Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/26/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Day scholars attending Mumias Complex Primary School arrive around 6:30am every morning. Their peers who board overnight wake up as early as 5am to take a shower and brush their teeth in time for breakfast at 6:30am. By 7am, students need to be done with their cleaning chores like sweeping classrooms, dormitories, cleaning latrines, and picking trash up around the school compound. The teachers then have them line up to be checked for cleanliness. They check their nails, whether they've washed their uniforms, brushed teeth, and combed hair. Those with dirty bodies are taken to the bathing area and asked to wash up. These school bathrooms have soap, basins and buckets for cleaning.

There are morning classes and then an hour for lunch, when oldest students get to stay and enjoy school lunch. The younger students must return home to find food. There are afternoon classes, sports, clubs, and a study hall for the students who are preparing for their secondary school entry exam.


The school is connected to a tap supplied by Lake Victoria Water. It is extremely unreliable, with water flowing once a week for a day or two. For storage, the boarders have their own buckets and the school has some 100-liter barrels. These can be filled up when the tap is on.

But since the only source of water in this school is unreliable, the school has to find alternatives. Since the school borders Mumias Sugar Factory, they normally hire a factory's water boozer of 16,000 liters to bring them water. School administration uses what little money they have, paying around 19,200 per term just to access water. No matter how much money is spent, water is normally not safe for drinking. The boozer primarily fills up with water from the nearby river (which the factory lets waste into).


In 1984, the school was supported by the factory to put up a block of pour-to-flush latrines for boys and girls. A lack of steady water quickly led to poor hygiene standards, with pupils not having enough water to flush toilets. The school has recently been asked to increase the sanitation facilities and ensure a reliable supply of water, or be closed indefinitely.

"My name is Alusiola, and I am the Deputy Headteacher in this school. I've been a teacher in this school for the last 10 years. Accessing safe water has been a nightmare, as we spend a lot to access water. With primary education being free, there is little advocacy for water services - since those services might come with a fee. With our limited budget, other major school infrastructure needs take priority, leaving water as an ongoing issue. Using the flushing toilets without water is also a problem, and we have recently been given a notice by the Public Health Department to add toilets and also ensure a constant supply of water - or face closure. We will be glad if we can get partners to help us in this matter."

Here is what we plan to do about it:


There will be two days for teachers and students to meet at the school to learn about hygiene and sanitation practices. They will also attend sessions on the management and maintenance of their new rainwater catchment tank, latrines, and hand-washing stations. We will use all of our training topics to empower participants to invest their time in positive behaviors that promote health, prolong life, and enable them to become more self-reliant citizens.

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.

Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations are 50-liter plastic barrels on metal stands, and each has a tap to conserve water. These are often delivered by hygiene and sanitation training so they can be used for demonstrations, but always arrive by a project’s completion.

The CTC club will be in charge of filling these stations with water, and will ensure that there is always a cleaning agent like soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will be set aside for each gender. 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

A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water from the spring for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance for these little scholars!

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

July, 2019: Giving Update: Mumias Complex Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to build a rainwater catchment tank for Mumias Complex Primary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more…

May, 2018: Mumias Complex Primary School Project Complete

Mumias Complex Primary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your generous donation. A new rainwater catchment system was been built, and there are now six new latrines in use. Two hand-washing stations were installed, and students received training in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

Mobilization for hygiene and sanitation training began right with our first visit to the school. Administration was informed that a big part of this project is training on health and hygiene promotion. The school administration and its staff selected the best day for them, being Wednesday when the school has club meetings.

As the staff arrived at the school, they were met by a group of pupils awaiting them. Excited students gathered around the van as it pulled through the gate. A total number of 40 people attended the training! We met under the shade of a tree, where there was plenty of room for everyone to participate in demonstrations.

We taught that hygiene entails personal hygiene, water and food hygiene, and environmental hygiene. Attention needs to be given to each facet of hygiene to enjoy a healthy life.

