Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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It's a full day for the 496 students who attend Kitumba Primary School. Pupils wake up at 5:30am to go to the river to fetch water that will be used by their families throughout the day. They do other house chores like washing utensils before brushing their teeth using a chewing stick and salt, then they wash their faces and feet, put on school uniforms, take breakfast if it's available and proceed to school by 6:30am.

At school, cleaning is done by collecting litter around the compound and bringing it to the garbage pit in time for morning assembly at 7:30am. There are morning classes with a break at 10:30am. This isn't much of a break though since the pupils are asked to rush to the spring to fetch water that will be used to prepare lunch for them. They go back to class at 11 am and learn up to 12:30 pm when they go for lunch.

They have afternoon classes until later in the afternoon when the students are once again sent to get water from the spring out in the community. When students get home, they help their parents prepare supper which will be ready at 8pm, and the pupils retire to bed at 9pm after a long day.

Students frequently leave class to get water because there's none on school grounds. The spring they frequent is located in the community and it takes 20 minutes to get there. They often have to wait their turn to fetch water because community members are there first. The yield at this spring is low. During the driest part of the year, it can take up to five minutes to fill a large container.

Since the current water source is situated far from the school, students waste a lot of time that could otherwise be used to study. The lack of water on school grounds also leads to pupils not cleaning their classrooms and latrines regularly, which results in them contracting diseases associated with dust and dirt.

"We don't have sufficient water for use in school," said Senior Teacher Amuyunzu.

"As a result, pupils have to waste a lot of time going to fetch water from the spring. The water is also not safe for drinking. As a result, the pupils and teachers contract diseases like cholera and typhoid. With the proposed construction of the tank you plan to do for us, these problems will be solved and I am sure that our children will access safe and clean drinking water which will be treated easily when in the tank."

What we can do:

The school compound does what they can to stay clean. They have a compost pit though it is not fenced. They also have a dish rack. They have improvised handwashing stations for both genders - even separate ones for teachers. The latrines need to be cleaned every day since they are very dirty, and they should also pour ash in the pit to keep away the bad smell. The water they use to clean is not clean itself, and it is not enough since they have to use the little water they have sparingly.


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

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

"The latrines are in a bad state and we have to queue for long to answer the call of nature and some children especially the ones below six years sometimes can't hold it anymore as they urinate on themselves as they wait for their turn," said 11-year-old Elisha.

There are more than 40 students per latrine door, and some of these latrine doors are off their hinges!

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: Kitumba Primary School Project Complete!

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Kitumba Primary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support. Handwashing stations were installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

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

Smiles for running water!

At first, the Kitumba Primary Head Teacher and the Board of Management Chair had challenges raising enough locally available materials for the project. Because many school parents could only contribute very little, they resorted to forming an online group of parents, well-wishers, and former pupils of the school. Through the group, they were able to mobilize many more locally available materials which had a significant impact on the success of the WaSH projects in the school. Some group members contributed money, but others offered to give poles, sacks, sand, and unskilled labor.

With contributions pledged, 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, women, and even students helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Delivering bricks

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 rainwater catchment 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.

Excavation begins

Pouring cement foundation

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 six 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.

Students help deliver water for cement inside the tank

Building the tank from the inside out

Given that it was a rainy season, at some points construction had to be paused because of heavy rainfall - but we eagerly persisted each day!

Latrine construction

Adding in the hatch

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.

Dome construction

Once finished, the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Kitumba Primary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program.

Finished tank

The celebration of the projects' completion 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.

Olson Osoze

12-year-old Olson Osoze was very excited to share his thoughts on the projects with us.

"We used to waste a lot of time going to fetch water from the spring, but since we [now] have a rain catchment tank in the school compound, we will have more time to study which in turn will improve our grades," Olson said.

Students and staff

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. All of these new 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.

Completed girls' latrines

Boys' latrines

Handwashing Stations

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

Handwashing fun

CTC club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, and make sure there is always soap or ash available. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them.
New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal, 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.

A total of 21 students and staff attended the training, which mostly happened inside the school while it lightly drizzled outside. It went well despite the chilly weather.

Training begins

The participants were actively involved in the training and they were also a bit informed about matters to do with proper sanitation and improved hygiene which made it easy for the facilitators to go through their sessions. The participants were keen to grasp everything that was taught. During demonstrations, everybody wanted to take part and at the end of the training, they could be seen practicing the ten steps of handwashing.

Handwashing training

A number of topics were covered, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new CTC 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.

Dental hygiene training

During the leadership and governance session, we asked the students to discuss the qualities that made a good leader so they could choose their leaders of the CTC health club accordingly. This was special because we could see the eagerness the chosen leaders portrayed and this was an assurance that the formed CTC club will surely succeed under their leadership. They promised to take good care of the WaSH facilities.

In our personal hygiene training, the pupils were happy to learn that ash can be used in place of soap just in case soap is not available. This was special because most of them could not afford soap all the time, and they said they didn't know that ash was an alternative.

Lina Videnya

14-year-old Lina Videnya was very pleased with her training experience.

"This training has been very informative in matters to do with hygiene and sanitation," Lina said.

"We are going to practice what we have learned today in order to lead a healthy life and prevent the spreading of diseases. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and educate us."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2019: Kitumba Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kitumba Primary 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 again 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!


Riverside Womans Club
Gift in Honor of C. Cooper
12 individual donor(s)