Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 323 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/08/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Bushili Secondary School was opened by community members who donated their own land in hopes of getting their children an education. The school has grown to have a population of 300 students. There are 15 total teachers, with most of them employed by the Teachers' Service Commission (TSC). There are also eight support staff who help things run smoothly.

The people living in Bushili are hardworking people, waking up very early to make sure their students get something to eat before they head off to school. Students need to be at school by 6:30am for morning study hall. There's a break for cleaning chores before normal classes start at 8am.


Getting water is a great challenge with the school only having one plastic tank that collects rainwater. The water available in this tank is greatly controlled because so that students have drinking water whenever they need it. Such a low capacity for water has forced the school to sacrifice sanitation and hygiene standards.

As the water in the plastic tank is used up, they have to wait for more rain. In the meantime, students are sent out to the government borehole drilled at Bushili Market. These trips are frequent, for Deputy Headteacher Wanyama reports that a full 20-liter jerrycan is used immediately - there's no time to dump it in the large plastic tank. People living near the borehole report that it hasn't been treated since it was first drilled, either.

Mr. Wanyama added, "Cases of waterborne diseases here have been rampant. Not only to our students but also to our teachers. Even me personally, I was diagnosed of typhoid due to taking unsafe water. If we get a 50,000-liter tank, waterborne diseases will be something of the past."


The school has still done their best to keep the environment clean without enough water. The grounds are clear of litter, and classrooms are tidy. However, they'll greatly benefit from having more water available to rinse latrines.

But most importantly, these students need more latrines. There are only two working pit latrines shared among 153 boys! There are a few more for girls, and two set aside for teachers. Mr. Wanyama admitted that he's been summoned to the chief's office several times because the boys have been sneaking into neighboring sugarcane plantations to relieve themselves.

There are no handwashing stations for students to wash up at after using the latrines.

What we can do:


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 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: Bushili Secondary School

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

Bushili Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support: A new rainwater catchment system has been built. Handwashing stations were installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

As we began construction of the rainwater catchment tank, we spoke with the headteacher about the importance of hygiene and sanitation training.

We gave students new notebooks and pens to take notes.

We informed deputy principal Mr. Titus Wanyama through a phone call about the planned date for training in his school. He accepted the proposed date without objection. We then requested him to recruit for us participants to be trained on the material day - an even balance of male and female students.

The training was attended by a total of 22 participants, 20 students and two teachers. The day was a bit hot and windy that at times a loud bang could be heard from unlocked doors within the school.

The training was held in one of the classrooms used as a laboratory within Bushili Secondary School compound. The venue was chosen so as to avoid interrupting the normal ongoing learning on other classes. The environment for learning was conducive because of good ventilation in the room.

We covered topics including but not limited to:

  1. Primary health care
  2. Gender and governance
  3. Environmental pollution
  4. Dental hygiene
  5. Proper handwashing with soap
  6. Wash and training objectives
  7. Forming effective child-to-child (CTC) club

Demonstrations were used for handwashing, tooth-brushing, solar disinfection, and many of the other topics.

The CTC club includes both students and teachers who want to take responsibility for spreading the message of good health and hygiene among their peers. They are also responsible for managing hand-washing stations, cleaning latrines, and keeping the school environment tidy. A water user committee was also formed by parents and school administration, which is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new facilities.

The training was lively in that the attendees participated actively throughout the training session. They could ask questions and seek clarification on anything they didn't understand.

"The way we have being doing things is different to what we have learned today. Ten steps of handwashing is something new to me and how to brush teeth," Teacher Andamje Victor said.

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 due to the solid concrete flooring and built-in ventilation. 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 hand-washing after latrine use. CTC club members will teach other students how to properly wash their hands at these stations and will make sure there is always soap or ash available.

Now the school has the stations they need and the water to fill them.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

The construction process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a new 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

There were no delays during construction of the tank. Water needed for construction was a challenge but the principal made efforts of ensuring that water was available for construction at all times.

Rainwater tank construction began with clearance of 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. Then 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.

After the superstructure had been given enough time to settle, the dome construction followed. 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.

The tank was given three to four weeks to complete curing before it was cleaned and taken over by Bushili Secondary School. Students gathered around to celebrate as we handed the facilities over for them to use. Smiles were all around as we witnessed clean water coming from the tap!

"Water has been a problem to us especially when it comes to cleanliness within the school. We have been surviving on 5,000-liter plastic tank. Thank you for blessing us with a 50,000-liter tank," Miss Lugaliah Pendo, a teacher at the school, said.

They no longer have to leave school to find water.

March, 2018: Bushili Secondary School Project Underway

Bushili 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, handwashing 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: Bushili Secondary School

July, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bushili 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!

Bushili Secondary School is one of the many schools in Kakamega County, Kenya that understands what it means to struggle without access to clean, safe water or proper sanitation facilities.

According to Deputy Principal Titus Wanyama, the previously insufficient sanitation facilities in the school had posed challenges to the school administration. Once, the school staff was summoned by the Bushili Chief because school boys had been sneaking into neighbors' plantations just to relieve themselves.

But now, things have changed at Bushili, and the community is at peace. The school has plenty of water and sufficient sanitation facilities. One year later as we stepped onto the school grounds at Bushili, we were welcomed by a changed school community.

The first thing you notice is how you are welcomed with a clean environment conducive for learning as a result of the WaSH projects in the school. The availability of water within the school compound has enabled students to concentrate on their studies, instead of fetching water. They are learning in clean classrooms as cleanings are now possible on a regular basis. The sanitation facilities in the school are sufficient and clean. We also spotted students washing their hands after visiting the toilets - something which was once only practiced by teachers.

Deputy Principal Titus Wanyama said that "a lot of changes have happened since the implementation of the projects in the school."

"One [is how] the students access safe water within the school grounds. [Second], sanitation and hygiene in the school have improved greatly. Initially, the school had only two pit latrines meant for boys, which was not sufficient thus [they became] dirty easily," Mr. Wanyama said.

"[Now] students are washing their hands after toilet visits unlike before because we now have handwashing facilities and there is availability of water."

17-year-old student Julius Oyemba feels the positive impact of the WaSH projects at his school every day. Julius serves as Bushili Secondary's Sanitation Prefect, a very important position in helping to maintain the school community's active use and protection of their new rain tank and sanitation facilities.

"As the Sanitation Prefect, my duty has been [made] easier due to [the] WaSH projects in the school," Julius said.

"The sanitation facilities are now sufficient, and due to [the] availability of water, cleaning them [happens] on [a] daily basis."

Even more to the point for Julius, however, is the time that these projects have given back to him for what matters most to him at school.

"I have gotten enough time for my studies," said Julius, a welcome change from the long absences he was once accustomed to due to fetching water and getting sick from that water.

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 Bushili 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 Bushili 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 - Pineapple Fund