Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 09/10/2023

Project Features

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Students attending Shiru Primary School don't have enough water on school grounds. The immediate need for water often interrupts class, as students venture into the community in search of water, which is often dirty. If the school has the opportunity to harvest and store enough rainwater, students and staff will have clean water for drinking, cooking staff lunch, cleaning classrooms, and many other uses.

There are 894 students attending here, and that's not counting the dozens of toddlers who are there for the early education program. A normal class day for the primary students begins at 7:00 am and stretches until 5:00 pm. They sit in study hall for an hour before taking care of various cleaning assignments, like picking up litter and sweeping classrooms.

Students study in an environment where they don't have enough water to rinse latrines, wash hands, or safely drink. Students not only can't concentrate in class because of thirst or dirty water-related illness but often miss class altogether.


A small plastic tank is all the school has for water - this collects water when it rains. Its maximum capacity of 1,000 liters isn't close to enough water for the several hundred students and their teachers. The administration asked that students carry their own containers of water from home every morning to make up for the deficit. Carrying a heavy container of water, balanced with schoolbooks, exhausts students before classes even begin.

A class is often interrupted when a student or teacher realizes the day's water is gone. Students take their empty containers and go back out into the neighborhood, often stumbling upon open, polluted water sources. On the particular day of our visit, we followed students out to a large boulder. After a closer look, we saw why the children stopped; there was a pool of water coming from beneath the rock.

They're so used to this practice that they always carry a small cup along to access such shallow water. They lug their containers back to school and empty them in either one of two LifeStraw filters.

These students need a reliable source of clean water on school grounds. Until then, they risk closure by the local health department.


The latrines are old and the pits are practically full of waste. Even the ones that are full and unsafe have not been closed off to the students. These old, dirty latrines endanger these children. The extraordinarily long lines are unbearable for most, especially the youngest. Students will search for another private place around campus, such as the bushes, when they cannot wait in the lines for the latrines. Improper waste disposal puts the entire student population at risk of hygiene-related issues.

What we can do:


Training will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.

Handwashing Stations

The club will oversee the new facilities, such as handwashing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two handwashing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls while the other three serve the boys. And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

This will be a 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tank to meet the needs of such a large student population. Parents of these students will help gather the easily available materials we need such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer be responsible to find enough water to carry to school every day, nor will the school have to send them out to find more dirty water.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better health which will unlock the potential for higher academic achievement.

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Shiru Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Shiru Primary School in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Shiru Primary School. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this school maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

October, 2018: Shiru Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Shiru Primary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support. Handwashing stations were installed so that students can clean up after using their new latrines, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction including sand, stones, and water.

Students eagerly delivered water for mixing cement, knowing that having a tank would render these water trips unnecessary in the future.

Our staff and school administration started by looking around the school to determine the best location for their new rainwater catchment tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater. Then, we cleared the site: excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast by laying stones on a level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

Discussing the tank with the artisan and school administration.

Both the drawing pipe as well as the washout pipe were affixed as the foundation was lain. The wall was built with ferro-cement techniques through six layers. The inner wall was plastered while rough casting was done on the outer part.

The catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed so students can easily get water from the tap.

Dome construction could begin after the superstructure had been given enough time to settle. The manhole cover was fitted, inlet pipes were connected to the roof gutters, inlet screens, ventilation pipes (breathers) and overflow pipes were all done to standard.

Once finished, the tank was given three weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Shiru Primary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

We gathered at the tank to celebrate with everyone involved. Parents, local leaders, teachers, and students were there to witness water coming from the tap for the first time.

Team leaders Catherine and Janet standing on either side of Headteacher Mwashi.

"Water is life. There is good health when drinking clean and safe water," said Headteacher Mwashi.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit latrines. All of these new latrines have cement floors that are easy to use and clean. And with a rainwater catchment tank, there should be enough water to keep them clean all the time.

Handwashing Stations

Pupils can now enjoy washing their hands with soap thanks to the two handwashing stations that were delivered to their school.  These new handwashing opportunities will help reduce cases of hygiene-related illness. The training on hygiene has motivated these students to share what they’ve learned with their peers at school and families at home.

New Knowledge

During supervision of construction quality and progress, we informed the headteacher of our intent to train students and staff on hygiene and sanitation. The teachers worked with us to select student leaders from each grade. These students will band together with the help of their teachers to form a child to child health club for the school. This club will share about good hygiene and sanitation both at school and at home.

It was drizzling on the morning of training, but we weren't affected since we met in a classroom. There was a total of 23 participants ready to learn.

Students gathered around for a focused group discussion.

The school needed to be equipped with knowledge on how to improve standards of hygiene and to also ensure that the sanitation facilities given to them are maintained to serve the school for years to come. Some of the topics covered include water pollution, personal and environmental hygiene, operations and maintenance of the facilities, group dynamics, and leadership and governance. The group activities equipped the new CTC health club to promote hygiene and sanitation awareness at their school.

Students were particularly interested in dental hygiene. They were asked whether they brush their teeth, and some of them said they don't because they cannot afford the toothpaste and toothbrush brush. We informed them that they could use local materials such as a stick and ash or salt to brush their teeth. We also informed them of the dangers of not maintaining their teeth.

The CTC club is already planning to construct more handwashing stations to supplement the two plastic ones we delivered.

These students and teachers form the school CTC club, which will take care of the facilities and promote good health at school and at home.

"We will no longer be affected by waterborne diseases since now we have a water tank to store water for drinking," exclaimed Clarah Mwaizi.

With this water, Clarah and the rest of her peers will have enough water not only to drink but to practice all of the good habits they were taught about during training.

August, 2018: Shiru Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Shiru 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 your 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!

Giving Update: Shiru Primary School

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shiru 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!

When you enter the compound of Shiru Primary School today, you immediately observe improved hygiene practices. Previously, the school compound and classrooms were very dirty since there was no water to clean them. On a recent routine field visit, we saw how pupils now run to fetch clean water for drinking from their 75,000-liter rain tank and wash their hands too after visiting the toilets. Classrooms are now cleaned and pupils enjoy studying in a clean environment.

Deputy Head Teacher Mr. Stanley Akesa took a moment to share with us the many changes he has seen in the last year as a result of this project in his school.

"Pupils were affected with their learning because they use to waste a lot of time looking for water and [this] made some not attend classes [and] stay at home, [but this] is no more. Pupils were affected with waterborne diseases that made them also stay at home due to lack of drinking water that was not safe for human consumption, which has now reduced."

"Classrooms were very dirty and even the VIP latrines [were dirty] due to lack of water but now they enjoy cleaning them. Meals were prepared very late for Early Childhood Development [students], teachers, and those on [the] feeding program in school due to lack of water but now meals are prepared on time.

As a student at Shiru Primary School, 14-year-old Quinter Igada expressed her appreciation for the ways she and her fellow students are benefiting from the WaSH projects.

I really appreciate the school and the donor for coming together to help me access clean and safe water in our school compound by constructing for us a 75,000-liter tank."

"We clean our classrooms and toilets and hygiene standards [have] improved. We have clean water to drink and cook our food in school for us on [the] feeding program."

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 Shiru 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 Shiru 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.


Project Sponsor - Waterdrop