Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 435 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/11/2023

Project Features

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The morning started out quite cold, but it got sunnier as we arrived at Namanja Secondary School. The school is situated in a peaceful rural area. Most of the surrounding homesteads are semi-permanent structures made of mud walls and grass thatch. The few more permanent structures which normally belong to the civil servants.

Namanja Secondary School was started in the year 2007 as a community-driven initiative aimed at educating all the children in their area. The school started with a few students, the majority being female. The current year's population has increased tremendously and now they are at 410; 206 boys and 204 girls.

A normal day differs from one home to another. Many people get up as early as 5am. They begin by grooming and eating breakfast in preparation for their walk to school. At 6:30am they report to school and immediately start undertaking chores. Due to a lack of water at the school, they just sweep the classrooms and pick up rubbish. They later settle in for their lessons at 8am.

Namanja Secondary School has been trying to get water on school grounds for decades. All of these efforts have been in vain. They mobilized their resources and dug a well, which in the end the efforts were futile: the water discharged was full of silt. This was a huge discouragement as any hopefulness diminished to a somber mood.

As days progressed they again gained the courage to try a second well. This time around they were more optimistic that at the end, scarcity of water would be the past tense.

Oh, no! Before they could reach the water table they were obstructed by a huge rock. Again, all their resources went down the drain.

Students must leave school to find the water they need, most often visiting a well out in the community. Being the community's primary water source, these students must wait at the back of a huge crowd. Not being able to get enough water has severely limited the school's ability to cook and clean.

Due to the community's high population, there is usually overcrowding at the source that causes conflict between the school and the community. This always causes the school not to acquire enough water.

A few parents have withdrawn their children from the school and taken them to schools with better facilities. It has also forced the school to use a lot of money to pay workers to fetch water throughout the day. The time spent getting enough water has delayed classes and other school activities.

"Lack of enough clean and safe water within the school has resulted in so many problems. The population has drastically reduced, the state of poor sanitation and hygiene in the school has resulted in various disease-related issues, which has increased rates of absenteeism in school leading to poor performance," shared Principal Lidigu.

"We are privileged and lucky to have you. God bless you!"

What we can do:


"The school is really deteriorating in its hygiene and sanitation standards. Lack of enough water in the school has even catalyzed the problem of poor hygiene and sanitation standards for the school," said Teacher Paul Magomere.

"The project will definitely transform the entire school and better results will be realized."

Training will be held for two days. We 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 health 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

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 from the spring 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

July, 2019: Namanja Secondary School Project Complete

There is a new rainwater catchment system at Namanja 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.

"The new facilities are of great blessing to this institution. For example, the water tank has helped us a lot in retaining students at school. It was a shameful scene to send students, including form four candidates, to look for water. Now we are sure the performance will really improve in this school," said Teacher Wambani.

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 Namanja 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 requested that the principal prepare for our hygiene and sanitation training by helping us select students from each stream - from form one to form three, ensuring equal representation of both genders. These students formed a child to child (CTC) health club that will share what they learned through daily responsibilities and larger health promotion activities.

It was a hot and sunny day but the weather changed to cloudy and cool. Either way, the weather didn't bother us thanks to the availability of an empty classroom for training. The 18 participants were all happy to be there and active throughout each session.

Students received notebooks and pens to record the new things they learned.

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

We had a practical demonstration on dental care and after that, most students agreed that they had been doing the wrong thing. All of the participants, including teachers, said that they only brush their teeth once in the morning before eating breakfast. The facilitator asked them to be brushing twice a day, morning and evening, and it should be after every meal - not before.

– environmental hygiene

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

Elections were held to determine leaders to fill roles in the CTC club. The students voted for a majority of girls, and even the youngest girl in the group attained a leadership position.

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

– handwashing

There are 10 steps of thorough handwashing, which were demonstrated outside at the new handwashing stations. Running water and cleaning agent should always be used for handwashing.

The training was a great success and at the end of it, our staff agreed to be visiting the school for monitoring and evaluation. Those visits gives us a chance to see how the CTC club is having an impact on the school and the school's areas of needed improvement.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

June, 2019: Namanja Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Namanja 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!