Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

The topography of Kapchorwa Community is unique. It is a hilly and rocky place. Children from this area never used to go to school due to the distance and topography of the area, which required walking through bushes, stones, and hills to get there from the village. Kapchorwa is a poor community, where people live from hand to mouth. Most community members stay in semi-permanent houses and maize planting is very common in this area, although they have small pieces of land due to the prevalence of stones.

Kapchorwa Primary School was started due to the long distance to get to the neighboring Kapsogoro and Musasa Primary Schools. It has grown from one to nine classes of students, today serving 501 students and 12 teachers and staff. Some of the school buildings are temporary, so cow dung is used to smear the floor; if this is not done regularly, the pupils might contract jiggers which are dangerous to their health. While there are some latrines at the school, there are not enough for the entire school population. There is rarely enough water to properly clean the latrines, and never enough for handwashing. Additionally, some of the latrines were built in front of the classrooms.

"They produce an odor which also affects learning," said Headteacher Amatsimbi Ababu.

The nearest water source for Kapchorwa Primary students is a poorly protected seasonal spring .75k away. There, the students compete with community members, including their own families and other nearby schools, for the same unreliable and unsafe water source. This means that the school children who depend on this source sometimes fail to get water to use in school for cleaning the classes, drinking, and cooking. The cycle of water scarcity follows the students home and the continues the next day at school.

"The lack of water in this school is really a big issue," said Mr. Ababu.

"Children have to fetch water from a nearby spring that is seasonal, and during the dry season it's normally congested, hence pupils really waste time when they go to draw water."

At such a young age the children cannot be safe when they are outside the school compound. These are children who are supposed to be in school and in a safe, child-friendly environment, but when they move outside the school in search for water anything can happen to them along the way, so they end up being at risk. Additionally, the pupils take so much time going to fetch water that it negatively impacts them since they waste time, become tired, and end up performing poorly. The rate of water flow from the spring also varies with the seasons, meaning it is an unreliable source since during dry seasons there is no water at all.

The new rainwater tank will strictly be open to the school - only the pupils, teachers, and staff will be able to access it. For now, the rest of the community will keep using the outside spring that they have been sharing with the school. This is because if the water tank is implemented in the school and again shared by the community, they will still have the same problem of water shortages since the school population is already high and is expected to grow annually. It is also good to have the boundary between the community and the school so that in case any damages occur to the rainwater tank, it would be easier to pinpoint who is responsible from within the school community.

Securing a new source for clean, safe drinking water will change the lives of Kapchorwa children, who because of poverty look so different from other children in neighboring schools. Education performance will improve since they won't be wasting time outside the school fetching water. Lastly, this is a growing school so once the project is implemented it will attract more numbers since every parent wishes for their children to be in a good school, especially one with clean and safe water.

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 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: Kapchorwa Primary School Project Complete!

Kapchorwa 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.

Girls pose with the 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. The only challenge was while carrying the construction materials from where they were kept to the construction site. This was because there is no road passage uphill, so most materials had to be kept near the road and later on carried by the unskilled laborers and this took quite some time. 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 carry stones to the construction site

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.

Adding cement to the rain tank's foundation

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.

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.

Working inside the rain tank 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.

Wokring on the rain tank's dome

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

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.

Students and staff in front of the rain tnak

"We are so grateful and humbled to the almighty God for bringing this miracle to us, it's like a dream because we never knew this could happen," said teacher Mrs. Josephine Khasoha.

"This is a needy and small school and God has helped us even be able to collect the locally available materials. The completion of this project has given us a new name, [as] initially, people looked down upon us upon as one school that had nothing, no development has taken place for a long period of time. This [water point] will also save us a lot of time since children could waste so much of class time going to fetch water outside the school compound and could come back tired, [and] in the long run it could affect performance but now we are looking forward to better performance from now henceforth."

Student turns on the rain tank's tap

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 next to 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.


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 the Head Teacher, Mr. Amatsimbi Ababu, 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.

Training inside a classroom

24 students attended training, which was held in one of the best classrooms that was well ventilated and well-lit thanks to several large windows. The level of participation and involvement for the participants was high, seen in the way they were asking and responding to questions. They were also keen to take down notes and ask for the clear spelling of words as we went to be sure they got everything right.

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 practice

Under the topic of hygiene and sanitation, the sub-topic environmental hygiene was so interesting since it was the first to be discussed. What made this so special was that the students answered most of the questions, and in addition, the facilitator who is also an author had a surprise gift for anyone who answered a question correctly. He gave out storybooks and this really motivated those who were not participating because everyone wanted to get a storybook. The sanitation teachers who attended the training also were very happy and surprised and kept calling the participants who feared to raise up their hands, and by the end of it all had finally raised their hand.

Dental hygiene session: brushing teeth

Another memorable topic was on leadership and governance, as this really made every participant active and eager to know what will happen and the criteria to be used for selecting leaders. The chance was given to individuals who felt they had the qualities of leadership to nominate themselves as leaders of the student health club. It was amazing how they did this boldly and eagerly, ready to elect their peers as leaders.

The individuals who nominated themselves all had good leadership qualities, so it was really hard to settle on one person for a particular position. Another thing that made this memorable was that a sister and brother were elected as treasurer and vice treasurer but since they had a right of participation it was hard to change this.

At some point the sanitation teacher wanted to force one participant to be the secretary, it was amazing how the trainees all refused and said that they would wish to do this on their own. Finally, they were all satisfied with their selection.

Learning about maintaining the rain tank

"First of all I thank the almighty God for connecting us to [you] who have implemented the water tank and the VIP latrines," said teacher Mr. Robert Karani. "Our school was looked down upon because it's a needy school and really had nothing. Right now we have a name because of [you]. In addition, the training they have given to us about how to use and maintain the facilities will also be [helpful]."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

September, 2019: Kapchorwa Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kapchorwa 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!


1 individual donor(s)