Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 313 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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St. Charles Lwanga Itulubini Primary School started in the year 2009. It was the joint effort of the community and St. Anthony Catholic Church. Their children were having to walk to Lubambo Primary School which was far from their homes. Lwanga Itulubini started with just two classrooms, two teachers, and 30 pupils. Enrollment has grown over the years and stands at 313 students today, ranging from early education age to grade eight.

Students study math, science, social studies, English, Kiswahili, and religion. A normal day for a student at Itulubini Primary School starts at around 6 am in the morning as they prepare for the walk to school. They arrive at school by 7 am with books in hand and ready to do some cleaning work. They then join the others to go back out into the community to fetch water from the spring. This will be used for drinking throughout the day. The bell rings at 8am but due to the queue at the water point, many pupils aren't back with their water in time. Most of the students return home to each lunch with their families and return for afternoon classes by 2 pm.

Students have to walk to the spring every day because there isn't a reliable water source on school grounds. There is a black plastic tank that holds rainwater, and the rainwater inside often doesn't last until the next rainy day.

The community spring is far from the school. It is heavily relied on by community members who assert themselves as the primary users and force the students to wait at the back of the line. A lot of other activities go on around the spring, too. Women do their family's laundry and hang it on the bushes to dry, while other community members use the spring's water to brew alcohol.

The spring itself is flooded and students often get wet as they fetch water. Others don't want to wait for their turn at the discharge pump and dunk their containers directly in the flooded water.

The pupils waste a lot of class time at the spring collecting water, and this has contributed negatively towards their academic performance. Congestion at the spring has always caused conflict between the pupils and the villagers. Absences are very high because there are always pupils suffering from stomachaches. Others opt to remain at home because they don't want to make the trek to fetch water.

"Lack of clean water in the school has been a big setback to the productivity of the school; sanitation conditions in the school are pathetic as a result of lack of water. Students spend a lot of their time at the spring instead of being in class, the cases of absenteeism as a result of sickness caused by drinking water that is not clean has been on the rise, and their parents spend a lot of money to treat their children which again deteriorates their financial resources," said Headteacher Mugambi.

"This collectively contributes to the low living standards to the school fraternity."

The school is found in a rural, peaceful village. The area is covered with thick vegetation; most of the trees are evergreen while the grass is currently weathered and brown due to the current dry season. Most of the buildings around the area are semi-permanent structures made of mud.

What we can do:

The school is very needy and in pathetic condition. It needs urgent attention to address the situation, for they require water for cooking lunch, drinking, and for washing the toilets and classrooms. They need enough toilets to ease the overuse and the long lines during class breaks, and thus improve hygiene. They also need training on hygiene and sanitation that will highlight environmental and personal hygiene along with proper care of the proposed water and sanitation facilities.


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 girls' toilets are almost full. The boys' toilets are in very poor condition because they have cracks in the walls and floors and thus are not stable. The administration has actually advised the kids not to go to toilets alone; they should have at least two or more just in case the pit collapses.

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

October, 2019: Lwanga Itulubini Primary School Project Complete!

Lwanga Itulubini Primary 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.

Students pose with their new rain tank

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 women and men helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Students check out the rebar to be used for rain tank and latrine construction

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.

Freshly-cemented rain tank walls, with soak pit being dug in foreground

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.

Cementing inside the rain tank

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.

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

Student enjoying water from the rain tank

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.

"We are so thankful to The Water Project for providing us with [a] 50,000-liter rainwater harvesting tank. As [a school], we are so happy and grateful because we will no longer be going to the spring far away from the school because we shall be having clean and safe water in the school," said teacher Mrs. Elma Khagusia.

"Because of this, the kids will have more time for their studies and the school is projecting to record better results in the coming exams. Cases of absenteeism and sicknesses as a result of waterborne diseases will not be experienced in this school again. We also promise to take good care of this tank so that it can serve us now and the future learners who will come [to] this school."

School staff and students pose with the rain tank

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, half for girls and half for boys. 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.

Girls in front of their 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.

Boys with a new handwashing station and their new latrines

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.

Washing hands outside the latrines

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and teacher Mrs. Petronila Musheti, who together 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.

The weather was sunny and warm in the morning session and toward afternoon hours, the weather was cold and wet but we continued with our training since we were in one of the classrooms which was conducive for us. 28 students attended, which was as expected. The participants showed a high level of intelligence for their young age. Most of them were asking questions and even others were willing to demonstrate whenever the facilitator called them upon.

Student participation during training

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.

Handwashing demonstration

During the leadership and governance session, the facilitator explained the qualities of a good leader and the participants were able to highlight some of the great local and international leaders. After the training, the participants were able to elect their own leaders who will be leading the student health club and putting into practice what they learned. This was the most vibrant session of the training.

The second memorable topic was on the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, handwashing stations, and latrines. The facilitator took the participants on an on-site training tour where he showed them the parts of the tank and toilets and taught them how to operate them effectively for future sustainability. This session was exciting because it was done outside the classroom and students were able to see the parts of the facilities while also enjoying the fresh air.

Training complete!

"I take this opportunity to thank all the facilitators for sacrificing their time to come to our school [to] teach us new knowledge that will have a positive impact in our lives," said Sanitation Teacher Mrs. Stellah Buruti.

"We have learned a lot about personal and environmental hygiene that will surely improve the health of our kids and [the] sanitation standard of the school. Personally I did not know the 10 steps of handwashing but now that I know, my life and that of my family will never be the same. As a school, we promise to teach others whatever we have learned today so that this information will spread in the entire vicinity."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

September, 2019: Lwanga Itulubini Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Lwanga Itulubini Primary 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 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 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 - The Ratterman Family
Mary Molloy