Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 323 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/12/2022

Project Features

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Musasa Community is rural, peaceful, and highly vegetated. Most of the buildings in the area are semi-permanent, mud-walled houses, and the majority of inhabitants here practice mixed farming on a small scale. They plant maize, beans, pumpkin, a few tea bushes, bananas, and trees which are sold as firewood. For a long time now, Musasa has been quite neglected and disconnected from basic social amenities like water, roads, and electricity.

Thus, the elites from the area have resorted to resettle elsewhere, where they can enjoy good transportation and communication facilities. This kind of neglect and brain-drain has robbed both the school and the village from the opportunity to rise above the poverty level. To date, water scarcity and poverty are still the biggest problems faced by people here, hurting the school and community in a vicious cycle.

At Musasa Primary School, noise is only heard from children when they are either playing during games or break times or in the evening when they are released to return home. Musasa Primary School was founded long ago, in 1920, and there is an old man born in 1932 who says he actually grew up learning there. He calls the school the pride of the village. Both the village and school grounds are predominantly marked by rocks, which the school children like to sit on to bask in the sun on their breaks.

Some positive changes are beginning to happen here. Recently, Musasa community members joined hands and opened a road that has now made the school accessible by both vehicles and motorbikes. The school's performance, though still dwindling, has stabilized a bit in the last three years.  Additionally, the school population has grown - albeit slowly - through the years until its current standing at a total of 323 pupils and teachers.

The school routine starts at 7am and ends late at 5:30pm from Monday to Friday. Each day starts by attending morning preps and ends by cleaning the classrooms or evening preps for classes that go from 6pm-8pm. Except for Mondays and Fridays when they attend the assemblies to be briefed by the teachers in the morning, the rest of the day involves attending class lessons and breaking for lunch or games.

It is during the breaks that pupils are sent to collect water from Amiga Spring, which is about 1km away from the school. The path leading to the spring is rocky, bushy, and hilly, making it unsafe and very tedious for the children to travel. Back at the school, there is a small rainwater catchment tank to collect the water pupils fetch, but the tank often goes unfilled as students prioritize the water they collect to put towards the school's immediate cooking, cleaning, and personal consumption.

Because Amiga Spring is the only water source for all of Musasa, one is not certain how long the students will take to collect water and come back. This has led to a lot of time wasted on the part of the learners. Competition over the water is also embarrassing to the pupils because they have to struggle with other community members, including their own parents, before getting water.

Teachers have noticed that some pupils still collect water from dirty sources, apart from the spring, so that they don't have to struggle at the spring. These anomalies have contributed to diarrhea, flu, and stomach upsets among the learners and teachers who use such water, causing the school and families to spend a lot of money on medical treatment. All of the containers used to collect water are without cover lids and visibly dirty, exemplifying that water consumed is not clean or safe at all. Furthermore, the school suffers more during the dry season when the spring goes dry. Cleaning and handwashing are constant problems due to lack of water, and the students have to persevere with thirst until they get to the spring.

"Personally, I wouldn't dare to drink water from the spring," Field Officer Mr. Erik Wagaka said.

"The area around the spring is marshy and very unkempt. The discharge pipe is rusted and there is no surety that the water quality is good. The teachers said that at times, pupils complain of sore throats after drinking the water from that spring."

The school does have some latrines, but due to the lack of water they are only washed once a week and there is no water nearby for handwashing.

"This leads to diseases like flu due to uncleaned classrooms and stomachache...Lack of enough water has affected the growth of the school population and has contributed to the fluctuation in performance...We cannot afford to clean the classrooms and latrines as we ought to," said Headteacher Mr. Boniface Yidah Mujivane.

"It also interferes with the school feeding program because food preparation cannot be prepared on time when water is lacking. Sometimes pupils bring dirty water that cannot be used for cooking or drinking purposes. The constant breaking of class lessons in search of water discourages teachers who would want to do their best in teaching."

What we can do:


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

There is currently nowhere for students to wash hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch.

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

11/27/2019: Musasa Primary School Project Complete!

Musasa 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.

Newly completed rain tank with clean water flowing

Teachers shared that they expect school performance to increase since more of pupils' time will be spent in class learning and not going outside the school to fetch water. Diseases like flu and stomachache with diarrhea that had previously tormented this group will be put in check by proper use of the new water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, they said. The community is also expected to live more cohesively and peacefully with the school. This is because school children will no longer need to bother the adults at the community water sources since they now have their own.

Rain Tank

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

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. Students and other school workers helped in bringing water to the school that was used in the entire construction process, and students also helped carry in supplies like bricks and light lumber. The school is located on rocky and steep terrain so accessing it is little bit challenging, and this caused some early delays in the supply of the construction materials. Afterward, however, all ran smoothly.

Students deliver bricks to the construction site

All the while, the school cooks prepared 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.

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.

Tamping down conrete over the rain tank's stone 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 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.

Plastering inside the 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.

Working on the dome's cement

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

The project was handed over to the school Board of Management to launch in partnership with the students' parents. 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.

Student enjoying the rain tank's water

Sanitation teacher Mrs. Carolyne Ingado shared her words of thanks at the ceremony.

"We are now confident that our school will [have] enough and safe water within our convenient reach. This will help in addressing the fluctuation in academic performance that had been witnessed for a long time. The improvement will be also in terms of time management since children will no longer waste time going outside the school to fetch water."

"We shall register great improvement in our hygiene and sanitation because our children will be able to clean their hands, classrooms, [and] latrines as we ought to. It will also bolster the school feeding program because food preparation will be done on time since the cook will get water within the school perimeter."

VIP Latrines

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

Girls in front of their new 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.

Boys 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.

Girls at a 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 principal and Head Teacher Mr. Boniface Yidah, 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.

22 students attended training, which was held in a classroom on a warm and sunny day. We had a very good representation of learners and the teaching staff, including those in charge of health and sanitation in the school. The deputy head teacher was also partly present during the session before leaving to attend to some administrative matters in her office. The participants were very interested in the project and were so willing to learn about it, with both students and teachers asking and answering many questions the whole day.

Student holds training materials while helping to lead a lesson

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.

Handwashing practice

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.

During the project management session, the participants were delighted to learn the various parts of the rain tank and how to take good care of each of them. The student health club members felt good that they were being entrusted to help monitor the functionality of the rain tank, latrines, and the handwashing facilities. The blend of knowledge about this topic was amazingly welcomed by each participant.

School administrator demonstrating the tap to students

While discussing the construction process with participants, the facilitator inquired from the participants what they thought was the main goal of the partnership and the process of community and school involvement in this project. For example, the school and surrounding community were expected to provide some materials and labor while our team complimented their efforts.

One of the participants responded correctly by stating that it was for the sake of a sense of ownership and togetherness that the school had to contribute in the implementation of the project. The other students were nodding and smiling upon hearing this response.

Having fun at the rain tank

When further inquiry was made for the reason for the smiles on their faces, it was found out that the participants were happy because they realized that most of the contributed materials required from them were locally available. This realization made them feel appreciated as people who are key stakeholders in the development of their school infrastructure.

"I am so grateful that I have got to know about [the] tippy-tap and leaky tin. I will try and make my own and wash my hands well. I thought that we needed to buy the handwashing facilities...but now I know it is possible to use the local tins to make either [a] tippy-tap or leaky tin which [fulfills the same] purpose," said 13-year-old pupil Sidney Siayi.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

10/29/2019: Musasa Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Musasa 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

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.


di toma limited
Mitch Brownlie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
7 individual donor(s)