Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 812 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 03/08/2024

Project Features

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We first became connected with Ebukhuliti Primary School thanks to the Head Teacher there, Mrs. Ruth Wulievei. Ruth said she was attracted to and liked the "amazing work" we had implemented in 2 neighboring schools, Esibuye Primary School and Ebusiratsi Special Primary School. "The good work of the organization impressed me. Therefore, we are also humbly requesting for the same WaSH facilities in our school," she said.

Ebukhuliti Primary School was started in 1950 but was closed in 1960 due to a low student population. It went through several openings and closures for the next 8 years. The candle for this institution got rekindled in the year 1968 and it has been growing ever since with hope, resilience, and love to support the school motto: "Hard work pays." The school has experienced exponential growth in population since 1968. Currently, the school population stands at 812 students, 20 teachers, and 3 support staff members. There are 17 classrooms, 1 kitchen, a large playing field, and an office sandwiched between classrooms on campus.

Ebukhuliti Primary School is located in a rural area that is generally peaceful. There are various types of vegetation planted within and without the school perimeter comprised of both indigenous and exotic species such as mango, neem, and eucalyptus trees. Most of the structures in the school are permanent, though some are very old, while the surrounding community has a mixture of permanent and semi-permanent buildings.

Most of the people in the surrounding community practice small-scale farming and run small enterprises for their livelihoods. Most family incomes here are low. Children from these families have to carry water to school every day. This they do as a ritual because the current and the only source of water that the school depends on is a protected spring that is 1.5 kilometers away from the school. This means that, more often than not, it is not breaking news when pupils are asked to break from class lessons to go and bring water from the spring.

The situation gets worse during dry seasons when the spring discharge reduces greatly. Thus, long queues are observed as the pupils have to scramble for water with the community members who depend on the same spring. The residents get upset by the students trying to fetch water, telling them that "the school should have its [own] water point".

To get to the spring, pupils must pass through several homes. This also demoralizes the students because they are exposed to the rest of their friends from other nearby schools, who describe the Ebukhuliti Primary students as "mobile spectacles" whenever they see them rushing to the spring for water. The learners carry all of this shame due to the lack of a better alternative to their water plight.

The school does not have any water storage containers. Thus, either water brought from the spring is used immediately or it is stored in the same jerricans it was fetched in. If it is set for drinking, the water is set aside for use without any treatment provided for it.

Due to the long distance students travel for water every day, many become exhausted during class lessons and a few fall asleep after this tiring walk. Even though a child does not fear to tread on the dangerous ground until they get hurt, it is obvious that the Ebukhuliti school community is hurting emotionally every time these learners have to stop class lessons in search of water from outside the school perimeter. This equals wasted class time and lower scores for students who miss important lessons. The time wasted also has great economic ramifications to the school because the school employees must be paid for work that sometimes is not done to standard since they must accompany the children to the spring every day.

A typical day at Ebukhuliti Primary School runs from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm. First, students report for their morning preps. Older students report first, then the younger ones join them at 7:20 am until 8:00 am when they enjoy their first 15-minute break. Normal lessons run from 8:15 am to 3:10 pm with breaks after every two 40-minute class lessons. Lunch break runs for 50 minutes ending by 2:00 pm. Cleaning of the school goes from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, when students are required to either use water they carried from home or run to the spring to fetch water one last time for cleaning purposes.

"When we teach pupils about hygiene, we are limited because some of the things we say lack room for practicality," said Head Teacher Mrs. Ruth Wulievei.

"C.S Lewis puts it plainly, 'We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.' But with lack of clean water, how can we even enforce the principles on handwashing, water safety, and personal hygiene when water - which is the most prerequisite commodity - is 1.5 kilometers away from us?"

"Most of the times we are disturbed about the safety of our students when we send them out for water. The young ones also do cry for water to quench their thirst. This happens even when there is nothing available to calm them with. No drop, and no hope."

The few latrines that currently exist at Ebukhulii Primary are being cleaned on a daily basis, but hardly since little water is available to do so. Another observation made was that most of the latrines do not guarantee privacy to the users; only the latrine doors for boys could be locked from the inside.

"It is disheartening that our school is still staring at the sanitation [facility] shortages that have exposed our learners to constant queuing during break times. Besides the shortages above, the school also lacks handwashing facilities to be used in practicing hygiene messages learned in class. The situation puts the school is a poor hygiene and sanitation state, " said Sanitation Teacher Lilian.

What we can do:

Rain Tank

Because of the high population at this school, we plan to construct a 75,000-liter rain tank to help alleviate the water crisis here. The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, bricks, rocks, and water for mixing cement. We will complement their materials by providing an expert artisan, tools, hardware, and the guttering system. Once finished, this tank will begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

We and the school strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will help lead to better student academic performance and will help unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

There is currently nowhere for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, let alone the water to do so.

The student health club will oversee the 2 new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

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. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and to clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.


We will hold training on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits for 2 days at this school. Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train students and staff, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation (PHAST) and asset-based community development (ABCD). We will initiate a child-to-child (CTC) health club, which will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits at school and at home.  We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school.

Project Updates

February, 2020: Ebukhuliti Primary School Project Complete!

Ebukhuliti 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 75,000 liters of water. We installed new latrines and handwashing stations for students, 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.

A moment of laughter as girls pose with the new rain tank

Rain Tank

Construction for this 75,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. 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.

Students carry water 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.

Then, we cleared the site by 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.

Artisan adjusts the tap and drainage pipe in the rain tank's 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.

Artisans work on cementing interior of 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.

Attaching the wire and sugar sack dome structure to tank walls

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

The entire school community was very cooperative throughout the project's implementation. During the construction period, the management of the school was always ready to support the lead Field Officer and the artisan whenever and however they needed help. The unskilled laborers also worked well with the artisans and once in a while, they would have a small light session of laughter to cool them down after a long day's work. In turn, the project went on smoothly without any hitches.

A boy enjoying water from the rain tank

The administration was very grateful to have been awarded such a project and promised to take good care of all of the new facilities.

"This is by far the biggest and best support we have received this whole year. It might not look like it now, but this tank will help a lot of us and save on very many things to us. We are so grateful for this project and may the good Lord give you the strength and all the help you need to support more schools and communities," said teacher Margaret Roy.

Students and staff pose with the new rain tank

VIP Latrines

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

Girls stand 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 give thumbs up for 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.

Girls using a handwashing station

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and Head Teacher Ms. Ruth Mulievi, who together helped ensure 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.

20 students and 2 sanitation teachers attended the training. The day was rather hot as the sun was up early and there was very little cloud cover. We held training inside one of the school's halls, which was well located far from the other classrooms and had very little interference. It was a nice environment for learning.

Training participants listening attentively

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.

A teacher practices handwashing using the 10 steps taught in training

During the session on participation and involvement, we explained to the pupils that their voice is and should be a vital part of decision making and that it is good for them to participate in various activities. This topic lightened up the training when one of the pupils proposed that they are asked to make decisions on the kitchen department. He asked to be allowed to eat more than 2 plates of food which immediately put everyone into laughter!

Students learn the parts of the rain tank during training

"I think you have done a job that not many people can do. First, you bring us a tank, a really big tank for that matter, and then you bring us knowledge. You are really God-sent. Thank you for everything. This training will really serve us well. We have learned a lot and I think from what you have said, we will be able to touch deeper on the few topics to help everyone around us," said Sanitation Teacher Caroline Onyango.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Ebukhuliti Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ebukhuliti 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 Sponsor - The Virnig Family
1 individual donor(s)