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: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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St. Joseph Shibinga Primary School was established in 1974 by the late Nicanor Bwakali. The school is growing too fast, really. The enrollment was 1,550 students in 2018. Due to a continued record of good performance, parents keep bringing new students to this school.

It was a cold morning during our first visit, made even colder by the fact that motorbikes are the best way to traverse the roads leading to Shibinga. This is a rural area, and it's very peaceful. During our visit, most of the land has just been planted with maize and beans.

The school has a small plastic tank that they catch rainwater in. This water does not last long, so students are sent out to find water to meet their needs. They leave school and walk 400 meters to an open water source called Nalianya Spring. This interrupts class time and tires the students out.

But one of the worst parts about this walk for water is that students have to cross a busy road on the way there.

According to the headteacher, Mr. Richard Wafula, not having enough water has greatly endangered his students. "One student of class four was hit by a motorcycle as he went out to fetch water from the unprotected spring," Mr. Wafula recounted. Beyond the dangerous journey, dirty water from this spring causes waterborne diseases among his students.

What we can do:

The student population is high and the toilets are few. There is only one handwashing facility available. Even if there were more places to wash hands, the water would not be sufficient. There is quite a lot to be done in terms of improving the hygiene and sanitation standards at the school. There is a great need for training both pupils and teachers on hygiene and sanitation information.


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

There are only nine latrines for the 1,550 students here. That means there are 172 students using just one latrine.

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

"I have been waiting for such support for the school for a long time. We are ready to give our contribution to enable the completion of the projects," said an excited Mr. Paul Olwichi, the deputy headteacher at the school.

In order to ensure students have water at both school and at home, we are not only building a rainwater system but are working to transform Nalianya Spring into a clean water source as well.

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: Shibinga Primary School Project Complete

Water is flowing from a new rainwater catchment system at Shibinga 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 rainwater catchment tank was a big success.

The people who were supposed to assist the artisans arrived on time and eager to start construction. The artisans were welcomed and taken care of in terms of food and accommodation. The school and parents supported this project in every way possible, and students even helped during class breaks. The only thing left to do is fill in the drainage channel once enough stones are gathered.

"The project will help our school to solve the problem of water shortage. May God bless everyone who has contributed in whichever way to make this project a success!" said 14-year-old Annitah.

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 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.

The catchment area drying after being plastered with cement

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 Shibinga 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, 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.

New Knowledge

We started planning for hygiene and sanitation training during our many construction supervision visits to the school. We connected especially with the deputy headteacher, who helped us select student leaders from each grade. 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 requested at least 20 students to attend but were pleasantly surprised to have even more. It was a hot and humid day, and we all preferred to find some shade outside for training. However, we couldn't find a tree large enough for all of us and instead met in a classroom that was a bit stuffy. We had to break up training sessions with energizer activities to keep students alert.

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

The participants were first requested to illustrate how they wash their hands. They were then trained on the ten handwashing steps by the facilitator.

What was outstanding about this topic was that the pupils requested their deputy headteacher to wash his hands, too. This was a unique thing because, in most schools, the pupils fear their teachers (especially those holding senior positions). The deputy headteacher did it while joking that he is better informed about handwashing than they are. This made the pupils scramble to demonstrate and prove that he or she is better than the teacher. It was so interesting and funny to watch this drama!

– dental hygiene

The participants were taught the correct way of brushing their teeth. The facilitator advised them to use local materials such as charcoal powder and salt in the case they can't afford the commercial ones.

This training topic was interesting and lively. This was because the facilitator joked with the students that she didn't have toothpaste or a toothbrush, but she brushed her teeth after every meal. The pupils wondered how that was possible, and she told them she uses charcoal powder and a chewed stick.

They were so shocked and admitted that they had never heard about this. They said that would leave the teeth black and dirty, wouldn't it? The facilitator disagreed with them about this by showing them her white and clean teeth. They marveled at this and promised to give it a try!

A young lady who volunteered to demonstrate toothbrushing in front of the others

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

"Today we have learned a lot through the demonstrations presented to us, and I believe this will impact our learners positively," said Teacher Wanga.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

March, 2019: Shibinga Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Shibinga Primary 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 again 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: Shibinga Primary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shibinga 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!

"Before the rain tank, it was very difficult and the kitchen never had enough water. The water available for use at the school was dirty."

"The water is now reliable, available, and clean enough for use."

"I have enough time to concentrate on my studies."

"Having sufficient clean water saves time we used to waste going to fetch water from the spring. We have escaped the risks that would come with crossing the tarmacked road."

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 Shibinga 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 Shibinga 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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