Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 332 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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The roads leading to Immaculate Heart Secondary School are so hard to travel. They're near impassible when it rains - the only way to get to the school is to walk or wait it out. It's a beautiful, rural area full of trees.

Immaculate Heart Secondary School opened in 2009. It started with very few students because many local parents did not see the importance of education, especially for the girls. The school has grown slowly each year and now has a total of 308 students with 16 teachers.

The school has some classrooms, a staff office, a kitchen, and latrines. Since there was no water on the property, the school hired people to dig a well. This well is covered by a hatch and students lower a bucket on a rope to get water. But according to the principal, this well dries up when it hasn't rained for a while.

Without water in the well, students leave school to find water. There is a spring out in the community, so the school hires a donkey cart that costs 1,000 shillings per day to to go fill containers with water and bring them back.

What's worse is that the school's primary source, the well, is entirely open to contamination as the hatch is opened and the bucket used to fetch water. Students get sick after drinking this water and have to stay home from school. But students also get sick when the school gets water from the community spring - so we believe that the water is mishandled as it's transported back on the donkey cart.

"I have always wished to receive a good Samaritan who will help curb so many problems experienced as a result of lack of sufficient clean and safe water. It breaks my heart to see students missing lessons as a result of consuming unsafe water," said Principal Wanjala.

"Also, seeing students' health deteriorating is a thorn in the flesh."

The government has directed all schools not to charge any extra fees for development, making it difficult for the school to implement any new projects.

What we can do:

"Hygiene and sanitation in this school is on the poor side and this is because of insufficient water supply and lack of enough information on proper ways to uplift better standards of hygiene and sanitation," said Teacher Collins.


We will hold training for two days. Our 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 are currently no handwashing stations on school grounds.

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

We will construct two triple-door latrines. 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 our 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. 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.

Project Updates

June, 2019: Immaculate Heart Secondary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Immaculate Heart Secondary 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 rainwater catchment tank was a big success.

"As a school we are so grateful for the project. We have suffered from water shortage for a long time. This region receives a lot of rainfall which goes to waste. With this project in our school, we shall be able to harvest a lot of water and I believe this will go a long way in helping our school," said Teacher Eposo.

"If only the donkeys had the ability to talk, I believe they would really thank [you] for relieving them of the burden of making many trips for water too. This will really help us to save on time that will now be used on academics."

This school is among the few schools that had everything ready for the artisans way before they arrived, which showed us just how eager they were for the project.

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.

The actual construction of the rainwater tank began with excavation. Stones were then carefully packed onto the excavated area to create a strong foundation. An iron weave of waterproof cement was cast over these stones to create the slab foundation. The donkeys continuously delivered the water needed to mix cement.

As this was being done, the wall’s skeleton of wire mesh and rebar was erected and secured into the foundation. Upon completion of the foundation, the walls were cemented and plastered to completion both inside and outside.

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

A concrete reinforcement pillar was built up to support the dome, which was also made of strong wire and rebar mesh and concrete. A hatch was installed in the dome to allow the tank to be cleaned out before heavy rain, and the gutter system was also installed at this time.

Once finished, the tank was given three weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Immaculate Heart Secondary School, though we will continue to offer them great support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We trained the school on the frequency of gutter and tank cleaning to ensure that they collect clean water. In addition, we do routine treatment of the water every three months using rock alum and chlorine.

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 placed right outside of the new latrines

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit latrines. They're normally given to both boys and girls, but the girls at Immaculate Heart Secondary School were in great need of all six new latrines. These 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

After consultation with the principal, he proposed that the entire student governing council (prefects) be trained so that they could be at the forefront of sharing what they learned with their peers. These prefects formed a child to child (CTC) health club that will share what they learned through daily responsibilities and larger health promotion activities.

All of the participants posing for a group picture

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 topics we covered included:

– handwashing

Students learned there are 10 steps for thorough handwashing, and that running water and a cleaning agent should be used.

– dental hygiene, and other facets of personal hygiene
– environmental hygiene
– water pollution and ways to treat drinking water
– group dynamics along with leadership and governance for the newly formed CTC health club

The newly elected CTC club leaders standing at the front. Each has a different role in making sure good health and hygiene is promoted at school

– operations and maintenance of the tank, latrines, and handwashing stations

Participants started comparing the new facilities and the water tank to their initial source of water. According to them, it is so much easier to maintain their new facilities than to continue getting water supplied by the donkey. When they care for and get water from the tank in the school compound, then the safety of the water is guaranteed.

"We have learned a lot. There are things and practices we have always taken for granted. We have lost our teeth, had cases of diarrhea, suffered from typhoid, and experienced stomach pains all out of ignorance," said 17-year-old Isaac.

"But we thank God. May God help us to be not only good listeners but also doers of whatever we are taught,"

The school had been ferrying water on donkeys each day, and in the process, their drinking water was mishandled. It would arrive even more contaminated than when they found it, and the water containers themselves were rarely cleaned. These students and teachers are now motivated to share with others and oversee daily activities that keep their water safe for drinking.

Thank You for making all of this possible.

May, 2019: Immaculate Heart Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Immaculate Heart Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by building 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: Immaculate Heart Secondary School

February, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Immaculate Heart Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Fredrick. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Immaculate Heart Secondary 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 installation of the rain tank, getting water was quite a challenge."

"As students, we would deliberately absent ourselves so that we were not sent to fetch water."

"Poor health that arose as a result of consuming dirty water led to the contraction of water-related diseases that deteriorated the health of students, causing them to miss some lessons and translating to poor performance."

"Today, it's so convenient to access clean and safe water in the tank. Much time is spent on syllabus coverage and this has impacted positively our performance."

"The rate at which students are being absent has greatly reduced."

"The water project has enabled me to have total concentration on my academics; I am performing better now than previously."

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 Immaculate Heart Secondary 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 Immaculate Heart Secondary 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.