Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 451 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/13/2024

Project Features

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Madegwa Primary School began in 1939. It currently has a student population of 434, comprised of 214 boys and 220 girls. They are taught by 14 teachers and supported by three other staff.

Students begin arriving at 7am to sweep their classrooms and pick up litter around school grounds. Normal classes begin at 8:20 and go until lunch, when the majority of students are sent home to find food. Class eight students remain to be served lunch by the school cook. Classes begin again at 2pm and go until 3:10pm when sports and clubs start up. Whether it's football, poetry, or debate, students are asked to participate in an interest until study hall at 4pm. Students are released for the day at 5pm.


The headteacher is sure that if visited by the government health department, they will be issued a closure notice for their extreme shortage of water and sanitation facilities.

There is one plastic tank that catches rainwater, which has a small capacity of 5,000 liters. This water is strictly rationed, and its use is prioritized for drinking and cooking lunch for class eight. As rainwater is finished up, the three support staff are asked to go out into the community and bring back water.

This tank is well-cared for, and the quality of water is good. However, the students are constantly sacrificing one need or the other so that the day can continue. There is often no water to be used for mopping or cleaning latrines, nor no water to fill the hand-washing stations the school has set up.

Water scarcity affects the students and staff every single day, and adds constant worry to students and teachers who should only need to concern themselves with academics.


There are eight latrines for girls and six for boys, of which some have collapsed and others are almost full. Students form long lines during break, and many haven't made it through the line by the time class starts up again. Classes are delayed, and more latrines are the only solution to this issue.

The school knows that hygiene and sanitation is important, and has done their best with the resources they have. They've purchased disinfectants to lessen the smells in latrines, and they keep soap by the three functional hand-washing stations they have. It's unfortunate that most of the time there isn't enough water to accompany these soaps and cleaning agents.

"We appreciate your coming to this school to assess and plan to fix the situation. The school really needs sanitation facilities such as the latrines and the tank; the state is poor, I can assure you," Headteacher Jane Msachi said.

"This is a dream come true to us!"

Here's what we're going to do about it:


There will be two days for teachers, students, and parents to meet at the school to learn about hygiene and sanitation practices. They will also attend sessions on the management and maintenance of their new rainwater catchment tank, latrines, and hand-washing stations. We will use all of our training topics to empower participants to invest their time in positive behaviors that promote health, prolong life, and enable them to become more self-reliant citizens.

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

It's wonderful that the school has three functional hand-washing stations similar to the two we plan to donate; this will allow there to be one hand-washing station per 90 people. The additional two hand-washing stations are 50-liter plastic barrels on metal stands, and each has a tap to conserve water. These are often delivered by hygiene and sanitation training so they can be used for demonstrations, but always arrive by a project’s completion.

The CTC club will take over the responsibility of filling these stations with water, and will ensure that there is always a cleaning agent like soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will be set aside for each gender. 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. They will no longer suffer from extreme water scarcity.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance for these little scholars!

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 (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Madegwa Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Madegwa 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 Madegwa 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: Madegwa Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Madegwa 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!

"The 50,000-liter tank donated to us will be of much help to the school community at large," Headteacher Jane Msachi said.

"We had a hard time in getting water in school, which made some of the pupils stay home because of lack of enough water in school. This also made most of the pupils go to other schools which have water. I believe by donating this water tank to us, the school will grow in population."

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction including sand, stones, and water. Gathering enough materials was rough because of an ongoing classroom construction project. The administration and parents finally agreed to pause classroom construction and prioritize building this tank and the new latrines.

Mothers collecting water for the artisan to mix cement.

Our staff and 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 Madegwa 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.

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

It was in the evening during school vacation when we met 14 pupils and three teachers at the school. We gathered together in one of the classrooms that had enough desks and a chalkboard.

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.

We finished training right before the skies opened with heavy rain!

Students were proud to learn that if they take good care of their facilities, they will help the school for years to come.

"I appreciate the training you have taken us through. l know the pupils will tell the others of what they have been taught, and put into practice," Teacher Mercy Kemunto said.

"Also in this training, we have learned something new about healthcare in using what is available, like charcoal in brushing teeth. That is something l didn't know, and also how a tank is washed and the gutters, and the number of times it has to be cleaned."

September, 2018: Madegwa Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Madegwa 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: Madegwa Primary School

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Madegwa 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!

On a recent visit to Madegwa Primary School, our team noted that the school's sanitation level has visibly improved since before the installation of their WaSH projects a year ago. Back then, the school grounds looked dirty, pupils were untidy since most had to go fetch water from their homes, and classrooms could only be washed once a week at most.

Since their rain tank, VIP latrines, and handwashing facilities have been installed, so much has changed. Students can wash their dishes after lunch and their classrooms every day. They also use the water from the rain tank for cooking and drinking which feels safer for them as there has been reduced absenteeism from waterborne diseases. These illnesses have also reduced according to the Deputy Head Teacher, Mr. Allan Lukao, since pupils do not have to stay home or ask for permission to go for treatment.

Charity Kavita is a 15-year-old student at Madegwa Primary who reflected on the changes the WaSH projects have had on her education over the last year.

Charity Kavita in front of the rain tank

"Pupils are no longer carrying water from home to be used in school. Water is available for sanitation activities like cleaning of classrooms and pit latrines. We no longer have coughs caused by dust from the classes as we sweep, [and we don't] even waste time to go draw water from nearby homesteads. Before the implementation of this project, waterborne diseases like dysentery were rampant. This is no more."

Charity with Deputy Head Teacher Allan Lukao in front of 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 Madegwa 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 Madegwa 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 Underwriter - H2O for Life
H2O For Life
American Eagle NYC Design Office
3 individual donor(s)