Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 486 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/15/2023

Project Features

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There is no water at Shikusa Primary School. Students have to leave school to find water in the surrounding environment. They often find water in a swampy area, wading through bushes and reeds to get there.

This water is very dirty. Before dunking a container under the water, a stick must be used to remove some of the green algae floating on the surface. When the school uses up all of the water in those containers, students must make the trek once again.

Valuable class time is wasted.

After drinking dirty water fetched from the swamp, students are at great risk of getting ill and missing class altogether.

"Accessing clean water here has been of a big challenge to us," said Headteacher Christopher Ombula.

"Tasking pupils to go and fetch water or bring water from their homes for drinking at school is something uncertain - simply because you don't know where they are drawing water from, and the containers they are using to carry this water not to mention how they handle on the way."

Shikusa Primary School began in 1996 with a total population of 10 pupils and two teachers under a tree. It was started by prison officers at Shikusa Maximum Prison who wanted their children to receive an education without having to travel long distances to the urban center. The school has grown over the years and now has a student enrollment of 469.

The school is situated inside the prison. The area is very green. It is the largest prison in Western Kenya and its wards produce maize crops at a large scale, supplying maize grains to all of the other prisons in Kakamega County.

The school is now accessible to all community members, even if they are not staff at the prison. In fact, 60% of the students enrolled are from the outside community.

What we can do:


Hygiene and sanitation 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

There is nowhere to wash hands.

Our training equips the CTC club to 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

There are currently nine latrines for 469 students. These are rarely cleaned because of the water shortage at school.

According to the headteacher, the school had been closed down at one point due to poor sanitation after heavy rain damage. The school was able to open later after receiving major support for new construction of sanitation facilities courtesy of prison officers. These same sanitation facilities are still being used, but are not nearly enough for the student body.

"The current state of sanitation and hygiene here needs urgent attention," added Headteacher Ombula.

"Pupils spend a lot of their time queuing to access the few available sanitation facilities. Chances of health hazards are very high simply because the ratio of pupils to available latrines do not match, and they get dirty easily."

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 swamp 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

03/12/2019: Shikusa Primary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Shikusa 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.

Shikusa Primary School had been shut down by the government in the past for lacking sanitation facilities. The new, well-built latrines will ensure that the school continues to stay open for these 469 students.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

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

"We are so humbled and grateful for what you have done for us. The facilities will helped us save on time that we normally wasted going to look for water outside the school compound," said Teacher Nyuliah.

Since this school is for the children of prison staff, the wardens brought over some prisoners to help build the tank! They were heavily supervised and worked extremely hard to help our artisans with the heavy lifting. Parents themselves helped as well, and the many hands made for quick construction work.

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.

Taking a diameter measurement for the tank foundation

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 Shikusa 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.

"More so, sanitation facilities will reduce queuing that had been witnessed due to insufficient sanitation facilities [back] then," said Teacher Nyuliah.

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 planned and organized for training together with the headteacher and his deputy. Recruitment of participants was delegated to the sanitation teacher, who hand-picked student leaders from classes four to seven. She came up with a total of 20 pupils who will learn about new health habits and share them with their peers and families at home. There were also two teachers in attendance.

We covered topics including:

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

The newly formed CTC club holding up the new notebooks and pens they received for training.

– handwashing

– dental hygiene

Covering the dental hygiene topic made every participant very attentive. Before the facilitator demonstrated dental hygiene, she requested two participants to volunteer and show others how they normally brush their teeth. Almost all of the participants raised their hands.

"Today's training is powerful one, we have learnt a lot and now we are more informed than we were before," said 13-year-old Kennedy.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

02/06/2019: Shikusa Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Shikusa Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point on school grounds 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

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: Shikusa Primary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikusa 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!

"Before the project, it was difficult because we used to go to a seasonal spring to collect water that was not safe for drinking."

"The water could not serve us for a long time because we had not larger containers for storing it."

"The spring was far and slopy, making it risky for young kids and adults alike."

"Right now, we do get clean water from within the school compound which is enough to last us for a longer period."

"The tank has changed my life because I am no longer having to worry about waterborne diseases. The tank has helped greatly in saving our time for studies."

"This water tank has helped me greatly in my studies."

"I have gotten enough time for studies because I no longer have to carry water from home or go for water at the distant spring. This has made me improve greatly in my academics."


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 Shikusa 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 Shikusa 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
Curtis Solutions Company
Friends of Leslie Moorman, In honor of Leslie
ditoma limited
Wassail for Water
Addison's Campaign for Water
Eneya's Campaign for Water
Venture Church
The Beech Hill School

And 2 other fundraising page(s)
9 individual donor(s)