Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 460 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/08/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

"Lack of enough clean and safe water has been a thorn in the flesh. It has resulted in many problems that I am helpless about, and there's been nobody to salvage the situation. To some extent, I have felt lost and directionless as the school headteacher," said Headteacher John Amalemba on the water scarcity issue at Kwirenyi Secondary School.

The parents banded together to address water scarcity at Kwirenyi Secondary School, using their money to buy a plastic tank that collects rainwater. According to the parents, the school is still in dire need clean and safe water. This plastic tank is far too small to meet the needs of their boarding students, so students have to leave school to find water.

There is a large river that students most often walk to get their water. There is another small stream, but both of these sources are at least a kilometer away. The stream goes dry at certain times too, so the river is the only reliable water source.

This river has a lot of pollution coming from upstream. The current is also strong and poses a huge risk to students who cannot swim. These sources are so far away that the school has purchased donkeys to help ferry the large containers of water filled by the students.

Many students have reported waterborne diseases like typhoid. These students miss class and must return home to seek treatment. Because of several missed classes, overall academic performance at the school is very poor. The final consequence is parents pulling their children from Kwirenyi Secondary School.

Kwirenyi Secondary School was established in the year 2009 to ensure that children get access to education, have a bright future, and invest in developing Kwirenyi Community. The school has grown from only a handful of students to 437. All the while, Kwirenyi has done what it can to get by with too little water and too few facilities.

The school has both day students and students who live in the dormitories on school grounds.

The school grounds are quite unique since the area is full of rocks. These rocks are used for construction causing the foundation laid strong. There is a playing field for the kids, but that's full of rocks too.

What we can do:


"People perish due to lack of information. I want to categorically say that hygiene and sanitation standards in my school are wanting. Lack of enough water and information scarcity has attributed to poor hygiene and sanitation in my school," said Teacher Duncan Lisamula.

We will hold training for two days. Our 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

There are only four latrine doors for each gender. That means there are over 50 students per latrine door. The lines during class breaks are massive, and many of these students have to not only wait uncomfortably but arrive late to their next class.

We will construct two triple-door latrines. 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 our 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.

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Kwirenyi Secondary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kwirenyi 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 Kwirenyi Secondary School. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this school maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

November, 2018: Kwirenyi Secondary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Kwirenyi 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

We worked with the school administration to recruit students from forms one and two. Being the newer students at the school, they will have the most time to share what they learned with their peers. We had asked for at least 20 student leaders who would form a new student health club, but we actually got 35!

The school needed to be equipped with knowledge on how to improve standards of hygiene and to also ensure that the sanitation facilities given to them are maintained to serve the school for years to come. Some of the topics covered include water pollution, personal and environmental hygiene, operations and maintenance of the facilities, group dynamics, and leadership and governance. The group activities equipped the student health club to promote hygiene and sanitation awareness at their school.

The students’ favorite sessions were on handwashing and dental hygiene, when they could volunteer to demonstrate and practice these things in the front of the classroom. The majority of them admitted they hadn’t been practicing dental hygiene regularly.

"Information is power and for this reason, we are going to bring massive changes to this school. The acquired information will be implemented to the letter," said Teacher Mucheshia.

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 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

After reviewing the student population and the school’s potential to grow, we spoke with the school administration about constructing a 75,000-liter tank. They were positive that they would be able to find the sand and stones necessary to compliment our iron and cement. The school was a wonderful partner in this work. They came through with food and lodging for our artisans as well as the local materials. They even hired parents to fetch enough water for us to mix our cement.

The only delay was the weather. With heavy rainfall each afternoon, our artisans had to get an early start to be productive.

"The idea of sending donkeys to fetch water in the stream was quite saddening. Many are the times when even the fetched water was not enough, and also harmful to us," said Teacher James Amalemba.

"God is good and he comes when you are almost about to give up."

The Process:

Our staff and the 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.

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

October, 2018: Leadership Changes at Shihumbu Girls' Secondary School

There have been a lot of unforeseen changes at Shihumbu Girls' Secondary School over the past year, including administrative turnover. The new school principal has asked us to take Shihumbu off the schedule for this year so that they can focus on other things. They are planning to submit a new project application in the future.

We visited Kwirenyi Secondary School and found them ready to devote time and energy to seeing a rainwater catchment tank constructed and training carried out for their students. Work at Kwirenyi is already underway, so please take a moment to enjoy the new pictures and report posted on your project page!

June, 2018: News from Shihumbu Girls Secondary School

Everyone at Shihumbu Girls Secondary School is excited about their new rainwater catchment tank. Timing is very important as we ensure that everyone is ready for these big changes at their school. The field officers and school administration have agreed that the right time for construction and training will be over the next few months. We had previously scheduled this project for September, but have modified that date to reflect the planning change made by the team. Thank you for standing with us as we continue work in Shihumbu.

We're always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer your questions. And, if you get a notice like this – it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.

May, 2018: Shihumbu Girls Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Shihumbu Girls 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: Kwirenyi Secondary School

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kwirenyi Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Nicorine Shitamu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kwirenyi 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!

Since the construction of the rain tank at Kwirenyi Secondary School last year, students and staff can now have access to safe and clean water right in their school compound. They no longer suffer from water- and hygiene-related diseases and they now spend more time in class which has led to improved performance in their studies.

The VIP latrines that were implemented here have also helped to relieve some of the congestion in line for the few latrines that were already constructed. Students are also able to wash their hands at the handwashing stations after using the latrines.

Each student and staff member we spoke with on our most recent visit was grateful for the water project. The facilities are well-maintained and they have even installed a lockable tap at the tank's drawing point to ration water use. The school compound is generally clean, which is an implication that they have put into practice what they were taught during the health club training.

Mr. Daniel Muchesia with Field Officer Christine Masinde at the rain tank; student Nicorine Shitamu looks on

"Before the implementation of the project in our school, some parents made it clear to us that they could not admit their children in our school because it lacked safe water and proper sanitation facilities," said Deputy Principal Mr. Daniel Muchesia.

"But, since that problem was solved by [your team], the number of students has grown from 437 to more than 500 students. The performance of the students has also improved because they spend more time in class and indiscipline cases have decreased since students [can no longer goof off while going] to the river to fetch water."

Nicorine Shitamu

One such student at Kwirenyi Secondary School is 16-year-old Nicorine Shitamu, who shared how these water projects have impacted her experience at school.

Field Officer Christine with Nicorine

"Availability of safe and clean water, VIP latrines, and handwashing stations have improved our hygiene standards in the school which has reflected positively in our performance since we hardly get sick and we also spend enough time in class."

Mr. Muchesia with students 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 Kwirenyi 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 Kwirenyi 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.


Project Underwriter - Todd And Vicki Kacalek
Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School District
First Presbyterian Church
Tim Cole - Sutter Middle School - Mrs. Zarate
Monroe Township's Talented and Gifted Students' Campaign for Water
Taylor and Morgan's Project
Sophie's Campaign for Clean Water in Africa
Minhoshineeina's Campaign for Water
10 individual donor(s)