Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 622 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

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The 605 students of Irukose Primary School in Western Kenya spend much of their time collecting water from a nearby river for drinking, cleaning classrooms, and use in the school kitchen rather than concentrating on their studies.

The water crisis has impacted the school routine negatively and delays students learning activities affecting their performance.

Fetching water from the river is a dangerous task for students. The river is large and home to various kinds of animals. Teachers regularly accompany students so they can be sure they remain safe and make it back to school.

Elly L. (13) shares his experience: "It really affects me negatively as it is very dangerous to fetch water from the river. Sometimes there are very dangerous animals in the river. More so, it has really affected my academics because most of the time, I have to go to the stream to bring water for cleaning in the school, drinking, and cooking. Much time is being spent collecting water."

The water is not safe for drinking due to contamination, resulting in rampant cases of waterborne diseases like typhoid and dysentery. These illnesses make students miss lessons while they spend their time seeking medical treatment and medication.

Teacher Eddah Sagah said, "It (lacking water) impacts me negatively as I have to send the learners to the river most of the time. It really affects me hitting my target and wastage of time when [it] comes to class time. Most learners are not concentrating in class which leads to poor performance, which affects me personally as a teacher. It also brings a lot of worries when the learners have gone to the river because it is very dangerous."

The proposed water project will provide learners with safe water, making waterborne diseases a thing of the past.

What We Can Do:

Two Rain Tanks

Two 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tanks will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, bricks, rocks, and water for mixing cement. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans, tools, hardware, and the guttering system. Once finished, these tanks will begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school's students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

We and the school strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will lead to better student academic performance and help to unlock the potential for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather—one block for girls and one for boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and clean. And with two rain tanks right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a one-day intensive training session with students and teachers. This training will cover a wide range of topics including: COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tanks, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and at home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school, like handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

September, 2022: Irukose Primary School Rain Tanks Project Complete!

Irukose Primary School in Kenya now has access to two sources of safe, reliable, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tanks! We also installed new latrines and handwashing stations and trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

13-year-old Brighton W. recounted what life without clean water was like for him and his fellow students. "We have been having numerous challenges of unreliable water in the school which used to eat [up] much of our time for studies—when going to fetch water outside the school compound, being absent [from] school [after] contracting waterborne diseases, or leaving lessons in order to seek medications. But now, with reliable safe water, I am sure to perform quite well in my studies, having curbed the areas that used to eat [up] time which could have been utilized for studies."

Brighton at one of the new rain tanks.

Brighton is now excited about his future and has plans for his new free time. "[I] am very grateful for [you] coming to assist us from the water challenges we have been experiencing. Now, since we have water sources within the school compound, [I] am very optimistic that my performance will improve because now [I] am having enough time to utilize for studies as opposed to before. More importantly, I will also get time to play with my friends since now we have precious time as opposed to before, where time set for games [was] used to search for water."

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new rain tanks on campus.

"Reliable, safe water will impact my life [in] several ways," said 44-year-old teacher Sally Inganza.

Sally stirs soap during our hygiene training.

"One, I will be sure of drinking safe [water] from the known water point as opposed to before where we have been drinking anything called 'water' because students [would] get water from different sources. Besides that, I will be having plenty of time for teaching my students, and also student-teacher contact will improve. Since we will be treating water from the water point, the waterborne and water-related ailments will be [kept] at bay. Besides that, I am sure performance will also improve having in mind time [affects] studies as well."

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tanks

Construction for these 75,000-liter rain tanks was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. The school community provided meals and accommodations for the tanks’ artisans. Locals helped our artisans with manual labor, too.

Students gather gravel to aid in the tank construction process.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration scouting around the school compound for the best rain tank locations. The sites need enough land and nearby buildings with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Then, we cleared the sites by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundations. We cast the foundations by laying big stones on the level ground and reinforcing them using steel wire, concrete, and waterproof cement. We affixed the drawing and drainage pipes as we spread the foundations.

Rocks laid for one of the tanks' foundations.

Next, we formed the walls using skeletons of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. We attached the frames to the foundations’ edges to start the Ferro-cementing process. The sugar sacks are removed once the interiors receive their first two layers of cement. We layered the cement until six layers were in place, ensuring long-lasting construction.

Inside the tanks, we cast one central and four support pillars each to ensure the domes do not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner walls and roughcast the outer walls.

We dug and plastered the access areas to the taps outside the tanks, installing short staircases. We constructed soak pits in front of the access areas where spilled water will drain from the access areas through the ground. The pits help to keep the tap areas dry and tidy.

Dome construction began after the walls settled. We attached skeletons of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tanks’ walls before cementing and plastering, using similar techniques to the wall construction. We included small manhole covers to allow access for future cleanings, water treatments, and repairs. We propped long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside each tank to support the domes while they cured.

Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting lockable covers over the tap areas, affixing the gutters to the rooves and tanks, and setting overflow pipes at the edge of the domes for when the tanks reach capacity.

Once finished, we gave the rain tanks three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. We removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tanks.

Finally, we handed over the rain tanks to the school. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus.


VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. These new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a well right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Handwashing Stations

We set up two handwashing stations outside the latrines and handed them over to the newly formed student health club. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, fill the stations with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent available.

New Knowledge

We coordinated with the school's staff to schedule our hygiene and sanitation training. When the training day arrived, facilitators Nelly, Amos, and Mildred deployed to the site to lead the event. 25 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in the schoolyard under some shady trees.

We focused on personal hygiene, oral hygiene, and the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tanks, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Newly trained students!

The club will be significantly involved in the school’s water, sanitation, and hygiene project management. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

The most notable topic was dental hygiene, during which students learned a lot about why they brush their teeth and how to do it without hurting their gums. One funny moment came when a facilitator asked students what they use to brush their teeth, and one boy said when he runs out of toothpaste, he just uses hand soap. The facilitators explained that the two are not interchangeable, and everyone got a chuckle from the misunderstanding.

Another funny moment was when the facilitator asked the pupils how many times per day they clean their bodies. One student said rather than asking how many times per day, they should ask how many times per week.

A student demonstrates washing hair.

"The training has been of great value to me," said Brighton (whom we spoke to earlier).

"Personally, I have not been aware of any steps of hand washing, [the] way of brushing teeth to avoid injuring gums, and the best or recommended toothpaste for brushing teeth. But today, I have learned the ten steps of handwashing with soap using running water as opposed to before where I have been used to washing my hands in a basin. Generally, knowledge gained will help me do things as required so as not to cause other problems or contract diseases."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. When an issue arises concerning the rain tanks, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2022: Irukose Primary School Project Update!

The students and staff at Irukose Primary School are celebrating the completion of latrines at their school and getting excited about their coming water solution.

When we work within a community, there are always surprises along the way. For Irukose, when our drilling efforts came up dry, it gave us a chance to reevaluate and determine another solution. Instead of a borehole well, Irukose Primary School will soon be the recipient of two rainwater catchment tanks scheduled to be completed in August.

If you have questions, we are happy to answer them, so please reach out.

May, 2022: Irukose Primary School Project Delayed

We have constructed latrines and conducted hygiene and sanitation training at Iruoke Primary School. However, despite the positive results of our hydrogeological survey, when we drilled a well for the school, it came up dry. Now we are working with Irukose's administrators to come up with a new water solution for the school.

Thank you for standing with us as we continue work. We're always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer your questions. And, if you get a notice like this, it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.

March, 2022: Irukose Primary School Borehole Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Irukose Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

For a rainwater collection system, we build gutters around a building with good, clean roofing to channel rain where we want it. From there, the water falls through a filtered inlet pipe into a high-capacity storage tank, the size of which is based on population and average rainfall patterns. In the tank, water can be stored for months, where it is easily treated and accessed. Learn more here!

A Year Later: “Getting water has become easy for everyone."

November, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Irukose Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Ronnel. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Irukose Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Irukose Primary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Ronnel K., 13, recalled what life was like at Irukose Primary School before her school's rain tanks were installed last year.

"Obtaining water in the past was quite challenging. We used to collect water from a nearby flowing stream, and on occasion, we would end up getting wet while fetching water. Returning to class in a wet and tired state was discouraging and often affected our motivation to study. There were days when some of us would skip school to avoid being tasked with fetching water," said Ronnel.

Collecting water is much faster and more convenient for Ronnel and the other students at Irukose Primary School now.

"Getting water has become easy for everyone. The school has established designated times when students can collect water from the tanks for specific tasks. Additionally, we've set up makeshift drinking water stations where water is transferred to containers for students to access. This has significantly reduced the crowding at the water tanks," continued Ronnel.

Having ready access to water from the rain tanks has made a difference for Ronnel, allowing her to feel better about her hygiene practices and focus on learning instead of worrying about collecting water.

"Since we've had access to water in school, I've improved my cleanliness habits. In the past, carrying water to school was challenging, and at times, we'd stumble carrying water, getting dust and mud on our uniforms. We generally couldn't stay neat. Now that there's water available in school, I can maintain hygiene and present myself as a well-groomed student," concluded Ronnel.

Ronnel fetching water.

Right now, there are others in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can't wait to introduce you to the next person you'll help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Irukose Primary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Irukose Primary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


2021 Holiday Matching Gift
62 individual donor(s)