Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 09/06/2023

Project Features

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Eshilibo Primary School started in 2011. It currently has a student enrollment of 271 and employs seven teachers and two support staff.

A normal day at Eshilibo Primary School begins at 6am, when pupils start arriving with backpack and jerrycan in hand. Students start with cleaning chores in preparation of morning assembly when announcements are made and the Kenyan flag is raised. Normal classes go from 8am to 4:30pm.

Most of the families living around the area are  farmers who grow sugarcane to sell to the nearby sugar factories. After they have seen their children off to school, women continue with their domestic chores while men head straight to their farms.


The school doesn't have a water source, and must ask that students bring their own water with them every morning. Since students are coming from different villages, there's no way to ascertain whether the water they find is from a clean or dirty water source. There's a mix of different springs and open water sources that students can choose from, and they often stop by the most convenient spring on the way to school.

There aren't many options for storage, so water's often left in the same small containers that the students carried. The school kitchen uses some of the water to cook lunch, a little is used for cleaning, and the rest is saved for drinking. Waterborne diseases and resulting absences are a constant reality. Headteacher Irene Mwani said, "These water-related diseases have resulted in a high rate of absenteeism, which has affected the pupils' performance."


There are a total of five pit latrines, all of which are filthy, smelly, and lack privacy. Two are for the boys and three are for the girls. There are no hand-washing stations for students to use. Girls often bring their own water containers to the latrines to rinse their hands after. While it's good to see they're motivated to keep clean, it's dangerous that they're using the same container for both drinking and cleaning.

Headteacher Mwani said, "The students line up during break. Others can't wait and even use the area behind the latrines, thus affecting our environmental hygiene."

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

The 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. 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. Students will no longer be responsible to find enough water to carry to school every day, nor leave class again to find more.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. With clean water and high standards of cleanliness, students’ good health will give them the chance to earn better grades and live a better life.

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

September, 2019: Giving Update: Eshilibo Primary School

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

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Eshilibo 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!

There were no construction delays, though rain would often fall during the afternoons. The artisans resolved to start work very early each day so as to maximize their time.

"We had been bringing water from home and the water had been from different unknown sources and a lot of time had been wasted, too," Getray Ondeche, a student at Eshilibo, remembered.

"We thank God. Our school will not be the same again. Pupils have been transferred [out] from our school because of the lack of water and sanitation facilities, but I am optimistic that the population of this school will increase and the performance will also improve as well."

The headteacher is extremely grateful that thanks to these facilities. The school is now no longer at risk of being shut down by the local health department.

Staff and student leadership proudly stand in front of their finished rainwater catchment tank.

The Process:

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction including sand, stones, and water. They worked together to provide meals for our artisans, as well as a place to stay during the duration of construction.

Students delivering water so that the artisans can mix cement.

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.

The catchment area

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 Eshilibo 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, parent, and staff participants for hygiene and sanitation training. There was a total of 28 participants, which was far above the requirement. Everyone was so excited to have an opportunity to learn! These 28 participants are expected to be ambassadors of health and hygiene both at school and at home in their communities.

Training participants gathered for a group picture after the last session.

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.

Students especially enjoyed the handwashing demonstrations. They were grateful to learn about how handwashing is the most efficient and effective way to prevent the spread of germs; that a lack of handwashing was putting them at a greater risk.

"It is true that most of these pupils do not wash their hands using the 10 steps that we have learned in this training. There are even those parents who eat without washing their hands and end up spending a lot of resources to buy medication," admitted Teacher Violet Wafula.

"Thank you so much for the training. We have really learned a lot and we shall spread the sanitation gospel."

September, 2018: Eshilibo Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Eshilibo 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

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.

Giving Update: Eshilibo Primary School

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Eshilibo 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!

The first year Eshilibo Primary School did its first national exam was the same year they received their WaSH projects, in 2018. After last year, the students and staff said they were determined to perform better this year because they now have water within the school compound. This means that the pupils have enough time to concentrate on schoolwork instead of going out in search of water.

Other changes over the last year include sanitation standards, which have improved at Eshilibo Primary. As we entered the school compound on a recent visit, we were able to spot a few children washing their hands after visiting the toilet using the handwashing stations we installed last year.

On this visit we connected with the Health and Sanitation Teacher Mr. Isaac Anunda. We were able to share a lot on improvements and ongoing challenges of sanitation within the school, and brainstormed next steps to continue helping this school community grow and improve their hygiene and sanitation. Mr. Anunda came up with the idea of calling a parents meeting at the school to share the same sanitation information the students received at their school training last year. This, he hopes, will help spread good health practices homeward, including improvising handwashing facilities such as constructing tippy taps or leaky tins.

12-year-old student Centrine Naliaka at the rain tank

"Since the WaSH facilities were put up in the school the population of the school has increased from 250 to 280, and we expect the enrollment to increase because parents are sure [of the] water their children are drinking at school," said Mr. Anunda. He also expressed his sincere thanks to our team for helping his school, and his hopes that we might be able to continue helping other schools in the area that were in the same position Eshilibo was once in.

Students shared with us the other changes they have felt since the implementation of their WaSH projects last year.

"Our performance has really improved because we have water in the school compound and we are no longer asked to get out of class to go and look for water," said 13-year-old Chrisantus Enjusi. "Lunch, on the other hand, is prepared on time for both teachers and pupils...and we are sure the food is well prepared because the water is treated thus [it is] clean and safe for human consumption."

Centrine, Field Officer Betty, Chrisantus, and Mr. Anunda 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 Eshilibo 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 Eshilibo 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.