We covered topics including but not limited to:

– Water pollution and water treatment

– Health starts with a clean self and clean environment

– Group dynamics, leadership, and governance

– Forming an effective CTC (child to child) club

– Hand-washing

Demonstrations were used for hand-washing, tooth-brushing, and many other topics. We facilitated group discussions and presentations, and students took part in role-plays. The students also received handouts to help them teach hygiene and sanitation to their peers.

The CTC club includes both students and teachers who want to take responsibility for spreading the message of good health and hygiene among their peers. They are also responsible for managing hand-washing stations, cleaning latrines, and keeping the school environment tidy. A water user committee was formed by parents and school administration, which is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new facilities.

The students who were trained have no formed a CTC club that will promote good health in their school and home communities.

Everyone was especially excited to learn about ways they can fight malaria. They started doing what they could right after training: clearing bushes and draining stagnant water where mosquitoes usually breed. 11-year-old Brian Wandera said "I am so excited from this training. I've really learned that I am my own personal doctor! Taking good care of my health is of paramount importance. I've learned that I need to wash my hands at five critical times, and also brush my teeth after every meal to have strong, healthy teeth."

Brian Wandera sharing what he learned during training.

VIP Latrines

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

Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered to school and handed over to the CTC club. These were placed outside of the boys’ and girls’ latrines to encourage hand-washing after latrine use. CTC club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, and make sure there is always soap or ash available. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, women cooked meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work. Local men and women helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a 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 hardcore on a level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

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. Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed.

The tank seems bigger from the inside!

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 standards.

Once finished, the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Mumias Complex Primary School. There were smiles all around as students and staff witnessed water coming from the tap for the first time. Teacher Charles Salasya spoke on behalf of everyone there, saying "I am so grateful... This school used to waste a lot of money getting water. We could have saved that money and improved our school infrastructure. With the current population we had pressure on the existing sanitation facilities and we had been served with a closure notice by the Public Health Office. Now we are happy we have water and even if the public health officer came to the school to follow up the closure notice, we are not worried. Particularly, the class eight who will be undertaking their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations would have been affected tremendously. Thanks!"

February, 2018: Mumias Complex Primary School Project Underway

Mumias Complex Primary School in Kenya has begun building a new source of safe, clean water because of your generous donation. A rainwater catchment tank and new latrines are being constructed, hand-washing stations provided, and the school is being trained on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Imagine the impact this will have on these students! Thank you for noticing the need here, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues. For now, please enjoy the new stories, pictures, and maps of this school.

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: Mumias Complex Primary School

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a rainwater catchment tank at Mumias Complex Primary School in Kenya– creating a life-changing moment for Pauline Atieno. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mumias Complex 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!

Sights of the past at Mumias Complex Primary School: jerrycans of water heaped in the corners of the classrooms, at the kitchen, and under the tree.

A year since the installation of a rainwater tank, the school now has water for use and students are no longer sent to the stream in the sugarcane plantations to get water.

We walked to the water tank and saw many children drinking the water and washing plates with a lot of smiles. Senior Teacher Pamela Olwanda noted the important financial impact the rainwater tank has made on her school.

"For me, I would say that the project has been really helpful to the school," said Pamela.

"In the past, we used to spend a lot of money to buy water. Now, we have water in the compound and we are saving that money and using it for other school activities like putting up infrastructure and funding co-curricular activities."

For 16-year-old student Pauline Atieno, the rain tank has meant the difference between risking her personal safety to get water and being able to stay in her school compound during classes, focusing on her education.

"Having water in the school compound has been so good to us, especially the boarding students," Pauline said.

"In the past, when we had no water, we would to go down the stream in the evenings and very early in the mornings on the days the school hadn't purchased water and this was not so safe for us as girls. On some occasions, we missed taking showers due to lack of water," she said.

"Thanks to [you], now we have water and can take showers twice a day and wash our clothes with ease."

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 Mumias Complex 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 Mumias Complex 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.