Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Essong'olo Secondary School was established in 1985 but closed again soon after. It was revived by a new administration in 1994. The enrollment in its first year was just five students! Now the school hosts 566 students and employs 22 teachers and 12 support staff.

A normal school day begins at 8am and ends at 5pm. Students used to have an hour break to return home and eat lunch, but the school is now equipped with enough cooks to have lunch on school grounds.


There are a couple of plastic rainwater catchment tanks of 2,000 liters each. Far too small for a school this big.

The administration admitted that students often go without drinking water after lunch. There is a severe water shortage here, and thirst causes students to struggle through their afternoon classes.

The cooks start their day by drawing the water they'll need for cooking because it's never guaranteed there will be water left by lunchtime.

Chairman of the school board, Mr. Job Osiako, said that the water situation in the surrounding community isn't good either.

"Many people still don't have access to clean water in this village. One spring in this neighborhood almost dries up during the dry months, making the villagers line up for a long time to get water. Waterborne diseases erupt during that season," he said.


The pit latrines here are filthy. The walls of the boys' latrines are falling apart and a lot of doors are barely hanging from their hinges. A student will usually bring a friend to the latrines to hold the door closed for privacy. There is a handwashing station, but it's reserved for school staff.

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 have to worry about having enough water to get through the school day.

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

September, 2019: Giving Update: Essong'olo Secondary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Essong'olo Secondary School in Kenya access clean water.

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

July, 2018: Essong'olo Secondary School Has Clean Water!

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Essong'olo Secondary 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.

New Knowledge

The headteacher helped us plan for hygiene and sanitation training by selecting student leaders from each grade.

At the time of training, the students were having their continuous assessment tests and so students who had already finished their exams were allowed to attend the training.

Students at the training just before the rains began.

The training happened in the evening hours due to the school's schedule. The rains were hanging above the sky when we started the training outside within the compound. Within 20 minutes time, it was raining heavily and so we had to move the training into a classroom.

Interactive activity during the training

We covered several topics, including 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 handwashing session made this topic captivating because the participants wanted to learn of the right way of washing their hands.

Handwashing demonstration

"I'll ensure that my parents and my siblings back home get to learn of the right way to wash hands. We all have been doing it the wrong way by washing our hands in a basin filled with water," Gladys Alivista, a 16 year-old student, said.

"This has to change."

Training activities

The children in attendance will kickstart a child to child club at their school. 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.

Handwashing Stations

Handwashing using the new stations

Pupils can now enjoy washing their hands with soap thanks to the two handwashing stations that were delivered to their school. Before, there was nowhere to wash hands. 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 both with their peers at school and families at home.

VIP Latrines

Latrine under construction

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) 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.

Celebration in front of girls' latrines

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was successful! The heavy rains during the construction period caused some delays making the artisans start their work early in the morning and work long hours.

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.

Building tank walls

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 stones on a level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

Plastering the dome

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 standard.

Boys latrines are done!

"We now have a bigger tank in our school compared to the ones we had. It's even more durable than the plastic ones! One of those plastic ones already has burst and can't hold water anymore. This one will do us more good," Principal Zaddock Onyino said.

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

May, 2018: Essong'olo Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Essong'olo 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: Essong'olo Secondary School

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Essong’olo Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Enos Omsalaba. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Essong'olo 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!

Ever since implementation of rain tank and hygiene facilities last year, the staff and students at Essong'olo Secondary School have experienced tremendous improvements and this was evident when we recently visited the school.

The school is now able to access water directly from the school's compound as opposed to years back when students had to leave campus in search of water. The water from the rain tank is clean sufficient, which has helped reduce cases of waterborne diseases. The hygiene standards have also greatly improved thanks to the hygiene and sanitation training carried out at the school. Students and staff now wash their hands at the handwashing stations and utilize their new latrines. The school is well-kept and the facilities installed at the school are all well-maintained and functioning.

"As an institution, we have experienced tremendous changes," said Deputy Head Teacher Jason Asenga.

"[These] include [the] availability of clean, safe and sufficient water at all times compared to years back when the facility had not been installed. Our food is prepared on time as water is available making our cooks work much faster. Installation of the sanitation facilities has helped the school have enough toilets for the entire population of the school thus easing congestion. [Regarding] time management, our students now have ample time for their studies and this has reflected on our school's performance. [Also the] rate of infections has gone down thanks to [the] water treatment [that is] done [to the rain tank]."

Deputy Head Teacher Jason Asenga at the rain tank with a student

Perhaps the most affected by these changes have been the students at Essong'olo Secondary School.

"Before implementation of the facility in our school, we used to draw water from outside the school's compound...This used to happen in the morning and in the evening but this changed immediately after installation," said 18-year-old Enos Omsalaba.

"I am now able to concentrate in my studies as much time is available thanks to [the] availability of water in the school's compound and availability of extra toilets which has helped ease congestion. My personal hygiene standards have improved greatly...after the hygiene and sanitation training. I am able to learn in a clean environment as every day we clean our classes with water which is available in the school's compound. I am now able to drink water that is clean having been treated by our partners."

Student Enos Omsalaba (right) with fellow student and Deputy Head Teacher Jason Asenga (left) at the rain tank

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 Essong'olo 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 Essong'olo 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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