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: 05/12/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

At 6:50am precisely, all pupils of Shamalago Primary School must be within the school compound or else punishment awaits them. They must begin by cleaning their classrooms and sweeping the staff offices together, and then go outside to clean the pit latrines and pick up litter around the school compound. There's a morning study hall next, and then morning assembly when the teacher on duty makes announcements. Students go back home to find lunch after their morning classes, and must be back to school by 1:30pm.

The afternoon is for discussion class, and then there are different clubs that meet for an hour. Each students is required to pick a club or game to participate in. But unfortunately, the water situation often interrupts the afternoon schedule. Students must leave class in shifts to go fetch water.

There are 662 students enrolled at Shamalago Primary School. Most are students who either live with their grandparents or a single parent. Teachers have sacrificed a lot to help these children, even of their own money as they purchase learning supplies for their classrooms. (Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)


There's a 10,000-liter plastic tank that collects rainwater, but it would need daily rain to adequately serve the school. Since there often isn't enough water on school grounds, students need to leave school in the afternoon to find more. They go out to sources in the community, particularly a protected spring. It should take them 30 minutes for a roundtrip, but it often takes much longer. When villagers are already waiting, children are asked to wait in the back of the line.

Not having enough water has caused the school to skimp on water uses that they see as less necessary. Drinking is most important, but water is used less and less for personal and environmental hygiene.

Moreover, the school is afraid that the water students fetch from the spring is unsafe for drinking by the time they return. Students are often sick with stomachache and diarrhea and miss school to recover. The spring is protected, so this is probably due to the long trip back along a dusty road with open containers.


There are three pit latrines used by the boys, but we're concerned that they may collapse at any time. The walls are cracking and the floors are unstable. The girls' latrines are extremely overused, and thus filthy and smelly.

There is a hand-washing station, but not enough water to fill it. Garbage is thrown on the ground behind classrooms.

Teacher Martin Mseve said, "We have suffered for so long, and when we heard from Bumuyange Secondary School that you help schools get water and sanitation facilities, we could not wait. That is why we had to look for you. I'm afraid if we continue living in such an unhealthy environment we may even lose some of our children. Please help us get out of these poor health conditions."

Here’s what we plan to do about it:

You make this possible. Thank You for joining us in providing clean water, sanitation facilities, and important health information for these students and teachers.


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.

Hand-Washing Stations

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 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 have to ration water and make frequent trips into the community.

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

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: Shamalago Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to build a rain tank for Shamalago 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: Shamalago Primary School Project Complete

Shamalago 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

The school headteacher, Mr. Jackson Kasivywa, was tasked with recruiting training participants. He agreed to invite a few parents from the school management team, three teachers, and student leaders.

We had proposed to have at least 15 people to train, and this expectation was met. A total of 18 people were given direct attention from our trainer throughout each session. We met outside, and when we started hands-on demonstrations, more and more students gathered to watch.

We prefer to conduct training after the project has been built so that we can properly teach about how it works and how to keep it working for years to come!

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, solar disinfection, 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.

Water hygiene and safety drew a lot of the students' attention, more so when solar disinfection of water was introduced. Learners asked questions about its effectiveness.

They were particularly excited about this method because it will help them save the money they would have used to buy extra fuel to boil water - plus, there are many people who won't practice chlorination because of how it changes the taste of the water.

Teaching about how to use the sun's power to disinfect water.

On-site rainwater catchment tank training also attracted a lot of attention, since this was the first tank ever constructed at the school. Everyone was eager to learn about how to care for it and ensure there's always enough clean water.

"There are many health tips that we had taken for granted. For example, lack of enough water in the school made us stay thirsty for long without thinking it could harm us in the long run," 13-year-old Alexine Ongayi said.

"But now, I will take eight glasses of water daily as I was taught. This training has benefited us because it addressed the direct needs of us all."

Alexine Ongayi

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.

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.

Working together on the dome structure before attaching it to the tank wall.

Once finished, the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Shamalago Primary School. There were smiles all around as students and staff witnessed water coming from the tap for the first time!

"We sure suffered a lot carrying drinking water from home and fetching water to bring to school!" 15-year-old Delight Luvandwa exclaimed.

"The tank will relieve us of the water shortages that haunted us for so long. As a girl, I know what water means to me in terms of maintaining personal hygiene. It will help us to wash our hands! The feeling of being clean complements and boosts my confidence in school as I work on other things with my classmates."

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: Shamalago Primary School

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a rainwater tank at Shamalago Primary School in Kenya – creating a life-changing moment for Celine Khaoya. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shamalago 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!

A year after the implementation process, Shamalago Primary School is in full gear.

The community now enjoys the availability of clean, safe, and sufficient water for use thanks to the installation of the tank in the school's compound. There has also been an improvement on hygiene standards (both personal and environmental) as spotted during our walk in the school grounds.

This is an indicator that the hygiene and sanitation training was successful and well-received here. The school community also has handwashing stations designated at certain points which allow both students and staff to clean their hands when need be. This has helped solve many cases of stomachaches that previously plagued the school.

Head Teacher Martin Musembi was glad to share with us the many ways he has witnessed his school community change for the better over the last 12 months.

"Implementation of the project in our community has indeed been a blessing to us. In this one year, our lives have never been the same [as before], and we do appreciate our [project] partners," Martin said.

"As a community, we now enjoy availability of clean, sufficient water thanks to construction of the 50,000L tank which has now allowed us [to] have time [to] concentrate on our studies compared to years when our pupils had to go out of the school's compound to fetch water [as] this interrupted normal class hours."

"The school's performance has improved drastically, as this year we were able to clinch Position 4 from Position 5 the previous year in our zone. Rate of absenteeism has indeed gone down in this past one year, and this can be connected to the project implemented [here]," Martin continued.

Posing with the tank at Shamalago

Smiles meet flowing water

For 14-year-old student Celine Khaoya, she feels the difference at Shamalago every day.

"A year after installation of the project in our school, as a pupil of Shamalago Primary School I now enjoy and have ample time concentrating on my studies compared to years back when our normal class hours used to be interrupted as pupils used to be engaged in fetching water," she said.

Vincent washes his hands

"The tank has [come] to our rescue and we indeed thank and appreciate our donors for considering our school. Having taken part in the hygiene and sanitation training held in the school, I boldly confirm today that I have been able to maintain my personal hygiene standards. My class performance has greatly improved and I do hope to pass with flying colors in my final exams. Thank you...we love you," Celine finished confidently.

There are other challenges yet to overcome by the Shamalago Primary School community, but on this day we were grateful to see, hear, and feel the impact these projects have made in just their first year of existence.

Camera shy student

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 Shamalago 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 Shamalago 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 - Pineapple Fund