Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 388 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/11/2024

Project Features

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Hombala Secondary School was opened because of primary students' need for further education. Parents and the community at large worked with a sponsor to start-up a secondary section in 2006 when the primary school donated three classrooms. They started with three voluntary teachers and 16 students.

In 2008, Free Day Secondary (FDS) was introduced by the government. All parents transferred their children to secondary schools that enrolled in FDS. Hombala was not registered at that time, so they had to shut down because nobody wanted to pay fees.

The school was finally registered in 2010 and opened again to 26 students. It has grown to now have an enrollment of 363 students. But despite the growth here, the school hasn't been able to establish a reliable clean water source.

There is one plastic tank that can store 10,000 liters of water, but it was donated so that the school could have a working science lab. When the school takes water for this tank and uses it for drinking and for cooking school lunch, it lasts no longer than a week before it requires heavy rains.

That being the case, students have to leave school to get more water from the community. The spring they walk to is far from the school and has no clear path. The students have gotten in trouble as they pass through community members' farms and homesteads. And after students take the long walk back with heavy containers of water, they arrive at class weary.

The school is using an old latrine to stack up and store these water containers. The students and teachers at the school complain of getting colds, headaches, and stomachaches after drinking water from the spring. "We sneeze a lot when water from the spring is used to cook," said a student. It's likely water is contaminated during the long walk back to school.

"The main challenge our school faces is water scarcity. We have the capability of harvesting enough water from our roofs but no means of storing the water," said Principal Odanga.

"This forces us to send students to fetch water from the spring approximately 700 meters away. This results in learning time wastage. The water itself causes colds and sneezing and personally I don't take it."

What we can do:

"We have limited hygiene facilities at the school. We witness this every break time students have. They scramble to use the latrines and handwashing stations at the school. Some boys have resulted to use bushes around the latrine for short calls, making the latrine area smelly. Lack of sufficient water at the school has also limited cleaning of the latrines, contributing to their poor smelly state" said Teacher Shuah.


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.

They need training on proper water handling, storage, treatment, food handling, latrine cleanliness, handwashing, and many other topics.

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

August, 2019: Hombala Secondary School Project Complete!

Hombala Secondary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which has the ability to collect 50,000 liters of water. We installed new latrines for students, handwashing stations, and we trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. All of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Rain Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, women cooked meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work. Local men and women helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Forming the tank foundation

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a new rain tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Mixing cement

Then, we cleared the site: excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast by laying hardcore on level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

Tamping down the cement inside the tank

Working on the dome

Both the drawing pipe as well as the washout pipe were affixed as the foundation was laid. The wall was built with ferro-cement techniques through 6 layers. The inner wall was plastered while rough casting was done on the outer part. Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed.

Attaching the gutter

Dome construction could begin after the superstructure had been given enough time to settle. The manhole cover was fitted, inlet pipes were connected to the roof gutters, inlet screens, ventilation pipes (breathers) and overflow pipes were all done to standard.

Completed rain tank

Once finished, the tank was given 3 to 4 weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Hombala Secondary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. The celebration was a great chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we’ve given, as well as remind them of our continued support as they develop.

Teacher Mrs. Shuah Lukayo in front of the tank's plaque

"We [had] been interfering with lessons because of [the] scarcity of water [since] students were forced to go to the spring, which is far away. But now [that] we have enough clean and safe water for drinking, we are going to improve in our performance [thanks to more time in lessons]," said teacher Mrs. Shuah Lukayo.

"Thank you, we love you."

VIP Latrines

Latrine block

This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. All of these new latrines have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean. Being a mixed school, the addition of these latrines means that students will no longer have to share latrines.

Completed girls' latrines

Handwashing Stations

The 2 handwashing stations were delivered to the school and handed over to the Child to Child health club. These were placed outside of the girls’ and boys’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use.

Health club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, make sure the stations are filled with water, and work to ensure that there is always soap or ash available.

New handwashing station in action

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal, Mr.Gerald Owoko, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for students, staff, and parent representatives. Individual teachers helped by selecting students from each class to represent the others.

Training begins

20 students attended training, which was held inside a science lab to avoid complications from the weather. Though the lab is outfitted with sinks, there is no running water there like the rest of the school. All the participants were active during the whole training session, as they were listening attentively and asked questions for clarification when needed. They were also taking notes for later reference. We very much enjoyed the training session with them.

Partner activity

We covered a number of topics, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; and operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new student health club will be greatly involved in project management and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

Student listens during training

Handwashing activity

In the hygiene and sanitation session, we started by defining hygiene and sanitation and later talked intensively on body hygiene and did demonstrations for both oral hygiene and dental hygiene. Once we started demonstrations on brushing teeth handwashing, every participant wanted to join in. This topic was particularly active and it was a happy moment.

Student leads an activity

While discussing the different types and qualities of good leaders in the leadership and governance session, the students were eager to elect their peers as leaders of the health club. Students vied for almost every position in the club! We loved the students' spirit and encouraged them to keep it up, as they can be great leaders in the future.

Handwashing practice

"Knowledge is power," said student Zablon Tianyi.

He added that he would take all of the information he had learned and be an ambassador of change both in school and at home. Principal Owoko was so happy and said that the Lord will bless our team for changing the face of Hombala Secondary School. He said the school is going to grow naturally while simultaneously attracting students from other schools, highlighting that this project is just the beginning for his school's development.

"I'm grateful to be part of this training today, personally I have learned a lot that I didn't know especially on matters [of] hygiene," said 16-year-old student Harriet Migare.

"I have learned new ways of brushing teeth so that one cannot injure his/her gums, [and] I have also learned the ten steps of handwashing and most importantly how to operate and maintain the facilities you have provided for us. We will put whatever we have learned today into practice and surely our lives will change positively; we will no longer lack water and also our hygiene and sanitation standards will improve."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2019: Hombala Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Hombala 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 your 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!


Project Underwriter - Hallovi Family
John Jay Intensive Instruction Class
6 individual donor(s)