Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

It's 6am in the morning as Jane gets up to prepare for the school day. The first thing that crosses her mind is how she'll have to carry a heavy container of water to school with her, and how tiring that is. She washes her face, takes breakfast and balances her backpack in one hand and a water container in the other as she dashes out 30 minutes later.

Jane stops at Tindi Water Spring to fetch water. There, she washes her container, fills it with water, and dashes the rest of the way to school. As she approaches the gate the teacher on duty checks if each student has water. Those who have water take it to the kitchen and pour it in a 200-liter container. Those who have no water are given water containers to go back out and fill them.

At break time between classes, another group of students is sent to get more water for cooking, since the school has a feeding program for classes seven and eight, the preschool, and teachers.

Makuchi Primary currently has a student enrollment of 545 and employs 14 teachers and two support staff. (Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. To learn more about how we determine the number of people served, click here.)


"The greatest challenge has been access to safe and clean drinking water. The parents bought us a 5,000-liter plastic water tank but due to the demand, it's not sufficient to serve the whole school effectively without recharging," Joseph Mwenesi, the deputy headteacher in this school, said.

"As a result, we have to ask pupils to carry water form home as they come, and in between the lessons we are also forced to send them to Tindi Water Spring for more water," he continued.

"We fear sending them, and at times they have to be escorted by a teacher for fear of being knocked down as they cross the busy road. Cases of absenteeism are very high and we think it's because of lack of safe water."

Tindi Spring is 1.5 kilometers away from the school. At the time of our first visit, Tindi Spring was open to pollution and entirely unsafe for drinking. Students were dipping their containers directly into the water, and would pause to rinse their hands and faces. Thankfully, this spring has been proposed for protection this year as well.

Students are constantly battling waterborne diseases because of the dirty water they find. School administration reports that there are five to seven absences per week. Beyond that, all students are wasting valuable study time as they're out in the community searching for the water they need.


"In this school, we have no plan for cleaning our classrooms and toilets due to lack of sufficient water. Our toilets are in a very bad state and they smell," Jane, a student at the school, said.

"Most pupils opt to use behind the classrooms and toilets, thus making our compound dirty and quite unhygienic. Our toilet doors don't close, so even strangers use them. We have no hand-washing stations and even if we had, there is no water for washing hands. With this project coming to this school, we shall surely have a clean and safe environment for studying."

The boys' latrines are made of timber walls and floors. The floors look soggy with urine all over. While the girls' latrines are made of concrete, they are still falling apart and the pits are almost full. All of these latrines are filthy. Traces of open defecation were found behind classrooms and latrines due to overuse of the current facilities. There's nowhere to wash hands before going back to class either.

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

This 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. 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

October, 2019: Giving Update: Makuchi Primary School

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

October, 2018: Makuchi Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Makuchi 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.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was successful!

"...our children will no longer waste time to go and fetch water from the spring. They will have enough time to learn, and I am sure that the academic performance will improve as of today," Teacher Joseph Mwatiha said.

Students and staff were a huge help in finding the stones, sand, water, and some bricks to supplement the materials our artisan brought. They were wonderful to work with and a huge part in bringing a water source to their school!

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

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.

Rebeca Kulecho, a pupil at Makuchi Primary said that before construction started, the school really faced challenges when the girls' latrines collapsed. The girls had nowhere to ease themselves, which made them fear attending school altogether.

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.

New Knowledge

We worked closely with the school headteacher, who was very happy about the project and promised to lend his support as much as possible. We told him about the importance of hygiene and sanitation training, and he worked with teachers to select student leaders to attend. These students will form a CTC (child to child) health club that focuses on promoting and teaching good hygiene and sanitation practices at school and at home.

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 new health club to promote hygiene and sanitation awareness at their school.

Training about how the tank is built, how it works, and how to take good care of it

Students were impressed with the session on handwashing. They didn't realize that to wash hands thoroughly, you need to follow a process. They had a chance to practice the 10 steps of handwashing as the trainer listed the important times to wash hands.

"I promise that we will take good care of the facilities and we will ensure that what we have been taught will be put into practice," said Rabecca Kulecho.

September, 2018: Makuchi Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Makuchi 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: Makuchi Primary School

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. James Makuchi 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!

One year down the line since the installation of the rain tank and other hygiene projects at Makuchi Primary School and the lives of staff and students have improved tremendously.

In the past, as you entered the school compound, you would be greeted with children carrying small jerricans of water on one shoulder and a school bag on the other, with other small jerricans littered all over near the kitchen.

Today, that story has changed as there were no jerricans littered anywhere within the school compound. The school compound, classes, and latrines look neater and generally the level of hygiene is good. The population has also increased from 560 to 650 pupils. This development was only achieved through the provision of the water facilities coupled with the student health club that has been key in stimulating good hygiene behavior.

Lydia Mukwana Misiko is a teacher at Makuchi Primary School in charge of sanitation and hygiene at the school. She shared her perspective on the impact these developments have had on her school in the last year.

Madam Misiko with students Linda Mulati and Moses Murunga at the rain tank

"The WaSH project has really assisted us in that the pupils no longer go to fetch water at the spring as they now have water within the school compound. This saved time and energy will be used to study and [we] hope that translates to better performance. Cleaning has also become easier and we are really grateful for the support," finished Lydia with a smile.

"Before this project came to our school, the pupils didn't have a proper plan of cleaning up the classrooms and latrines," reflected 13-year-old student Linda Mulati.

"We did it but it wasn't organized and thorough due to lack of water. The latrines were badly looking and very dirty. The doors didn't close, nobody wanted to use the latrines any more so the children defecated around them and behind classrooms. There were no handwashing stations."

"But, since the WaSH project entered the school last year, there have been many changes. With the health clubs we have learned how to clean, how to use the latrines properly, we have safe and clean drinking water in the school compound and our environment and health overall have improved."

Madam Misiko, Linda, Moses, Field Officer Karen, and Head Teacher Mr. Indeche 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 St. James Makuchi 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 St. James Makuchi 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 - American International School-Riyadh