Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 213 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

A day at Lihanda Secondary School goes from 8am to 4pm. Administrators attend to daily management issues, as the groundsmen liaise with the cooks to check if there is water in the kitchen. If the answer is "no," he will inform the administration about it. Administration officials then make the decision to either buy water or send students out to Odera Spring.

The school has several large boulders on its ground which are sometimes broken down and used for construction projects. There are also two fish ponds stocked with tilapia which are sold when fully grown.

A total of 197 students attend the school, of which 101 are boys and 96 are girls. The school employs 10 teachers and six support staff.


Most of the water used at Lihanda Secondary School comes from Odera Spring, which is unprotected and open to contamination. Though it's fit with a discharge pipe, the area behind it is aboveground and gets all sorts of dirt, garbage, and feces washed in - especially when it rains. Odera Spring is the nearest, most popular water source. It is often used, regardless of whether the school sends it students out for water or hires people to ferry it. All the water fetched here is either kept in the same containers or poured into a larger plastic tank.

Students told us that they encounter more than dirty water at Odera Spring, but they have the most trouble with the community. They say that fights break out because the community members see it as their water source and believe the students don't have a right to use it whenever they want.

The school drains its accounts, students waste class time, and the health of all suffers because of this situation.

Joan Amani has been on the school board for a while, witnessing what a clean water shortage does to these students. She says that there hasn't been a "case of disease on a large scale to raise an alarm, but we are quite predisposed because of the water shortages affecting the community."

"Buying water from unknown sources has also compounded this problem more, especially during the dry season," she continues. "Students register increased cases of diarrhea and other stomach issues during such times."


There are six pit latrines, but they are almost full. Though the pits desperately need to be cleared, the school is doing their best to keep the floors clean. There one handwashing station but it doesn't have any soap.

Here’s what we’re going 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.

Handwashing Stations

The CTC 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

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 leave class again to find more.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. With clean water and high standards of cleanliness, students' good health will give them the chance to earn better grades and live a better life.

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: Lihanda Secondary School

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

Lihanda Mixed Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support: A new rainwater catchment system has been built. Handwashing stations were installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training plans were made through constant communication between the trainers and the school administration. We worked to find the most appropriate time for students, staff, and parent representatives. Upon agreement, the school principal was guided to recruit a few student leaders, teachers, the school cook, a security officer, and a parent representative. We had a total of 17 participants who met with us in the school laboratory.

A number of topics were covered, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new child to child (CTC) health club will be greatly involved in project management and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. The CTC club is also excited about their agriculture project on school grounds. They'll have the water they need to irrigate crops when it doesn't rain.

The attendees were excited to learn about oral hygiene the most. Students sought to know why tooth decay had become so common despite the uptake of the teeth-brushing message, and why sometimes one wakes up with a smelly mouth even after brushing the previous night! Many students had been brushing their teeth wrong, using the wrong toothbrushes, or using expired toothpaste.

"I have been so ignorant about key issues pertaining to good oral health practices. The training was not only an eye-opener but has also contributed to helping me and my family to live healthily with respect to dental hygiene," 18-year-old student Ogenga Amondi told us.

"I will take it upon myself to help my peers unlearn the misconceived myths on 'why people must lose their teeth, yet it is all about poor oral health that is ravaging our community due to utmost ignorance."

Ogenga Amondi at her new 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.

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were delivered to the school and handed over to the CTC club. These were placed outside of the boys’ and girls’ latrines to encourage handwashing 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.

Esther using one of the new handwashing stations.

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. The rocky ground at this school made this the toughest part of the project. Workers had to take hammers to the rocks to make level ground for the tank.

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 Lihanda Mixed Secondary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

Students make way for their school cook so she can get clean water for their lunch!

Monicah Odiwour didn't pause to celebrate but continued with her hard work to prepare school lunch. The students made room for her to fill her container with clean water from the tap.

As water flowed, she told us "This tank will be very handy in making my work easier and more efficient. We need a lot of water in the kitchen to clean, wash food and utensils, and to cook."

"When we lacked water, hygiene was highly compromised and food preparation was hard and lunch was often late. Even when the school used to buy water, it was of poor quality and very turbid. Students' food looked very funny when we used the colored water. But the tank next to our kitchen is so much better. We look forward to upping our game!"

April, 2018: Lihanda Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Lihanda Secondary 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: Lihanda Secondary School

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a rainwater tank at Lihanda Secondary 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 Lihanda Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lihanda 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!

A lot has changed at Lihanda Secondary School since we first started visiting them before the rainwater tank was installed over a year ago.

First, you notice the students. Or rather, you don't notice them, at least not outside. That's because students have learned to be more responsible with their time by ensuring that they don't give a listening ear to anything that could distract them from their academics. It is not easy to meet students walking outside during the school lesson times because they are no longer sent to collect water from the spring.

Financially, there have also been notable changes at Lihanda Secondary. The rain tank has helped the administration to save much cash that was initially used to buy water that supplemented the water brought by students. The tank has since lifted the burden of buying water off the shoulders of parents, who can now use this money to support their families in other vital ways.

Deputy Principal, Principal, and student Pauline

Deputy Principal Peter Were is very happy about the way the rain tank has changed Lihanda Secondary School.

"Students are no longer sent out to collect water and therefore they now have adequate time to concentrate on academics. This explains why their academic performance in last year's national examination improved," he said.

"Concerning food preparation, kitchen staff now can work efficiently for they have water ready to use, [located] close to the kitchen. Thus many things are now done on time. Meals are now provided to both teachers and students in time and there is order and discipline among students. Teachers have also reported that they now monitor students with ease because no one can use going to fetch water as an excuse for not finishing any assignment given," explained Mr. Were.

School staff now easily fetch water on school grounds

15-year-old student Pauline Atieno shared her perspective of these changes as well.

"Availability of adequate water in school has solved the problem of students leaving class to go and fetch water from the spring which used to be very dirty, and also had low yield where users could wait in long [lines] hence wasting study time," said Pauline.

"Food is now prepared in school using clean water, therefore students no longer complain of diseases spread through dirty water. Agriculture students use water from the tank to irrigate crops for their practicals, which has increased the number of students taking that optional subject in school."

The ripple of impact this rain tank makes continues to expand into the Lihanda community as well.

It is evident the school appreciates the project and maintains it very well. Because of this, among students, staff, and their families the levels of confidence have increased due to improved standards of sanitation and hygiene. They are now confident that many challenges in the community will be solved as a result of this project.

Pauline 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 Lihanda 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 Lihanda 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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