Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 234 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/28/2024

Project Features

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Land ownership has been an issue for decades in many African countries, Kenya included. Most ethnic and tribal clashes are attributed to disputes over land ownership. The second Kenyan president decided to move squatters to certain parts of the country.

Lugari Settlement is one of the major areas where squatters from different parts of the country were settled. The population kept on increasing as time went by, and there came the need to establish social amenities to cater for the fast-growing population. This led to the establishment of AIC Sipande Secondary School.

Students attending this school come from very humble families. Admission records show that up to 45% of the students are under the custody of their grandparents after losing their own parents to HIV/AIDS. The remaining students come from very poor families that cannot afford school fees for their children. This has led to a lot of difficulty managing the school due to hefty arrears on fees.


There used to be a small plastic tank that collected rainwater, but the school no longer has a water source. That tank leaks and can't even function as storage. Thus, students are sent out into the community to find the water they need throughout the school day.

Students go out as a group with 20-liter jerrycans in hand. They most often end up at a spring, where they line up one after the other to wait their turn at the water discharge pipe. After getting this water back to the school and drinking it, students are suffering from waterborne illnesses like typhoid. Even if a student beats the odds and gets through an academic year without fighting a waterborne illness, so much time is still wasted going to and from the spring.

"Water has been a huge problem in our school and to some extent, we lost faith that one day we will have sufficient clean and safe water,"Principal Janet Kana told us.

"My students have greatly suffered by not only being infected by water-related diseases but also wasting a lot of time going to the spring to fetch water."


There are only four pit latrines, all of which are in poor condition. The others either have crumbling walls or broken doors. These are sorely overused, and the poor students have to wait several minutes for their turn. There's just one spot to wash hands, so hand-washing is only accessible to the few who get there first.

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.

Handwashing Stations

This 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. 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!

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Sipande Secondary School

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

December, 2018: Sipande Secondary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Sipande 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

The school administration helped us plan our hygiene and sanitation training. The principal decided to recruit students from the youngest two classes so that they have the longest amount of time to share what they learned. We met in a classroom with 15 students, two parent representatives, and three teachers. These participants are known for their leadership qualities and have kickstarted a student health club to promote good health at school.

The only challenge we encountered was actually on the way to the school. The roads are very poor and it had just rained the night before. Our vehicle got stuck in the mud and we spent a lot of time trying to push it through. When we got to the school we had to clean up a bit before starting the first session.

Participants received new pens and notebooks to record what they learned.

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.

Students were most eager to learn how to take care of their new rainwater tank and latrines. They had participated so much throughout the construction process by carrying bricks from the delivery site to the workers, as well as finding water to mix cement. Their hard work to see the successful completion of these facilities has given them a strong sense of ownership.

Students always enjoy the demonstrations, too. The trainers took everyone outside to try the new handwashing stations. They demonstrated how to thoroughly wash hands and when to do so. There are ten steps to handwashing, and the students like to get in front of the group to prove that they remembered each step!

"Knowledge is power. We are very grateful for the information shared in the training and I totally believe our lives will never ever remain the same," said Teacher Kelvin Namasake.

"The information will improve our sanitation and hygiene standards, translating to good health status among all of us. Indeed God will never forget his people. Thank you for helping an African child realize his dreams are valid through accessing clean and safe water along with better sanitation and hygiene."

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.

A handwashing station placed nearby the new latrines so that girls will wash their hands.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit latrines. These were all given to the female students since they had the greatest need. 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!

Lack of sufficient clean water and proper sanitation had been a problem since the school opened. Enrollment had always been decreasing as parents opted to take their children to other schools, even if they were farther away. That will no longer be the case!

"It is with much joy, happiness, and tears to testify the goodness of the Lord in my life and my career. This project is a God-answered prayer. It touches my heart to know that there are good people who spend their money and time to save an African child from perishing," said Teacher Janet Kana.

"The new project is the greatest achievement in our school and it is going to have the greatest positive changes, which will make our school shine and be an attraction for many."

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

November, 2018: Sipande Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Sipande Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point so they will no longer have to leave class in search of water.

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 Videos

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: Sipande Secondary School

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sipande 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!

A year after their water projects were installed, Sipande Secondary School is now able to harvest enough rainwater to meet their daily needs. The many hours that the students once wasted looking for water are now being used in class to improve the academic standards and performance of the school. Students can now settle down in class and focus on academics without the worry of inadequate water.

The new VIP latrines have also eased the congestion in line for the bathroom that was being experienced before the implementation of the project. The school community is also able to access handwashing facilities in the school and they are therefore improving their hygiene standards. Students now clean their hands as frequently as possible. A year later, all of these facilities are viable and important to the students and staff at Sipande Secondary School.

"As a school, we are now able to access water from within our school compound without having to walk for a long distance in search of water," said Sanitation Teacher Mr. Kelvin Namasaka.

Mr. Namasaka at the rain tank's tap

"The time we were using in search of water has now been converted to academic use. This could be the reason why our school recorded an improvement in our national exams late last year."

Field Officer Jacklyne Chelagat with student Isaack at the rain tank

One of those students, 17-year-old Isaack Musalia, explained the impact he has felt from the water projects.

"Cases of absenteeism due to waterborne diseases have greatly reduced. The time we used to waste while searching for water is now being spent on classwork, thus [leading to] better academic performance."

Jacklyne, Isaack, and Kelvin 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 Sipande 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 Sipande 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 - Gateway Academy
Cheney Middle School