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: 09/07/2023

Project Features

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Mulwanda Primary School is found in a very remote area that has spacious land for future expansion. They could add more classrooms, sanitation facilities, and water projects. The area is peaceful with just a little noise from motorbikes that are used as the main mode of transport. The terrain is fairly flat with flowers, trees, and a variety of crops on farms.

Mulwanda Primary School was started in 2012. It was meant to be a health clinic but due to the lack of water, the government turned it into a school. The school started with 30 pupils but has grown to have a current enrollment of 500 pupils.

The regular day starts with children assembling for announcements at 7:45 am in the morning. They all go to their classes where they wait for their respective teachers. At break time, children get out to relax or rush to the latrines. It's always a race to the latrines because there aren't nearly enough. There are afternoon classes after which students clean their classrooms.

But the normal day to day activities at school are much more difficult due to a severe clean water shortage. There is no water source on school grounds, so students are requested to carry a container of water to school each morning. This water will be used for drinking, and the leftovers are used for cleaning.

Pupils get water from various sources available at their villages, ranging from running streams, hand-dug wells, protected springs, and puddles of water left after the rains.

Due to lack of safe water, cases of water-related symptoms like diarrhea, stomach upsets and frequent vomiting are reported by students who stay at home sick.

What we can do:

The pupils are at risk because there aren't enough important facilities at school. There is an urgency to construct more latrines, a water tank, and to provide handwashing facilities.


"This school suffers a lot due to lack of enough knowledge about sanitation and hygiene," said parent-teacher association chairman George Atingo.

"If only they could get that information, they could be in a better place. Ignorance is the root cause of many problems faced in this village and school, and the community just needs sensitization on how they should live a healthy life and all will be well."

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

Students currently have nowhere to wash their hands.

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

Latrines are almost full and constructed right by the classrooms. They are in bad conditions and the cement floors are cracking.

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

February, 2020: Mulwanda Mixed Primary School Project Complete!

Mulwanda Mixed 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.

Student gives thumbs up for clean water in front of 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.

Students help 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.

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 works on the interior support pillar of the rain 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.

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. The greatest challenge experience was the quality of the sand for the tank. The only challenge the artisan experienced in the entire construction process was having to wait for the school to provide higher quality sand than what had originally been provided on-site, but this hurdle was quickly overcome.

Student enjoys a fresh drink from the rain tank

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

"However much the school has a very tiny compound, they were able to stand together with the organization and ensure that the project was a success and that the students were able to save time and money with the presence of clean water in their school. It was humbling to see the level of togetherness and harmony between the school administration, the artisans, and the parents," said Field Officer Betty Majani reflecting on this project's success.

"May Almighty God richly bless...all the donors who sacrificed a lot of resources to ensure that the pupils of Mulwanda Mixed Primary School access safe, clean drinking water within their compound, sound sanitation, as well as proper hygiene practices like handwashing with soap," Betty said.

Students pose with the rain tank

The students and staff were very excited to begin using their tank once the water started flowing.

"I want to appreciate your team for this project. We will now have enough time to study and improve our grades," said student Wanyonyi.

VIP Latrines

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

Girls pose 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 say "Thank you!" 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.

A student 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 the head teacher, Mr. Peter Atira, 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.

When we arrived at the school, the teachers and pupils were about to finish partaking in their tea break and everyone was happy to see us as they were eagerly waiting for us for the training. It was a hot and sunny day that everyone in the school was excited about. The administration organized for us to meet in one of the classrooms, which had been thoroughly cleaned in advance and was well ventilated. There were seats well arranged and enough sunlight inside, thus making the environment so conducive for learning. 23 students and teachers attended the event.

We had a full house for 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.

The training was so vibrant since the participants who comprised of both teachers and pupils were so active by asking questions and answering questions posed by facilitators. This made the entire training so interesting.

A student reports her group's answers after a break-out session

The dental hygiene session was of particular interest to the group. First, Facilitator Betty Majani asked participants to show how they normally brush their teeth followed by her own demonstration of the proper method. Betty then asked everyone to imitate the steps she showed, and we saw that all of the participants were able to do the same.

It was exciting to see the participants try out the new method of brushing teeth and instantly pick it up while being shocked to find out that they had been doing it the wrong way before.

Handwashing demonstration

In the handwashing practical when everyone got the chance to try the 10 steps of handwashing the facilitators demonstrated, both teachers and pupils were so glad to learn a new version of the hygiene practice. The practical session was fun as everyone had a comment or an opinion to throw in which made it even more interesting.

A student tries out the handwashing station

Within each session wherever applicable, we also covered local alternatives for cleaning agents so that the cost of market-bought materials could not be a barrier for maintaining good hygiene. For example, in place of toothpaste one can use ash or salt, and ash is also a good substitute when no soap is available for handwashing.

"I want to take this opportunity to show my gratitude for enlightening us on how we can use locally available materials like ash to clean our latrines," said teacher Lidia Chitwa.

"The training will have a profound impact on [participants'] lives both at school and at home," said Betty Majani, the lead Field Officer and Trainer for this project.

"They now know high standards of hygiene in different aspects of life and promised to embrace them like the 10 steps of handwashing."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Mulwanda Mixed Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mulwanda Mixed 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!


Duane and Katrina Weaver