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: 07/09/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

St. Gerald Shitaho Primary School is located in Kakamega County, Kenya. There are 711 students enrolled here, who are taught by 18 teachers. The school also employs three support staff.

There's activity at Shitaho Primary School as early as 6:30am when pupils start arriving, most with small plastic containers in hand. Once that container of water is dropped off at the kitchen, students start picking up litter around the compound while others clean the latrines. They all settle in for 8am lessons.

Most of the students' parents tend their farms and take casual labor jobs to feed their families.


This school does not have a water source, and that's why students are required to come to school with water every morning. Students often fill their containers on the way to school. While parents and teachers would prefer them to get clean water from Mwikholo Spring, there are many dirty water sources along the way that they use. In fact, one of the closest water sources to Shitaho Primary School is an unprotected spring.

School administration is afraid that even when students get clean water from Mwikholo Spring, it gets contaminated by the time they finish the long dusty trek to school. Containers are dirty and uncovered, and students need to learn how to safely handle their drinking water.

The water brought to school is used for drinking, cooking lunch, and cleaning. When there isn't enough water to get through the day, older students are sent back out in search of water.

Students are absent from class a lot, and they say this is most often because of stomachaches and diarrhea - symptoms related to drinking unsafe water. There are also regular reports of waterborne illnesses like typhoid and cholera.


Students are currently sharing their latrines with the polytechnic school that just opened. There are too few latrines for the users. They are in poor condition, with large holes in the doors that don't allow the students any privacy.

There are no handwashing stations, and both students and staff are ashamed of the facilities they endure.

"My school is one of the schools bordering the big town, but it still has poor sanitation facilities, especially the toilets. I feel so ashamed, especially when I am given an opportunity to hold an event in the school but the toilets are not enough for visitors," headteacher Maurice Ingonga said.

What we can do:


There will be two days for teachers, students, and parents 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 handwashing 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.

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing 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. Students will no longer waste valuable energy and time finding water on the way to school and throughout the day.

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

September, 2019: Giving Update: Shitaho Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Shitaho Primary School in Kenya access clean water.

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

August, 2018: Shitaho Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Shitaho Primary 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

Planning for hygiene and sanitation training started right after our first visit to the school. The field officer made it clear to the school administration that a training was needed, and that we would be using that platform to establish a new student health club using the CTC (child to child) method. The headteacher was excited to cooperate and work with us, and a day was quickly scheduled.

Participants were chosen from grades four, five, and six. There were also a few teachers who both supported our trainers and learned new things for themselves. The day started sunny in the morning hours, so the classroom was warm and comfortable for all of us.

The only challenge our trainers faced was a distractingly loud group of bullfighting fans moving along the road adjacent to our classroom. The students ran out to the fence to watch them pass. Once the bull and fans were far enough away, the students all returned so we could resume.

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. Students liked how we used lots of pictures and demonstrations to teach these things and even more. They plan to take what they learned and share it via a newly established student health club. The group even held elections for club leadership.

The student health club will plan activities that promote good hygiene at their school.

Students were particularly interested to learn about food poisoning. Whenever they'd use the term, they had thought that food poisoning was someone literally putting a chemical poison in their food. We clarified that food can get contaminated anywhere from the growing process to storing leftovers. They learned that even their own unwashed hands can make food dangerous for consumption! We taught them how to keep food safe and about the seriousness of untreated food poisoning symptoms like diarrhea.

"This has been the best training I've ever had since I started school here," said 13-year-old Melvin Khasoha.

"I have been enlightened as to why I need water in my life because it fuels all of our body's functions. I will not forget handwashing techniques and the procedure for brushing my teeth. These are daily activities which affect me personally. My life will not remain the same!"

Handwashing Stations

Pupils can now enjoy washing their hands with soap thanks to the two handwashing stations that were delivered to their school.  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 with their peers at school and families at home.

VIP Latrines

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.

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 including sand, stones, and water. Water was the toughest material to get, with students having to walk to the spring for artisans to have enough for mixing cement. These students worked hard, and our artisans said they were the most reliable helpers throughout the entire project process.

Students were willing to fetch the water needed for cement because they knew it would be one of their last trips to the spring.

Our staff and school administration started by looking around the school to determine the best location for their 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.

The artisan and field officer work together to measure the tank foundation as they're watched by early childhood education students.

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.

The catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed so students can easily get water from the tap.

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.

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

The pupils will use the time they previously spent fetching water to study. The support the pupils gave us by fetching water from the spring to help in construction was the best part of this project. These same students now feel a strong sense of ownership of their new facilities.

The school management and students met us at the tank to celebrate clean water. The headteacher sincerely thanked every individual who contributed to make the project a success. Our field officer also had a chance to thank everyone for their cooperation as well as remind them of some of the most important things they learned.

The school board proudly standing in front of the new rainwater catchment tank.

"As the chairperson of this school, I can say that our students suffered for a long time fetching water from the river instead of studying," declared Mr. Gerald Shiabaya.

"I am happy for our pupils. They will now have enough water in school so that they get more time to study."

August, 2018: Lots Happening at Shitaho Primary School

We are excited to share that our artisans have arrived and begun actual construction on the rainwater catchment tank and latrines at Shitaho Primary School. Our trainers also report that hygiene and sanitation training went really well, minus a small interruption caused by a group of rowdy fans on their way to a bullfighting event. Thankfully, the crowds passed by quickly and students could get back in their seats to learn about important health topics like handwashing. We look forward to reaching out with the final details and pictures soon!

June, 2018: Shitaho Primary School Update

It won't be long now before rainwater catchment tank and latrine construction begins. As you can imagine, coordinating all of the people involved is key to a great project. The field officers meet frequently with the school to verify that all the materials and volunteers are ready. They need to prepare accommodations for our artisans, too. Based on the last review, the school needs a few more weeks to prepare. We've adjusted the expected completion date for this project, and we look forward to keeping you updated as the artisans and trainers get to work in the coming months!

May, 2018: Shitaho Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Shitaho Primary 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: Shitaho Primary School

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Shitaho Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Prudence Andayi. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shitaho 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!

Since the construction of their rain tank last year, the time and energy previously spent on fetching water from the river 500 meters away are now being invested in learning at Shitaho Primary School.

This has attributed to improved academic performance due to pupils' increased attentiveness in class. The students can study in a clean and healthy environment because the hygiene education that was conducted in the school has reduced the spread of germs. The pupils now wash their hands at all critical times and body odor is an issue of the past because the pupils brush their teeth and bathe at least once a day. The school has friendly staff and the students interact freely with the teachers. This is notable because it is a rare environment to find in most public schools in the area.

Teacher Mr. David Mang'weli shared his perspective on how these WaSH projects have impacted his school over the last year.

"Since the project was implemented in the school, the learners are now enjoying their time in school. Their classrooms and toilets are cleaner due to [the] availability of water for cleaning. We have noticed an improvement in their hygiene because of the handwashing containers that were supplied in the school. The latrines have reduced time wastage and congestion during break time."

Mr. David Mang'weli at the rain tank

One of those students is 12-year-old Prudence Andayi, who was happy to chat with us and echoed her teacher's thoughts on the project.

"Since the tank was constructed, we have water to fill up our LifeStraw containers for drinking," Prudence said.

"The water also helps us to clean the classrooms and toilets on a daily basis."

Students and Mr. Mang'weli 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 Shitaho 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 Shitaho 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 - GiveTrack Contributors
17 individual donor(s)