Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 310 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 08/04/2023

Project Features

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The teacher on duty arrives at school by 6am. They organize the pupils for chores and fetching water. The boys go to fetch water while girls stay and start cleaning.

Pupils begin classes at 7:30am. If the water fetched in the morning is not enough, the students are forced to go back for more water during their break time.

Since there isn't a lunch program for pupils at the school, the pupils break to return to their respective homes while teachers take their meals at school. The pupils resume their afternoon classes at 2pm.

Remedial classes are held from 4pm to 5pm for those with special cases related to visual and hearing. The other pupils remain for other activities. Pupils leave for their respective homes at 5pm.


There is a well within the school compound which is dry and not serving the school.

The well does not belong to the school, despite being within the school compound. There is a church called Shihimba Friends Church within the school compound, and it was constructed by the church members with the intention of getting safe water.

It is unfortunate that the church was not able to get water. The well was done manually and the water table was not reached. At the moment, the well is dry and requires deepening that the members aren't able to do themselves.

Pupils travel to a nearby spring. They use their 10-liter containers to draw water. Since there is a dispenser at the spring, they add a drop of chlorine to ensure the water is safe for drinking.

Pupils waste their time academically and this has contributed to poor performance. After going for water, the pupils come back tired and cannot concentrate in class.

Despite the fact that the spring is sealed, the water is contaminated because there is no good maintenance of critical areas that require a high level of maintenance in order to reduce water pollution, spring blockage, seepage or loss of water completely. To add to that, there is no proper drainage system to control soil erosion.


Some of the latrines are made of just banana leaves.

The other latrines at the school are made of timber and covered with iron sheets as roofs. The doors are made of torn black plastic and sacks. The floors are in pathetic conditions. Teachers for the younger pupils are forced to escort the children to the toilet because they fear that something could happen to them.

The school has one compost pit but it is not in good shape. Litter is seen all over the compound.

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. 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 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

October, 2019: Giving Update: Shihimba Primary School

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

February, 2019: Shihimba Primary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Shihimba Primary School! Students have a 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!

Shihimba Primary School was among the poorest of schools when it came to matters of sanitation and water. This drove the whole school community - including the pupils, teachers, and parents to join hands and ensure that the project was successfully implemented. Parents especially have been of great support to the project. They were at the school nonstop once construction started. We were so touched when even the mothers volunteered to help our artisans get the job done.

Students even volunteered to help and learn alongside the artisans whenever they weren't in class.

"Our pupils have been wasting their precious time go the spring to fetch water, but [now] there will be no more time-wasting and we believe this will have a positive impact on our academics results," said board member Zipporah.

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 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 Shihimba 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

We worked with the headteacher to recruit student representatives from each grade. These students will form a child to child (CTC) student health club that will hold activities and meetings to teach their peers about what they learned. Participants also included members of the school board, parent representatives, and teachers.

We had requested the headteacher to send us 20 pupils, but that was not reality. All school pupils wanted to be trained! We officially brought notebooks and pens for 29 students, but even more students gathered around since we were meeting outside.

We covered topics including:

– primary healthcare
– taking care of the new facilities
– common illnesses and their prevention
– waterborne illnesses
– CTC club activities
– handwashing

"The issue of handwashing has really touched me," said Teacher Lipanga.

Students filling their new handwashing stations with water

"I have not been very keen when it comes to washing hands, not even when I want to eat. I have realized that I have been doing it the wrong way - hence from today I will train my family members on how to wash their hands. I also urge those of you who have been trained to carry the same gospel to your family members."

– dental hygiene

A little girl with her new toothbrush and toothpaste tube

Leadership and governance were also taught to equip the CTC student health club with good leadership skills as they teach the rest of the student body what they learned. The training ended with the students electing their peers to the club cabinet leadership. The participants chose a student from class four, Magdalene, who ended up refusing the position because she said she was too young to lead the bigger pupils. After further discussions on the characteristics of a good leader and leadership styles, she gained confidence and agreed to be one of the officials.

Thank You for making all of this possible.

January, 2019: Shihimba Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Shihimba Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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: Shihimba Primary School

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shihimba 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!

"Wow! This is the best primary school that I have ever visited," said Field Officer Jemmimah Khasoha after her recent visit to Shihimba Primary School.

Jemmimah went to catch up with students and staff to hear how their WaSH projects, installed last year, have impacted their lives and education. Her account was heartening. She shared:

"The school is well organized and takes the greatest care the tank requires. [The tank] never go dry because they do not want the tank to have seepage when left dry. They have one of the expensive lockable taps which helps in rationing [water]. The pupils are very disciplined and once they were told 'If you have to use it, then leave it clean,' it has been their motto and they act on that. The soak pit is very clean with not any form of a single [bit of] dirt."

"The life for the students and staff at Shihimba Primary School have improved in various ways since last year. Initially, they used to get water from the spring and some students would also come with water from home but these practices are now in the past tense."

"The school looks tidy and very smart with the classrooms having no dust nor mud. This means that they do clean and they are using the water from the tank and this makes it easy to clean the classrooms more often. Within the compound, you get to see handwashing containers stationed strategically so as to help the pupils to wash their hands well [and] easily. The strategic points also make the pupils remember that they need to wash their hands."

"The toilets are clean and no bad smell is heard of. The kitchen which is also in the school compound is clean and the dishrack in front of it tells it all - that they maintain cleanliness and the hygiene is on point."

"All these changes have been brought by the installation of the water tank that is situated in the school by The Water Project. With water, everything is possible to do and it is easy to maintain cleanliness and this is why the school looks neat."

Left to right: Teacher Mrs. Esther Ihaji, student Purity Buyanzi, and Field Officer Jemmimah Khasoha in front of the rain tank

Teacher Mrs. Esther Ihaji reflected with Jemmimah on how their school has changed for the better over the last 12 months.

"The biggest changes are ranging from one to another. First, we used to fetch water from the river and also pupils came with some from home. This was hectic for many of the pupils [who would] come to school in the morning with their school uniforms and even books wet with water. Others could bring dirty water which affected almost everyone."

"But, we can smile again, [for] we said bye to sorrow and trouble of not having clean, safe and sufficient water. This is because we got kindhearted people who brought us life. The rainwater harvesting tank serves us well and we are very appreciative."

"Another change that has occurred is the good health, sanitation, and hygiene resulting from [the] VIP latrines constructed. The pupils now have a place to go to relieve themselves. It was pathetic, disgusting and the school had been given a closure notice by the public health people. Indeed we are grateful [to you] for coming to our rescue."

Purity and Jemmimah high-five in front of the rain tank

Purity Buyanzi is a 12-year-old student at Shihimba Primary School who was full of smiles and joy when we met to talk with her in front of her school's rain tank. Purity echoed her teacher's

"Life for many if not all of us here in this school has really changed. We used to get dirty from the dust and untidy classrooms because we did not have enough water to sustain us. Again, we did not have toilets but right now we are having [them]."

"Since last year I improved my marks from 250 and right now I am [at] 300, almost getting to 350. This is just because I used to waste a lot of time looking for water during the morning, when I came from home, break times, and lunch. Now that we have clean, safe, and sufficient water I am proud that I use the time I used to go fetch water to study and this has resulted [in] my best performance. I was awarded the best performing and most improved pupil [award]. I thank God for the donor and I pray that you will continue to help other schools so that you can touch the lives of many, just the way you did to us."

Purity with water from 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 Shihimba 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 Shihimba 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.


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