Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 304 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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We left for our visit to Chebunaywa Secondary School on a sunny morning, but the sky later clouded over. Chebunaywa Secondary is located in Lusengeli, which is known for its cold temperatures because of the nearby Kaimosi Forest.

Chebunaywa Village is a very quiet and peaceful place. We saw everyone minding their own business on their farms and the children helping clean around their homes and fetching water for their family cows. The place is very rocky with a steep topography.

We learned that the school opened in 2010. A member of parliament put up all of the structures in the school by using community development funds. The school started with poor performance because the board of management could only afford under-qualified staff. As per now, the school has trained teachers and they are hoping that this year they will send at least one student to university.

The school struggles because though enrollment has grown to 289 students, they do not have clean, reliable water. There is one 10,000-liter plastic tank that was donated by the nearby church, but this is still nowhere near enough water for students to drink, the school cook to make meal, or for the latrines and classrooms to remain clean.

"My worries have been a driving force and this made me approach our [church] sponsors who donated the plastic tank. This tank reduced our problems but it has not solved it," said Principal Geoffrey Mmaitsi.

"I have been a very worried principal. I worry about the safety of my students every time they are sent to the spring to fetch water and I often make the teachers on duty to accompany them to the spring."

The spring students have to go to is 300 meters away. We enjoyed going down the spring with the students, but the uphill climb on our way back was very tedious. The spring is literally "water from a rock." There is a huge rock at the eye of the spring and this makes it difficult for the students to reach the farthest end where the water is clearer.

The spring is seasonal with a low yield. There are always conflicts arising between the students and community members due to competition for the limited resource. One neighbor even threatened to restrict the students from passing through his farm, but the church elders talked to him and he cooled his rage.

The students usually return to class already tired from fetching water at the spring. This reduces their concentration in class and some students end up getting too discouraged to attend class altogether.

What we can do:


"I could affirm to you that none of my students wash their hands after toilet visits. We are looking forward to this project and all he benefits that come alone with it like hygiene and sanitation training," said Principal Mmaitsi.

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

We will deliver two handwashing stations 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

"This school has very poor hygiene and sanitation practices as well as facilities. We condemned the four latrines that were used by boys and we had to allocate them some four latrines that belonged to the girls. This has led to congestion at the latrines during break time and the latrines end up being dirty and smelly due to overuse," admitted Mr. Mmaitsi.

The latrines are cleaned haphazardly because the students just pour plain water on the floors without scrubbing them. The latrines are near the kitchen where water is kept, but the students are never allowed to use water from the kitchen to clean the 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

May, 2019: Chebunaywa Secondary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Chebunaywa 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.

"This tank is a lifesaver. We have been spending a lot of money to meet our daily need for water. That money can now be put into developing the school!" said Principal Mmaitsi.

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 school is on a slope, so the only suitable location for the tank was at the furthest end of the school where the land flattens out.

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.

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.

Our artisans had a pleasant time working at this school since they always had what they needed to get the job done. They had plenty of extra hands from the community to help with heavy lifting around the construction site.

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

As we began work on the VIP latrines, the principal requested that all six new latrine doors be given to the boys. That's because all of the boys' latrines had fallen apart and they and the girls had to share latrines. The principal described the time before this project as very chaotic. With the new latrines all for boys, the girls now have all eight of their old latrines back.

The principal also came up with the idea of connecting all of the new boys' latrines together to form a urinal. We are excited about the huge level of cooperation the school administration and its students had throughout this project.

New Knowledge

We planned hygiene and sanitation training with the help of the school principal. During one of our construction supervision visits, we informed him about the importance of hygiene training and continuous care of the new facilities. The principal informed the director of studies, who then selected student representatives to attend training.

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. All of the participants were very active during the training. We did not notice any distracted individuals even though they had an examination in a different class after the training.

We spent extra time during training enforcing these students' value. The principal had shared that students often drop out with a lack of motivation, and many of the female students marry early and don't finish their education. Being healthy isn't just the mere absence of disease, or isn't just about being physically strong. A healthy person is someone who is mentally, physically, economically, and spiritually healthy.

The students also 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 facilitator demonstrated the ten steps of handwashing. Before the demonstration, the facilitator asked students to list the critical times that handwashing should be done. The participants were able to mention a few, but they admitted that handwashing is a rare practice for them.

The participants saw this as a new concept and were keen on learning the ten steps of handwashing. They promised that they would start practicing proper handwashing and would also do the same thing at home.

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

"This training has helped me to learn how to be healthy and to be an environmentally friendly student," said 16-year-old Pauline.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

April, 2019: Chebunaywa Secondary School Project Underway

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

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chebunaywa 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 hell."

"Some of us, especially me, thought of relocating to other schools."

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

"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."

"There has been a general improvement in my academics, especially in mathematics and science subjects, as I am able to find ample time to study without any interference."

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 Chebunaywa 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 Chebunaywa 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.


Project Sponsor - Yakima Foursquare Church
1 individual donor(s)