Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 153 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2024

Project Features

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A normal day at St. Mary's Namasanda Secondary School starts very early in the morning. Students report to school at 6am for study hall and chores until 7:20am when they collect litter around the school compound supervised by the teacher on duty.

Thereafter, they go to class for normal school lessons. Lessons start at 8am in the morning and each lesson takes 45 minutes. The morning has a short break for 10 minutes and a long break for a half hour. After the long break, students attend two lessons before going back home to get lunch.

After lunchtime, they proceed to class for four lessons before going for games time. They break for home at 5:30pm.

Welcome to the School

St. Mary's Namasanda Secondary School is situated in Bulimbo Village within Kakamega County. The school began in the year 2014 as one class. They used the primary school facilities until the county government purchased four acres of land.

Namasanda Secondary is a humble school in terms of infrastructure. Most of the classrooms are made of iron sheets walls and roofed with iron sheets.

Stepping into St. Mary's Namasanda, you are welcomed with brick-making work within the school compound. They started brickwork in the school by sourcing funds from the school account, according to the deputy headteacher.

The school is required to transition on its own next year. Headteacher Mrs. Rosemary Favour worries next year the school will face an acute shortage of water and other facilities if interventions are not taken. With these challenges, the school could be issued a closure notice from the department of health at any time.


Though the infrastructure in the school is still poor, the school compound looks good, free from liters around and the few available pit latrines are clean. They also have one form of sanitation facility - a dish rack at the school kitchen.

Students collect garbage and dispose of it in a compost pit. After some time, they dig up and reuse the waste as organic manure in a vegetable garden within the school.

The pit latrines are made of concrete plastered floors, bricked walls, iron sheet roofs with wooden doors. Some of the pits are not in use due to the bad state of the structure, and the pits are almost full.

"I am very thankful for you visiting us today to see for yourselves the challenges we have been going through. Today, at least am relieved after seeing you people. I see you as a solution to water and sanitation challenges in St. Mary's Namasanda Secondary School," Headteacher Favour said.


Students gather water from a small plastic rainwater tank for drinking, cleaning their utensils, and for the school cook to prepare staff lunch. The water from this 5,000-liter tank is insufficient to meet the needs of the 127 students, nine teachers and four support staff.

Most of the plastic containers used for fetching and drinking water do not have lids. The students clean the containers by pouring a little water inside and then shaking them to loosen the dirt that settles at the bottom.

When there’s no more water in the tank, the school pays locals to go fetch water and bring it back. This water comes from unknown sources. This is expensive for the school to maintain, especially when the product is dirty water that gets students sick.

An open well exists on the property, but the water inside the hole is not protected and is clearly contaminated; the water is of poor quality - especially during the dry season when the water is either entirely gone or muddy at the bottom. While other sources are preferred, students are still fetching dirty water from this hole in the ground.

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

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 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: Namasanda Secondary School Project Complete

Water is flowing from a new rainwater catchment system at Namasanda 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.

"We have been having major challenges concerning water issues in our school. This rainwater harvesting tank has a capacity of 50,000 liters. That is 10 times bigger than the plastic tank we have. For us, the problem has been solved and we are grateful to you people!" said Mr. Joseph Mumali, a teacher at the school.

"May God bless your work as you reach others who are in need of the same."

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.

Upon deciding 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.

Measuring the area excavated for the tank 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, which is particularly important for Namasanda Secondary School since the property isn't fenced.

A concrete reinforcement pillar is 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 system is 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 Namasanda 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, three for the boys and three 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.

The only construction challenge during this project was for the VIP latrines. The pit latrine construction was delayed a bit because the team had started sinking pits, but the neighboring community member complained that the site was too close to his kitchen. They had to fill up the pits again and relocate to another side. Starting another pit was challenging due to the hard soil structure.

New Knowledge

Training participants were recruited with the help of Principal Avoga. After we agreed on the day for training, she and the teachers went through and picked two representatives from each class. The selected students formed a child to child (CTC) health club that will share what they learned in training with their peers and families at home.

We were expecting about 18 participants to attend training, only to find 23 already settled in the classroom and ready to learn. This did not affect the training negatively in any way; in fact, it was great to see that many students interested in the CTC club's responsibility for spreading important health messages.

Training participants pose together with the new notebooks and pens they used throughout sessions

The students 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 (keeping water safe from source to mouth)
– handwashing

Students learned that there are ten steps to thorough handwashing, and they had a lot of fun competing to see who could remember all of the steps after the trainer demonstrated them.

– dental hygiene

During this topic, the facilitator urged the participants to be brushing their teeth at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay. He also insisted on only applying a bean nut size of toothpaste when brushing teeth. Toothpaste is often sold at the open air market, but that means the tubes would be sitting in the sun all day. Students were told that they should find a shaded shop because toothpaste should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

– environmental hygiene
– child rights
– operations and maintenance of the facilities
– group dynamics along with leadership and governance for the newly formed CTC health club

Ernest sharing his thoughts after training

"We are very happy not only for the project you have constructed for us but also for teaching us so many things that we were not aware of till this day. The knowledge gained will assist us in solving day-to-day life issues," said 18-year-old Ernest.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

March, 2019: Namasanda Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Namasanda Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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 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: Namasanda Secondary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Namasanda 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!

"We used to get water from the borehole and the spring down the hill. It wasn't a nice experience as most classes were lost during this time which made it impossible to complete the syllabus in good time."

"The rain tank is is way easier and less time-consuming."

"I am now a little relaxed and would sit easy as a boarder in Form 4 (I am currently in Form 3). Having such a supply in school is reassuring."

"This water point, I believe, has had a hand in the timely completion of our syllabi last year."

"Our afternoon classes are almost always attended and I think it will help us achieve better educational results in the near future."

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 Namasanda 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 Namasanda 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.


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