Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 255 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/13/2024

Project Features

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It was a sunny morning at 10am when we first arrived at Nambilima Secondary School to see the need for ourselves. We started by signing in at the security office, and we were later taken to the administration office where we found the principal who welcomed us warmly.

We learned that the school opened in 2009 to teach just 10 students. The school has continued to grow over the years, with a current enrollment of 235 students. The school also employs 12 teachers and eight support staff.

The school has added many facilities, but it continues to struggle with water access. When the school first opened it banded together with parents to dig a well on the property. However, this well is not deep enough and dries up when it doesn't rain for a while. The water is accessed via a bucket and rope lowered through a hatch. The water that comes out is brown.

"The students and the teachers mostly get typhoid, leading them to have stomach pains and this also affects the school due to many illness cases. This matter sometimes becomes worse, making the school board worried. We shall appreciate if helped to get an alternative source of water," said Deputy Principal Sitandai.

What we can do:

"We are not up to the standard of hygiene in this school due to a shortage of water at the school. I believe change will occur once we have enough water to cater for all our needs here in school," said Principal Wangila.

Classrooms and latrines are left dirty because of the water shortage here. The school needs the ability to store water in a place where they can treat it before drinking.


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

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

June, 2019: Nambilima Secondary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Nambilima 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 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was a success!

The Nambilima Community is one of a kind. During the construction of all the new facilities, the entire support staff came together and worked alongside our artisans. They knew that the project would benefit students and make their jobs easier. They worked to the point of sweating to see this project succeed and would work late after school was dismissed.

Some school alumni who lived nearby also assisted by fetching water for mixing concrete and by transporting supplementary construction materials to the tank construction site.

All of the volunteers were a lot of fun to work with and would lighten the mood by cracking jokes throughout the day.

"Now that we have water in the school, fewer trips will be made to get water and some of us will have an ample time studying," said 19-year-old Edwin.

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 actual construction of the rainwater tank began with excavation. Stones were then carefully packed onto the excavated area to create a strong foundation. An iron weave of waterproof cement was cast over these stones to create the slab foundation.

As this was being done, the wall’s skeleton of wire mesh and rebar was erected and secured into the foundation. Upon completion of the foundation, the walls were cemented and plastered to completion both inside and outside.

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.

A concrete reinforcement pillar was built up to support the dome, which was also made of strong wire and rebar mesh and concrete. A hatch was installed in the dome to allow the tank to be cleaned out before heavy rain, and the gutter system was 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 Nambilima Secondary School, though we will continue to offer them great support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

We trained the school on the frequency of gutter and tank cleaning to ensure that they collect clean water. In addition, we do routine treatment of the water every three months using rock alum and chlorine.

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 doors were given to the girls and three to the boys. These 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 explained the importance of hygiene and sanitation training to the school administration, and they immediately scheduled training for the first day students returned from their vacation between terms.

Participation of the attendees was above average. About six students were more active than the others and would eagerly ask questions and volunteer.

We taught students 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:

– dental hygiene, and other facets of personal hygiene

Students were surprised that they had been brushing their teeth the wrong way all along and that a different motion should be used to protect their gums.

– environmental hygiene
– water pollution and ways to treat drinking water
– group dynamics along with leadership and governance for the newly formed CTC health club

Students voted to elect leaders for their CTC health club. These students will lead the way in caring for their water and sanitation facilities and planning activities that promote hygiene awareness at their school.

– operations and maintenance of the tank, latrines, and handwashing stations

The facilitator took the participants around and showed them how all of the new things work and how to care for them. While being taught about how to use the new latrines, some students made fun of the facilitator as he explained it, but ended up agreeing that some of their peers have no idea how to use the latrine properly.

– handwashing

There are 10 steps to thorough handwashing, which should be done with both running water and soap.

"Honestly I have been using the wrong method of brushing my teeth since I was a child and almost every time my gums would bleed. It's only today that I have learned that I was brushing all wrong. I have learned so much today. Thank you!" said 16-year-old Boaz.

The training was received positively and it made a mark on these students. During the training, a few were amazed at how incorrectly they had been carrying out some hygiene practices like handwashing and toothbrushing. Being a senior group of students, most of the content was well-grasped as some of them were seen teaching their colleagues the proper practices right after the sessions.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

May, 2019: Nambilima Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Nambilima Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue 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!


Project Sponsor - Estate of Rebecca Bradshaw