Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 403 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/12/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

St. Gerald's Shanjero Secondary School is located in Kakamega County, Kenya. There are 377 students enrolled here, of which 196 are boys and 181 are girls. The school employs 17 teachers and nine support staff.

School days begin early at 6am as students start trickling through the front gate. They're expected to meet in their separate classrooms for the assignment of cleaning chores like sweeping, picking up litter, and cleaning latrines. An hour's lunch is sandwiched by morning and afternoon classes.


The school is connected to an unreliable water pipeline, for which they pay 10,000 shillings a month. As parents encounter hardships and can't pay their children's school fees, the school struggles to pay bills. Times can get so hard that the school can't pay the bill for piped water. But even when they do, it's not uncommon for the system to break down for days at a time.

When the inevitable breakdown or unpaid month occurs, students must walk four kilometers away to the nearest water source. What's worse, is this water source is totally open to contamination. After drinking water from this spring, students suffer from stomachaches, headaches, and diarrhea - often forcing them to miss school.


The school has six latrines for each gender, but they boys' latrines are almost full. These latrines, including the girls' are in a poor state. Plus, the water crisis at this school forces them to prioritize water use; drinking is always more important than cleaning, and those priorities are obvious when inspecting the sanitation conditions.

There is one hand-washing station. Principal Kizito Ingabi said, "The health situation in our school is not good, since in most cases we consume dirty and unsafe water from a running stream. The inadequate water has also lowered the standards of hygiene in our school."

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.

Hand-Washing Stations

The 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. It will be up to the school to divide these six latrine doors between the students to make both boys and girls comfortable. 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.

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: Shanjero Secondary School

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

Shanjero Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your generous donation. A new rainwater catchment system has been built, and there are now six new latrines in use. Two handwashing stations were installed, and students received training in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

We worked closely with Principal Ingabi to plan hygiene and sanitation training, asking him to select student leaders from the first three grades, a support staff representative, teachers, and a parent representative. His work outdid our expectations, and we were happy to find 26 participants waiting for us in the school library for our first session.

The students enjoyed hands-on activities the most, eagerly participating in toothbrushing and handwashing exercises. They also liked going out to see the rainwater tank and latrines since the construction was close to being done. There they learned about how to properly maintain and manage these new facilities.

We were also able to inform them of all the ways we can support them to ensure the tank provides clean water for years to come. If the tap or gutter system needs repair, our artisan will be there. The field officer will also treat the tank's water after heavy rains.

Students and staff follow along as the trainer demonstrates the 10 steps of handwashing.

Our trainers even moved beyond personal and environmental hygiene to cover other the things necessary for overall health, including nutrition, children's rights, exercise, and self-discipline. The trainers also dedicated planning sessions for the new child to child (CTC) health club that will be heavily involved in project management. They will hold activities that encourage good health and hygiene practices among their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

"People perish due to lack of knowledge. We at St. Gerald Shanjero Secondary School have for so many years lacked proper information on hygiene and sanitation. You have not only made our school an attractive center for many students, but 100% improved our health status," Teacher Rose Nabwayo told us.

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.

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.

An artisan works on the catchment area as wall construction is underway.

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.

Plastering the mesh for the dome.

Once finished, the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Shanjero Secondary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. There were smiles all around as students and staff witnessed water coming from the tap for the first time!

"Our school has recorded an increase in school enrollment in the recent years. This increase in enrollment has piled a lot of pressure on the limited infrastructure in the school. Water has for a long time been a problem in this school. We thank God because he has remembered us and he has visited us!" teacher Musebe Sylvester said.

March, 2018: Shanjero Secondary School Project Underway

Shanjero Secondary School in Kenya has begun building a new source of safe, clean water because of your generous donation. A rainwater catchment tank and new latrines are being constructed, hand-washing stations provided, and the school is being trained on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Get to know this school through stories, pictures, and maps on our project page. We look forward to reaching out with more good news soon!

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: Shanjero Secondary School

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a rainwater tank at Shanjero Secondary School in Kenya – creating a life-changing moment for Chelsea Ayesa. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shanjero 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!

We as Kenyans are blessed, especially in the western part of the country where we receive a lot of rain each year. But, even still, the majority of our schools suffer due to the lack of clean, safe water and proper water storage.

The WaSH projects at Shanjero Secondary School are an answer to so many problems the school was going through. The water and sanitation projects have led to improved health among the entire school population, and better time management without having to go so far to get water and thus proper coverage of the school syllabus. Students and staff here have also experienced improved hygiene and sanitation, better education performance, and above all reduction in the number of absenteeism among pupils.

Shanjero Secondary is clearly a committed school focused on excellence. Both students and staff are putting in their best efforts to maintain and safeguard their WaSH facilities well. The aesthetics of the projects have also been upheld, a sign of their pride and gratefulness for these projects.

Sanitation Teacher Cyrus Musoka said that "implementation of the WaSH project[s] came at the right time and place. [These projects have] been able to solve [the] majority of issues that were really disturbing and saddening" at Shanjero Secondary.

"The most important thing is the ability of [our] students to settle down in their classes and have enough time to study and to perform better. As a school, our mean grade [has] improved and we are so excited," shared Mr. Musoka.

Jacklyne and Chelsea

For 18-year-old student Chelsea Ayesa, the rain tank and sanitation projects installed at her school have meant all the difference in her ability and confidence to attend school.

"Initially, [the] majority of students were absent due to the fear of being sent to the stream or staying in a school without water and proper sanitation," Chelsea explained.

"[The] project solved a lot [of problems here] and as we speak, my class attendance is 100% most of the time. Due to the ability to access clean and safe water, water [and] sanitation-related disease outbreak is now [in] the past," said Chelsea.

She then added a personal note to all of you who made these projects possible: "You are a godsend and we at [Shanjero] say thank you!"

Cyrus, Chelsea, and Jacklyne

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 Shanjero 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 Shanjero 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 Sponsor - Estate of Dianne Cunningham