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: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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Esibila Secondary School was established by the local community who donated the land where the school is built. Their dream became a reality in the year 1999 when the school got its registration certificate from the ministry of education. The school has grown at a steady pace over the years and now hosts 630 students, 28 teachers, and 11 support staff.

The school is situated at a unique location: at the foot of a hill well-known by the locals, who believe it to be the origin of a particular Luhya sub-tribe called "Abasiekwe." They are believed to be rainmakers. But the school is also right by a highway, so it is very noisy due to heavy vehicles hooting and braking at a big corner of the road located right outside the school gate.

Parents are urged to deposit school fees at the bank and submit a slip to the school’s bursar. There are some rare cases of parents paying school fees by making a firewood or food donation.

It was very sad to see a school with such a big student population trying to get by with just six plastic tanks of varying small capacities, the largest one being 10,000 liters. Since the rainwater stored in these plastic tanks is not enough for 630 students, they have to find water elsewhere.

There is a spring in the community. The spring is protected and a great water source, but it is primarily meant for the community. When students arrive at the spring to get the water they need, they are often forced to wait at the back of a large crowd of community members. Moreover, the spring is almost one kilometer away from the school and across that busy highway.

The school principal narrated a story on how a heavy truck lost control and crashed into the neighboring primary school's gate, killing the driver and his assistant on the spot. She further expressed her fear of letting the students cross the road by exclaiming that every time the students go to the spring, she holds her breath until the students return.

There is a well nearby that was never finished. It is a large hole in the ground. The school principal reached out to the well’s sponsor, the Nairobi Rotary Club, to see why they never installed a pump. However, Mrs. Otwoma was never able to get a solid answer.

"I have witnessed students just drinking whatever water is available... if such habits continue, I am afraid that many lives will be at risk of contracting water-related diseases or even losing lives," shared Richard Masinde, the school cook.

What we can do:


"I must admit that we are really lacking in terms of hygiene and sanitation," said Principal Josphine Otwoma.

"When I look around the compound, I pity our students as they just eat the food without washing their hands, exposing themselves to disease-causing germs. Sanitation on the other hand is very pathetic; the girls’ latrines are almost full and some have cracks behind the walls that could collapse anytime."

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

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!

For this school, a rainwater tank is the best solution because it serves two purposes: storage and collection of water. With this intervention, accessing water will be much easier than having to cross a dangerous, busy highway to the spring. That has wasted so much time really meant for studies.

Project Updates

April, 2019: Esibila Secondary School Project Complete

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

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction of this new rainwater catchment tank was a big success!

"I really appreciate [your] effort to provide us with clean water to quench our thirst. We won't suffer anymore from consuming contaminated water," said Teacher Mideva.

Previously, students used to cross a very busy highway in search of water. That was very dangerous as the crossing area was a corner associated with common accidents. Students will now be much more comfortable in school knowing that they will no longer waste time going to the protected spring that is always crowded, but will just walk a few meters so as to have safe, clean drinking water from the tank.

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.

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. A metal cover with a lock was placed over the catchment area to avoid water wastage.

Starting on the catchment area

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.

Progress on the dome

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

New Knowledge

We were able to propose a day, time, venue and place for hygiene and sanitation training with the help of the school principal. Participants were recruited from form one and two, who are forming a child to child (CTC) health club that will share what they learned with their peers and families at home.

We had planned to train 20 participants, but attendance was beyond our expectation. A total of 28 participants availed themselves for training and were waiting in the school library for us when we arrived.

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 health club.

A student demonstrates what she just learned about handwashing

Students especially liked the training on how to care for their rainwater tank, new latrines, and handwashing stations. The trainer taught them how gutters should be cleaned regularly, the tap locked when not in use, and washing out the inside of the tank when the water is low. They were reminded to wash the latrines daily, paint the latrines, and always lock the latrines when not in use - especially during long holidays when wind could blow open the doors and damage the hinges.

Students with the new notebooks and pens they received to help remember the good health information they learned during training

"The very many topics and subjects presented to us today have touched on the areas we have never heard of or practiced, especially the steps of washing hands with soap. Nearly all of us here have been coming into contact with food without washing hands first," said 14-year-old Marion.

"Our lives will change from today in terms of proper hygiene practices which cuts on disease causing germs transmission."

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Esibila Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Esibila Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Their need for water interrupts class and sends them out into the community to find it. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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: Esibila Secondary School

February, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Esibila 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 Esibila Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Esibila 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!

"Being requested to carry water from home was a challenge to the students."

"Early each morning, one was able to spot students carrying water to school. And for those who were not able to carry water, they would be severely punished by the teacher on duty and this did encourage high cases of absenteeism."

"Since the installment of the rain tank, there has been a general improvement in my academics. Currently, I am an average student."

"The life of each member of this school has changed drastically thanks to the installation of the water tank."

"We are able to access clean, safe water directly from the school's compound."

Field Officer Sam, Fredrick, and Teacher Jane Khasilwa pose 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 Esibila 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 Esibila 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.