Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/02/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Lwakhupa Primary School started in 1954 by community members who knew the importance of their children's education. Later, the catholic church took over and it is now the sponsor of the school. They started with a student enrollment of just 20 pupils, and the population has now increased to 2,140 pupils!

It was a hot and sunny afternoon during our first visit. We drove a motorbike to this rural, traditional area. People here live in mud houses with grass-thatched roofs. It is such a peaceful place because there is no industry being carried out nearby.

A normal day starts at 6:30 in the morning as pupils start arriving at the school. They find the teacher on duty who gives them instructions on their daily chores. They start by picking up rubbish around the compound and sweeping the classrooms. They attend a short study hall once they're done with their chores. Normal classes break for a long lunch so that students can leave school to find their meals.

Students study English, Swahili, mathematics, social studies, and science. However, their ability to learn is greatly disrupted by the fact that there is no clean drinking water on school grounds.

The area looks a bit like a water graveyard; old, leaky plastic water storage tanks donated to the school early on are no longer useful, and outside the school gate was the remainder of an old well installed in the 80's.

So, students have to go out into the community to find water. Their main source is a spring that was constructed by the community. It is not clean or maintained, and is severely overused.

Pupils waste a lot of time going to spring and coming back, since it is at least one kilometer each way. They are likely to suffer from waterborne diseases, and walking for a long distance each day for water is tiring.

"The pupils has suffered for so long," said Deputy Headteacher Godwill Masakha. "Walking every day to fetch water has affected their performance so much that it has forced some parents to transfer their pupils to nearby schools."

What we can do:


The compound is clean but the school needs to improve on sanitation in other area. They need handwashing facilities and sufficient water to clean latrines and classrooms.

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.

After visiting with teachers and students, we determined to address personal hygiene; leadership and management; handwashing; water handling; water treatment.

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

"We really urge you to help us add more latrines because the number of pupils is overwhelming and the ratio of pupil to toilet no longer exists," said staff member Godfrey Washali.

There are only five latrines for boys and eight for girls. Not having enough latrines for over 2,000 students forces students to wait in extremely long lines. Some younger students cannot manage the wait and need to look for a private place elsewhere.

Due to scarcity of water, the latrines are dirty and smelly. This has attracted flies, making the toilets uncomfortable to visit.

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 75,000-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

May, 2019: Lwakhupa Primary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Lwakhupa 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 received training in sanitation and hygiene.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction of this new 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was a big success.

"I do not know if you have noticed, but this area usually runs very dry (from December through February). But when it rains, it rains heavily. During the dry season, it's like surviving in the desert," said Teacher Jemima Wawire.

"Thank you for this tank. It is big! Thank you for giving us a weapon to tackle the next dry season."

The headteacher is extraordinarily grateful for this project. He shared with us the following story:

One day I walked around this school compound praying to God to intervene on the situation at hand; a large population with a very little amount of water. Before the day ended, I saw a visitor from LifeStraw organization bringing containers for storing and filtering drinking water. I received the containers but my mind was lingering on where I would get the water to fill these containers.

That's when we were contacted by you. I thank God for the positive response from you to agree to help us. Thank you so much for this wonderful tank and the latrines! When this tank is full we shall never lack water and I know the school is going to improve its hygiene and sanitation standards and also academically. 

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.

Students really helped our artisans by shuttling stones to the construction site. They were happy to be a part of the project's success! At one point, there was a need for more water for mixing cement and the students were more than happy to deliver water from the spring.

Upon the decision of the construction site, the top earth layer is excavated and cleared. Stones are then carefully packed onto the excavated area to create a strong foundation.

The foundation is cast with sand, cement, ballast, and waterproof cement. As this is being done, the wall’s skeleton of wire mesh and rebar is erected and secured into the foundation. Upon completion of the foundation, the walls are cemented and plastered to completion both inside and outside.

The catchment area is dug, plastered, and a staircase installed so students can easily get water from the tap. A metal cover with a lock is placed over the catchment area to avoid water wastage.

Since this is such a large tank, multiple concrete reinforcement pillars are built up to support the dome, which is also made of a strong wire mesh and concrete. A hatch is installed in the dome to allow the tank to be cleaned out before heavy rain, and the gutter systems are also installed at this time (this project has three so that the tank will quickly fill with rainwater).

Once finished, the tank was given three weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Lwakhupa 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.

Handwashing stations were delivered in time for training so that they could be used for handwashing demonstrations.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit latrines, three latrine doors for the boys and three latrine doors for the girls. 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.

New Knowledge

Lwakhupa Primary School already has a student sanitation club. The student members take on the responsibility of making sure their school is clean and that their peers practice healthy habits. We strengthened this club by inviting everyone to attend a hygiene and sanitation training, along with a few other student leaders who were interested in joining.

The training took place under a tree within the school compound. It was sunny with a slow wind, but the shade under the tree was optimal for the training to take place. All of the students were active, especially two students who seemed to be best friends and would ask lots of questions together.

We taught students 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 other topics we covered included:

– water pollution and ways to treat water for drinking
– handwashing

– dental hygiene

– personal and environmental hygiene
– group dynamics along with leadership and governance for the sanitation club
– operations and maintenance of the facilities

The participants were taught how to ensure that the project is well taken care of so that it lasts long enough to serve its purpose. They were also taught about the various parts of the water tank. They were advised to clean the tank every term and the gutters every month. Every participant was extremely happy to learn the parts of the tank and how to operate and maintain the facility.

"I know for a fact that some of us thought that these [tank] walls, once constructed, would stay perfect as they are. Without this training, we would never have known about curing and as a result, we would have lost this project faster than it would have served us. Thank you for the training!" said 13-year-old Abigael.

These students are eager to share what they learned with their peers and to be good ambassadors of hygiene and sanitation both at school and at home.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

March, 2019: Lwakhupa Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Lwakhupa 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 news of success!

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: Lwakhupa Primary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lwakhupa 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 used to go to the nearby spring and at times the community members would harass us before we could draw water, thus demoralizing us and also wasting our precious time."

"With water at school, we can now do our studies and good results are realized. The rate of absenteeism has reduced, too."

"Last year, the school performance was good as compared to other years when there was no water in school. This year, we hope to do better than last year."

Field Officer Betty with Lavinah and teacher Walter Nasoko posing at the rain tank before the pandemic.

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 Lwakhupa 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 Lwakhupa 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.


Conservation Concrete
LCM Interact's Campaign for Water
5 individual donor(s)