Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 206 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Irovo Orphanage Academy was started in 2005 as an initiative of Mr. Alfred Liuva. The name Liuva means 'sun' in the Tiriki language, and indeed the sun rose on the orphans of the area as Mr. Liuva caught the vision of providing food, accommodations, and education for these children. At first, Mr. Liuva sent the children out to other schools each morning until he realized that students were getting tired from walking to school each morning, walking back for lunch, and then out again in the evenings. That is when Mr. Liuva added classrooms and started this school. The orphanage has registered its first Class 8 candidates this year. Irovo Orphanage Academy currently has an enrollment of 206 children, some of whom are boarding students.

The school has very few buildings. The 4 classrooms are subdivided into 2 spaces each using plywood so that they can accommodate all the students. There is 1 mud-walled kitchen, a mud-walled dormitory for girls, and the boys sleep in the adjacent rooms in the staff building.

The orphans do not pay any school fees. The school owns a farm that is cultivated by the pupils so that they can harvest their sown food. Some of the guardians of the orphans bring farm produce to sustain the orphans, too.

The subjects taught at Irovo Orphanage Academy include mathematics, social studies, religious education, English, and Kiswahili. The subjects are few because the orphanage depends on volunteer teachers who are mostly college students. The pupils are allowed to play football during game time. Recently the orphanage management discovered great talent in one of the orphans who hails from Uganda. The girl has made it to nationals and will be encouraged to pursue her talent.

The day to day activities here, however, are much more difficult because there is no water at the orphanage. Each day in this school begins with pupils waking up early to go to the stream and fetch water. All of the effort to walk to the stream, fill containers, and carry them back to school is for dirty water that exposes these children to waterborne illnesses. The water fetched early in the morning does not meet the needs of the boarding students, so they have to make multiple trips for bathing, cleaning, and drinking.

What we can do:


Training on good hygiene habits will be held for 2 days. The facilitator will use participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation (PHAST), asset-based community development (ABCD), establish a child-to-child health club (CTC), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The health club will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits.

Handwashing Stations

The 2 handwashing stations will be delivered to the school, and the student health club members will fill them with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

"The hygiene and sanitation standard at the school is not very good. The number of facilities is less compared to the student population. We are requesting [you] to kindly assist us so that we can uplift the sanitation situation in our school," said Head Teacher Khanyasti. There are currently only 3 latrines per gender.

2 triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. 3 doors will serve the girls while the other 3 will 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

September, 2019: Irovo Orphanage Academy Project Complete!

Irovo Orphanage Academy 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!

Staff, students, and friends of the school helped our artisan, Mr. Evans, and 3 laborers gather everything needed for construction. All the while, the school cooked meals for the artisans, and the school Director Mr. Alfred himself provided accommodations for the artisans during their work to ensure they could maintain their energy and were getting a good rest each night. Local supporters of the school helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

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.

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.

Latrine construction begins

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. The rains started in the evening, however, so work had to wait until the next morning to continue. On the next day, plastering of the floor was done, but the amount of sand left was not enough so the director rushed to the river to harvest the cleanest sand he could find! He was successful, and from then on all went according to plan.

Tying down plastic with wire to create the foundation for the rain tank's walls

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.

Rain tank in progress; catchment area dug out in front

Once finished, the tank was given 3 to 4 weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Irovo Orphanage Academy, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

Working on the dome, catchment area, and drainage

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. The school was very grateful to our team as well as the donors for the noble job done to ensure the orphans are now able to enjoy clean and safe drinking water at school. (To see the celebration, check out the video under the Photos tab of this project page!)

Completed rain tank

"The facilities will indeed improve our lives since water has been a challenge to us for a very long time," said 15-year-old pupil Kenneth Mwanje.

"The school's hygiene will improve since water will be efficient to do all the cleaning needed on a daily basis. We will spend more time in [the] classroom instead of looking for water which will improve our performance."

At the rain tank's tap

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. With a higher need for latrines for their female students, the school decided to dedicate these 6 new latrines for the boys so that the girls could take over the 8 that were already on campus.

Girls and teacher in front of new latrines

All of the 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.

Boys in front of new latrines

Handwashing Stations

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

Lining up at the handwashing station

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 Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school Director Mr. Alfred and the Head Teacher Mr. Arnold, who together ensured that the training date would be convenient for students and staff. Individual teachers helped by selecting students from each class to represent the others.

Students volunteer at training

Even though primary schools were on break at the time of our training, with the help of the school's teachers we had 19 students attend training, which was a good turnout. We met in one of the classrooms for the theory part of training, and the rest of the day was held outside at the different WsSH facilities. The training was a success with full-on participation.  The pupils were all very active and excited during the training, and most of them answered the questions correctly. They followed instructions given to them while showing the utmost respect to the facilitators.

Handwashing practice

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.

Toothbrushing practice

The participants were excited to learn about the income-generating ideas during our discussion on self-empowerment. They were encouraged to use the money raised from their project ideas to cater to all the minor repairs that might be needed for their WaSH facilities in the future. The school was very pleased with the project and promised to apply all the lessons taught by the facilitator.

Students at the rain tank

"Water is a very essential product for human beings and now that we have enough water in the school we will remain forever grateful," said Deputy Director of the school, Mrs. Sure Kavurani. "The training will help us have an easy time to practice good hygiene habits as well as maintain the facilities provided."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

September, 2019: Irovo Orphanage Academy Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Irovo Orphanage Acamdey 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 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 more good news!

Project Videos

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!