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: 07/15/2024

Project Features

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It was a chilly morning when we first visited this dry, dusty community. There really isn't much human activity going on along the road, just a few local shops with a few groceries. Sango Market is right opposite Sango Primary School, creating a bit of chaos during peak hours.

Sango Primary School was established in 1968 with less than 50 pupils. Sango Primary is the mother of all the schools in this location since it was the first school to be established.

School starts at 7 in the morning. Pupils start trickling in one by one, some carrying water on their heads. They start by cleaning their classrooms with the little water they could carry from home. There are classes until lunch, when most students are dismissed to return home for a short time while the others remain for the school lunch program. At 2pm they resume for three more lessons and then break for extracurricular activities.

The school has grown rapidly, but the infrastructure has not kept up. There are 1,100 students attending Sango Primary School who do not have a reliable source of clean water. For the first couple of years the school didn't have any water at all. Parents realized how much their children were suffering at school and hired someone to dig a well. This well is just a hole in the ground conveniently located next to the school kitchen.

Whoever they hired quit digging as soon as they hit water. Unfortunately, that means the well dries up when it doesn't rain for several days. The shallow water is very dirty and smelly, anyways. The hatch covering the hole doesn't do much at all to protect the water inside.

To supplement water from the well, students are required to bring more water from home in the mornings and when they return from lunch break.

"The school is in deep need of safe water for sanitation in order to keep the school running. The lunch program needs clean water for cooking and cleaning utensils. We tend to borrow [water] from our neighbors," said Mr. Hezron Gweyaya.

Students are thirsty for clean drinking water. Since students often have to resort to dirty water, they miss a lot of class due to waterborne illnesses like typhoid.

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

The only two available latrines in the school are very dirty and smelly. They are washed once a week on Monday, which isn't nearly enough to keep up with the 550 students per 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

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

May, 2019: Sango Primary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Sango 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.

"I have been a teacher here for over 15 years now and accessing clean water has been a challenge to us. The water from the open well is not clean for consumption and it is barely enough to run the whole school," said Senior Teacher Gweyaya.

"This water tank will change the lives of these pupils since the clean water will reduce cases that come with waterborne diseases, which will improve our lifestyle and create more time for learning."

The Process:

The only challenge throughout the entire process was getting enough water to mix cement. Water had to be delivered via truck from quite a long distance away. Other than that, everything went according to plan! The school administration and students' parents were extremely helpful in providing for everything our artisans needed while they were working; they were offered good meals and accommodations throughout the project.

Students also supplied artisans with the water they needed to mix cement

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 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.

Progress on both the catchment area and the tank dome

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 Sango Primary School, though we will continue to offer them great support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. The handing over ceremony was a lot of fun. The Member of County Assembly, the headteacher, board chairman, teachers, and students were all there to celebrate.

The headteacher again said that "this project will transform the lives of the pupils in this school. Accessing clean water has been a major problem in this school and now that we have access to clean water, my pupils can spend more time in class and indeed improve the school's performance."

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, and were moved over to the new latrines afterwards

VIP Latrines

The school previously lacked enough toilets, and the government had even threatened to close them down if they couldn't do anything to improve the situation.

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

The sun was scorching on the first morning of training and was progressively getting worse. Due to the heat, we requested that the training be conducted outside under a huge tree. Attendance was as expected with 20 student representatives taken from different classes. The students in attendance formed a child to child (CTC) health club that will share what they learned with their peers and families at home. The senior teacher of the school was present during the whole training and he played a big part in the training and its activities.

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 ways to treat water for drinking
– handwashing

The instructor took the participants through the 10 steps of handwashing. She insisted on following all 10 steps while explaining why every single step is important. The facilitator pointed out that the pupils should always keep short nails since long nails can store germs.

The participants were excited to learn how to follow the 10 steps. Most of them wanted to try the steps in front of their peers, but we only selected three participants because time was not on our side.

– dental hygiene

Students learned that they shouldn't opt out of toothbrushing just because they can't get their hands on toothpaste or a toothbrush. Local materials can be used, too! For example, a stick can be washed and then chewed on the end to replace a toothbrush. Charcoal can be crushed in place of toothpaste.

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

"This training will change my life because I now understand good hygiene practices that will help me to prevent waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid as well as injuries," said 10-year-old Marion.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

March, 2019: Sango Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Sango 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 the students at 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: Sango Primary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sango 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!

"During the dry season, we used to lack water for drinking and cooking. We would bring water from home and when it ran out, we would stay thirsty till we got back home."

"We now enjoy clean drinking water. We draw water from the water tank and fill the LifeStraw containers with drinking water which saves us time and ensures drinking water is constantly available next to the classrooms."

"We no longer come late to school since we don't have to bring water from home anymore. We can see some improvement in our class tests as well."

"We have no challenges concerning water anymore. Morning, break, and lunch water is always available. It has been like that since we got the tank last year."

Pauline and student Brian 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 Sango 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 Sango 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.


Project Sponsor - Pathway Church