Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Mukama Primary School was founded in 1995 by a local church that saw the need. Pupils used to walk 2 kilometers to get to the nearest school. They currently have 666 students enrolled.

The school is in the far end of Kakamega County, sharing the boundary with Bungoma County. The setting is rural with no shops nor schools around it. The area is very green as people farm as part of their daily income. This makes for a peaceful, conducive environment for academic learning.

A normal day for the pupils at this school begins early in the morning from their various homes. One pupil who was interviewed said she wakes up, washes her face, hands, and legs, brushes teeth, takes a cup of porridge and leaves for school. It takes her 45 minutes walking to school with her water container, books, and firewood. Upon arrival at school, she puts her books in the classroom and goes back out to clean the toilet - for it's her class' week for toilet duty. Morning classes go until lunch when many pupils go home and come back while others eat it at school. The afternoon classes continue until game time - the "time we practice for the extracurricular activities like music, which is my favorite, while others clean the classes thus marking the end of the day."

That young student has to carry a container of water each morning because there is unreliable, inadequate water on school grounds.

The school was hopeful when they got connected to a piped water system, but the water has been strictly rationed since the beginning. Water only flows from the tap once each week for a three-hour window. The school has four plastic filters that they quickly fill with the tap water, but that's all they have for storage. These only last for a day, and then the students are without water until the next week when pipes are back on.

When a nearby community member saw the dire situation, he offered that students can use water from the hole he dug in his back yard. There is a bucket tied to a rope, and students lower this down and raise it back up with water. This water is certainly not clean, and students are in danger of falling in each time they draw water from the hole.

Water scarcity makes the normal functioning of the school very difficult. The lunch program often falls through, and pupils cannot concentrate in class when they're thirsty.

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

Two handwashing stations will be delivered to the school, and the CTC 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 toilets are in very pathetic condition, for some are made of iron-corrugated sheets. The floors are cemented but they have worn out. Most of the toilets do not have doors and this is unpleasant for the girls who highly value their privacy. There are only three latrines for the boys and five for the girls.

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.

The tank could also be connected to the piped water system so that when it's working, the school is able to store as much water as possible to make it through the service gaps.

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

February, 2020: Mukama Primary School Project Complete!

Mukama 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 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.

Students celebrate the 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, 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.

Pouring concrete over the rain tank stone foundation

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.

Cement and plasterwork inside the tank

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.

Girls pose with the tank as dome construction is underway

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

Splash! A student has fun at the new rain tank

The project was largely successful due to the cooperation and coordination from the school administration and the artisans who worked in peace and unity. The pupils were also of full help in that they collected the locally available materials that they could carry to school such as sand. All the efforts put together helped to finish the work on time. Upon completion, everyone was happy and the pupils and teachers appreciated the support accorded to them through their new water point and sanitation project.

Girls pose with the rain tank

"The new water point that has been constructed in our school has really helped us to curb the challenges we initially had of looking for water," said teacher Catherine Nasimiyu.

"Time wasted in search of water will be used in class to improve on the studies and academic performance of the pupils. As a teacher, I will have enough time for teaching my class thus meet [and] increase my score mark. Therefore I am personally very grateful for the support."

VIP Latrines

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

Girls ump for joy 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 pose with 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.

Pupil uses 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 Wilbour Mango, 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.

21 students attended training, which was held under a tree in the school compound. The weather for the day was hot and sunny, so the tree's shade and the outside breeze made the environment conducive for learning. The pupils were lively and interactive all day with high levels of participation.

A student rises to share her answer to a question 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.

Students learn the 10 steps of handwashing

Handwashing was a particularly exciting topic to participants, many of whom said they had never before heard of washing their hands following a procedure with 10 steps. We were sure to practice until everyone in the group could show they had mastered the steps. Another topic of interest for this group was our discussion on the maintenance of the rain tank, and specifically the cleaning of it. One pupil wondered how they could clean the tank without a door, which is when we entered into a lively practical session showing the manhole covers and explaining who needs to go into the tank (adults) and when (termly) to do the cleaning.

Students learn about the rain tank's many parts

"God is so great, we have new knowledge and ideas that will shape our pupils' lives from now onwards. We thank the great team for imparting knowledge that will change us. We shall teach others and be role models to them, especially [concerning] the practicals we received [including] the dental hygiene and procedural handwashing exercises. This has been a good time of learning," reflected teacher Protus Kalomba after completing the training.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Mukama Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mukama 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 - Legacy Plumbing, Inc.