our surprise, the recently built toilets were not destroyed.”

Shyness Chingombe a grade 4 pupil

But despite the damage sustained to most buildings and property, newly built WASH facilities survived the storm unscathed, encouraging proponents of the KFW funded WASH in Schools Programme, managed by UNICEF and implemented by Welthungerhilfe (WHH).

Elector Muchabaiwa, a teacher at the school said “We have never experienced such a life-threatening disaster at this school since its establishment. We however thank UNICEF, WHH and our Government for building very strong toilets that resisted the storm.”

The roofs of the existing three teachers’ houses and three classroom blocks were blown off. One of the classroom blocks had its roof blown over 100m away. In less than 10 minutes, the schools furniture, doors and windows had been damaged beyond repair.

Mrs. Muchabaiwa was administering an exam paper during at the time. Both the teacher and the learners sustained injuries. The school lost nearly 70% of its property including furniture, textbooks, stationary, most of the buildings structure and other classroom and office equipment. Teachers also lost many of their property and valuables.

Despite the unprecedented harsh weather conditions which the school was subjected to, all WASH facilities, constructed through the WASH in Schools project were not damaged and remained intact. These included 2 ECD, 4 girl- friendly, 1 disability friendly and 5 boys’ toilets, an incinerator, a hand washing facility, pathways, and a drilled borehole.


According to Rembani Biswork, the Teacher in Charge, the resistance of these structures could be attributed to good workmanship from well-trained community builders and constant and regular supervision of construction works that was done by Environmental Health Technicians.

“Most importantly, the structures were built with resilience in mind owing to a history of harsh climatic conditions which have been experienced in the locality over the years,” he said.

Shyness Chingombe a grade 4 pupil ended with an illustrative description of the incident: “We thought we were going to die. To our surprise, the recently built toilets were not destroyed.”

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