Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/12/2024

Project Features

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There is no source of water on the grounds of St. Lucia Irobo Primary School. So, students have to leave class to find the water they need.

They go to a spring in the community that’s about a 700-meter walk one way. There is plenty of good water at this spring, but the students’ walk and hard work to fetch enough water for drinking and cleaning is the real issue.

After carrying such a heavy container of water, students return to class too exhausted and distracted to study.

"Our pupils go a long distance to get water from the unprotected spring. This affects their study time because a lot of time is spend fetching water," explained the teacher in charge of sanitation at the school, Mr. George Mulama.

Beyond the students' burden of carrying water, the support staff is also required to fetch water throughout the day.

St. Lucia Irobo Primary School was established in 1971. The school hosts pupils who come from very humble backgrounds. Some of them live with their grandparents, while others are orphans. The school has been on and off due to poor enrollment. The school has stabilized and now has a high enrollment of 717 students.

The school is in rural area where and is not easily reached. It has 17 classrooms from early education through primary. There are at least 84 pupils per class, making the rooms very overcrowded.

The headteacher wrote a request letter asking that the school be considered for construction of a water tank and toilets. He made a follow-up visit to the offices, too. We arranged for a visit to assess the need for ourselves, and found that the hygiene and sanitation situation at the school is very bad.

What we can do:


Training on good hygiene habits 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

The toilet facilities are not enough for the pupils, with only 10 latrines total. These are in very bad condition and the pits are almost full. Many pupils also use the latrine with bare feet, exposing themselves to a myriad of germs because the latrines are not washed with water throughout the day.

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

April, 2019: Irobo Primary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Irobo 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 of this new rainwater catchment tank was a big success! Leaving class to get water from the community will no longer be part of students' daily schedule.

"As a school, we are grateful for the water tank, toilets and handwashing facilities. Previously, the school did not have a reliable water supply source," explained excited sanitation teacher, Mr. George Mulama.

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 tank 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.

Working on the dome mesh and lining

Once finished, the tank was given three weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Irobo Primary School, though we will continue to offer them great support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

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.

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.

"On behalf of my fellow pupils and the entire school, I really appreciate [you] for considering our school with such facilities. The facilities will help improve the hygiene and sanitation standards at our school. Initially, the school had few latrines and this led to congestion when used," explained 13-year-old Rael.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned two weeks ahead of time. The sanitation teacher was in charge of recruiting student representatives to attend training, making sure there were some from each class. These students were trained on good health habits and are now part of a new child to child (CTC) health club that will share this information with peers and families at home.

Trainer Mary handing out new notebooks and pens for students to take down training topics

The students and their teachers needed knowledge on how to improve standards of hygiene and ensure that the sanitation facilities given to them are well-maintained for years to come. Some of the topics we covered included water pollution and treatment methods, handwashing, dental hygiene, operations and maintenance of the facilities, and group dynamics along with leadership and governance for the newly formed CTC (child to child) health club.

The students most enjoyed the demonstrations for brushing teeth and washing hands. Everybody wanted a chance to practice what they learned in front of their peers. They're excited about the process and promised our trainers that they would show others how to brush teeth and wash hands properly.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Irobo Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Irobo 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

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: Irobo Primary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Irobo 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!

"We lacked clean drinking water before this tank was put up. We were forced to be carrying water from home or to fetch it from the streams during lesson times. It was so tiresome and an embarrassing thing to be doing every school day."

"Now, we are drinking safe water which is treated before we use it. This has improved our health and confidence at school."

"Our classrooms are also clean because the tank water has made it easy for us to maintain a high standard of hygiene every day."

"We are also eating clean food because the school cook has enough water to wash our food and clean the utensils before serving us."

"Our class performance has improved in many subjects because we are able to come to school early enough without the worry of being sent for water or to carry books and water as we come to school. We have now tested the joy of learning at peace."

"As students, our greatest achievement is to have access to safe and reliable drinking water within our school compound. The tank has also helped our school to build a new kitchen and extra classrooms using this water."

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 Irobo 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 Irobo 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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