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The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Collecting Water From New Tank
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Safe Water
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  New Tank
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  New Latrines
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Finished Latrines
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Lining Up To Use New Handwashing Stations
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Finishing Up New Latrines
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Laying Bricks For The Latrines
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Moving Cement To Continue Building The Tank
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Pouring Cement For Tank
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Constructing The Tank
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Handwashing Station Demonstration
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Students Listen During Training
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Students Participate In Training
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Latrines
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Latrines
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Metered Taps
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  School Grounds
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  Dormitory
The Water Project: St. Mary's Girl's High School -  School Gate

Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Requires Repair

Last Checkup: 04/05/2019

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

A day at St. Mary’s involves students waking up early at 4:30am to prepare for the day. All of the girls live on school grounds so they can prepare for the day quickly and get straight to studying. At 5:30am, they’re required to sit in study hall until breakfast is served at 7am.

There’s more time to study and finish up assignments until normal classes at 8am. These lessons continue throughout the day until sports and games hour at 4pm. The boarders are required to get water and clean up for dinner at 5:30pm, after which they go for evening prayers and then study until bed.

With this heavy academic schedule, it should be no surprise that St. Mary’s Girl’s High is rated one of the top boarding schools in the region. This notoriety has in turn attracted more girls, which is straining the school’s facilities. They used to have a dining hall and sick room, but now they’re both dormitories.


There are currently 1,035 girls attending classes here. They are taught by 41 teachers and helped by 26 supplementary staff. (Since a typical water source can only support a generous number of 500 people, we cap our “number served” there.)

The school catches rainwater, has a well, and paid a fee to be connected to piped water in order to do their best to meet the drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs of these girls.

Unfortunately, the pipeline is only on a couple of days a week and that water is metered. Therefore, the school pursued the installation of other clean water sources. Since they’ve been able to get a well and rainwater tanks, the school has already grown by over 200 students.

You’ll see girls at one of these sources at the strangest times of the day, for they’d like to avoid the extraordinarily long lines that form during the morning and evening. This forced administration to figure out how to upgrade facilities or add more capacity.

They tried to upgrade their well to a submersible system, but they were told the yield is too low for any pump other than the manual pump they have. Nonetheless, this well and the concrete rainwater tank are the school’s most reliable clean water sources – they just need more.


Some of the pit latrines are in good working condition while others are not. Most of the unused latrines are missing their doors, so girls won’t dare to use them. There is just one handwashing station, mostly for the staff to use. Girls are expected to use the water they fetched in their own containers.

Counting the usable pit latrines here, there are 51 girls per latrine. They’re doing their best at keeping their campus and its facilities clean, but it’s difficult when there’s such overuse.

“The school has enjoyed proper sanitation and health standards over the years, for close to the ten years that I have been working here. With this kind of environment, we have had the opportunity to produce some of the best performing students in the region and the whole country,” Principal Rosemary Kwendo said.

“With that kind of performance, there has been goodwill between us and the surrounding school communities and also the government, thus the continuous increase in population. This increase has therefore led to a strain on all the social amenities we have, and now we face the challenge of standard health.”

In fact, while St. Mary’s Girl’s High has been praised by many, the water shortage problem and poor sanitation conditions have recently been the subject of negative news stories about the school.

Here’s what we plan 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 these girls to lead their peers into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school. This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as hand-washing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition.

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations will be delivered to the school, and the CTC 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

Six doors of new pit latrines will be installed for the girls, complete with good ventilation. 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

This rainwater catchment tank will add an additional 50,000 liters of clean water on school grounds to help support the growing student population. All of these new facilities are helping the school avoid an impending closure notice, ensuring that hundreds of girls still have the opportunity to pursue a bright future.

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

05/25/2018: St. Mary's Mumias Girls Secondary School Project Complete

St. Mary’s Mumias Girls Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support: A new rainwater catchment system has been built. Handwashing stations were installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school deputy principal, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for students, staff, and parent representatives. Individual teachers helped by selecting at least five students from each class to represent the others.

There were actually more students than we anticipated, many of whom wanted to take some form of leadership and responsibility for the new facilities. There were 58students in total.

A number of topics were covered, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new child to child (CTC) health club will be greatly involved in project management and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

Handwashing training

The students were in a relaxed and jovial mood since they were through with their exams and were therefore very attentive and active. What made this special was that the students knew more about health and were able to share with us some of the health activities they practice both at home and in school.

“As a health club chairperson I am so glad you came to our school and imparted knowledge on us, because we now have a lot to share with our members during our meeting unlike in the past where we lacked credible agenda and were repeating the same things over and over again,” Lilian said to us.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. The girls received six new latrines for their use. 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.

We got an update a few days ago – the school has even added a coat of beautiful blue paint!

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were delivered to the school and handed over to the CTC club. These were placed outside of the boys’ and girls’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use.

Girls line up to use new handwashing station

CTC club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, and make sure there is always soap or ash available. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

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

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, women cooked meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work. Local men and women helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a 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 hardcore 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 iron mesh frame for the tank walls.

Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed.

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.

The dome, like all parts of the tank, is constructed in layers to prevent leaking.

Once finished, the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to St. Mary’s Mumias Girls’ Secondary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

The ceremony was a great chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we’ve given, as well as remind them of our continued support as they develop.

“We believe we are now safe, we have plenty of water to use for drinking and also for cleaning. Since this is a girls school, total maintenance of hygiene is expected as we are the ones concerned with cleanliness both at home and in school,” Ms. Jayleen Jeptum, a 15-year-old student, said.

“Our work has now become easier.”

The Water Project : kenya18289-safe-water

04/18/2018: St. Mary's Girl's High School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at St. Mary’s Girl’s High 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!

The Water Project : 1-kenya18289-school-gate

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.