Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 212 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/01/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The area around Shibale Secondary School is absolutely covered with sugarcane! Most farmers choose to specialize in sugarcane because of the nearby Mumias Sugar Factory, which buys their crops.

Shibale Secondary School is a place of learning for 200 students, of which 98 are boys and 112 are girls. The school employs nine teachers and three support staff.

Students start streaming into school by 7am each weekday, carrying their schoolbags and jugs of water. After some water is dropped off at the kitchen, the students use the remainder for cleaning latrines and classrooms. Everyone gathers outside at 8am for assembly, when the teacher on duty makes announcements. Regular classes get out before dinner, and are only interrupted by a few minutes, besides and hour for lunch.


Students must carry water to school every morning because there's no water source on school grounds. They'll find this water either at home or on the way to school - wherever it is most convenient.

The nearby primary school is connected to a water pipeline, but they find that half the time it's been shut off at the source. When either of these alternatives fail to be enough for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, the school has to order a boozer from Mumias Sugar Factory. This large truck fills up with water at a river flowing beside a dirt road between the school and factory.

And because the river is by the factory, users are concerned that it is contaminated by waste discharged directly from the factory. After drinking this water, students suffer from stomachaches, headaches, and diarrhea.

Besides constant sicknesses and resulting absences, administration told us that they've had to buy so much water this last year that they're struggling financially.


There are only two latrine doors shared between students and teachers. Though they're in good structural condition, they're filthy because of overuse and a shortage of water for cleaning. The male students admit that they prefer going behind other school buildings.

There are no hand-washing stations, nor would there be enough water to spare.

Teacher Elizabeth Busulu said, "We are so desperate in this school as we have no water source at the school compound. We spent a lot of money just to get water, and that water is even not safe for drinking as it's contaminated but we have no choice. We also have only two doors of latrines that are shared between the teachers and pupils, and surely we are facing a closure notice if the need is not addressed as soon as possible. Kindly consider us. We have seen what you did at Mumias Central and if we can be considered we shall be very grateful."

Here's what we plan to do about it:


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. This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as hand-washing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two hand-washing 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

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. Students will no longer be responsible to find enough water to carry to school every day, nor will the school have to pay for 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

July, 2019: Giving Update: Shibale Secondary School

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to build a rainwater tank for Shibale Secondary 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: Shibale Secondary School Project Complete

Shibale Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your generous donation. A new rainwater catchment system has 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

Deputy Headtacher Elizabeth Busulu worked with our staff to select teachers who have a strong interest in improving hygiene and sanitation at their school. These teachers attended our training and are now part of the new Child to Child (CTC) health club. All of the students opted to attend training, while particular student leaders joined their teachers in the formation of this new group, which will spearhead hygiene and sanitation-related activities.

Since it was a hot and sunny day, we decided to group under the shade of a big tree, which also offered a good view of the new rainwater catchment tank.

A number of topics were covered, including: Personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and hand-washing with soap as a barrier from germs. Operation and maintenance of the new facilities was also covered, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new CTC club will be greatly involved in this management, and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger Shibale Community.

Some of the training staff paid a visit to the school in secret a few days later, and were pleased to see students going straight to the hand-washing point after using the latrines.

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.

"My name is Edith Khasemba. I am in form three and my position in school and am the vice president. I am so excited that now we have toilets of our own. No more sharing latrines with the primary pupils. We had no latrines of our own and we had long queues as we went to share with the primary school. The beauty of everything is the fact that we now have water to keep clean, too!"

Edith Khasemba

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.

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 Shibale Secondary School. There were smiles all around as students and staff witnessed water coming from the tap for the first time! Mr. Andrew Buluma joined the other teachers to celebrate and spoke on behalf of everyone there, saying "We want to extend our sincere gratitude on behalf of the principal and deputy principal who are away at a meeting. The school faced a closure notice from the public health department and in two weeks' time, the school would have been closed. We are grateful that you came in at the right time in this situation, and now these young boys and girls can remain and study."

March, 2018: Shibale Secondary School Project Underway

Shibale Secondary 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. Get to know this school through stories, pictures, and maps on our project page. We look forward to reaching out with more good news soon!

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: Shibale Secondary School

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a rainwater tank at Shibale Secondary School in Kenya – creating a life-changing moment for Linda Onyango. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shibale Secondary 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!

Shibale Secondary has never been the same since their water and sanitation projects were installed. And they hope to keep it that way.

As we entered the school gate on our most recent visit, we were greeted with very bright smiles that spoke to all the ways that the project has been of great benefit to the school. The school looked neater thanks to the availability of water and hygiene training. We came in unannounced and found that the hand washing stations had water, meaning that the concept of handwashing has been well received.

Principal Were Webukha shared his story of how the school has changed over the years from a state of struggle to one of increased water, sanitation, and hope.

"Shibale Secondary school is one of the most privileged schools in this region, [and yet] in 2017 our school was closed up by the Public Health Officer due to lack of sanitation facilities," he said.

"Whenever we could sink pits [for new latrines] they would collapse due to the high water table. [Here] you can sink a pit up to only 8 feet and you reach the water. These toilets would fill up very quickly, hence driving poor sanitation in the school which prompted the Public Health Officer to close the school."

"But with the coming of [your team], we were blessed with VIP Latrines which we upgraded to flush toilets due to the soil structure. In the past, we couldn't do the flush toilets due to lack of water. We can now easily manage our sanitation problems as the water harvested in the tank is used for flushing the toilets and we have no worries about the routine checks from Public Health."

"Construction of the water [tank] has gone a long way in saving a lot of money previously wasted on purchasing water and we are in the process of utilizing the saved money to buy additional land for the school. Thank you!" finished Mr. Webukha, all told to us while smiling.

Linda takes a drink

Also full of smiles was 18-year-old student Linda Onyango, the school's Sanitation Secretary.

"Life at Shibale Secondary when I was in [my first year here] was not easy. This is because we had no water in the school compound and the little water purchased by the school was used for making meals. This forced us to walk to the stream in the sugar plantations for water, which was very risky for us as girls. We also had no latrines of our own and we had to share with the primary school and it was not easy," recounted Linda.

The reason for Linda's smiles quickly became clear as she continued her story.

"Now we have water in the school. The water from the tank has been pumped to an elevated tank on the latrines and we can even take showers when menstruating. Thanks to [you] we have clean and safe [water] for drinking, and we now can also clean our classes with ease."

"A clean and safe environment coupled with clean drinking water will realize our dreams of excelling in the examinations hence [preparing us for] a bright future," said Linda. Sounds like a great equation to us.

All smiles

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 Shibale Secondary 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 Shibale Secondary 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.


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