Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 419 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/18/2022

Project Features

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Kipchorwa Primary School began in 2007 because many local children were walking long distances to seek education. The school has grown from holding class outside under the trees to having six cement classrooms and two mud classrooms where 419 students learn. The school provides lunch for some of the students but they don't have a classroom, so the school cook just prepares the food outside under a tree. The grounds are near Kapkerer Market, so sometimes a little bit of the busy noise reaches the school as students are learning. Students study English, Kiswahili, mathematics, science, social studies, and religion.

Students report to school by 7 am and clean, have morning announcements for 15 minutes, and then start normal lessons at 8 am. The oldest students preparing for final exams eat lunch at school while the rest of the students head back home to find food.

There are two small plastic water tanks that collect rainwater. Whenever the water gets finished and it doesn't rain the next day, students are sent out into the community to the stream to fetch water. Afternoon lessons last from 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm. They play games out in the field until dismissal at 4:30 pm.

Students end up going to the stream to get more water on a daily basis. The path to the stream gets slippery during rainy seasons, and children slip and fall on their way. Since the stream is not very close to the school, students waste valuable study time and get tired after fetching water. This open stream is very contaminated and unsafe for drinking.

After drinking this dirty water, students suffer from waterborne diseases and miss school to stay home and recover. "Drinking contaminated water has led us to getting diseases like typhoid which has made us poorer and poorer as the owner of Likindu Dispensary becomes richer and richer because we keep on taking our money there for treatment and medicine," said board member Kivunaga.

Not having enough water has forced the school to sacrifice cleanliness. "Sanitation and hygiene of this school is in jeopardy as learners do not have enough water to wash latrines frequently. They do not even have water to wash hands after using latrines. No wonder hygiene-related diseases have been affecting and infecting us for long," said Teacher Chemwor.

What we can do:

There are not enough latrines at school, and this has prompted the Public Health Office to write a report requesting the headteacher to act fast or else the school will be closed.

"This school is in very bad shape. We request for your assistance in setting up latrines for both boys and girls... a proper harvesting and storage system as well as other support you can give us. We will really appreciate it!" said the headteacher


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 to wash 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

There are three latrines for boys and four for girls. That means there are about 60 students relying on one latrine. The students have to wait in line a long time for a latrine that is grossly overused.

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. Walking to the river and drinking dirty water will no longer be part of the students' daily schedule.

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

02/24/2020: Kipchorwa Primary School Project Complete!

Kipchorwa Primary School in Kenya had recently received a closure notice from the Public Health Officer due to the school's poor sanitary facilities and lack of water, among other challenges. Before the end of the last term, the local Public Health Officer had brought another closure notice stating that if the requirements were not met, Kipchorwa Primary would not be allowed to open for the new term. Luckily, Kipchorwa Head Teacher Mr. Haroun Chebour was linked to our team by his brother who is the principal at Banja Secondary School, where we are also working, thus setting the Kipchorwa Primary project in motion.

Now, Kipchorwa Primary School 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 stand on the manhole cover to the rain tank's tap

We happened to be at Kipchorwa Primary on the day the Public Health Officer, Mr. Kipruto, returned to the school compound with all of the confidence and sadness that he was going to close it up. Little did he know that a surprise awaited him! He was met by a large rain tank and VIP latrines under construction. He was impressed with the efforts of the school and our team.

As we shook hands with him he said, "I was so sure that I was going to close up this school today but I am happy with the kind of work that you have done in this school. You have really saved the young ones a lot; now they don't have to miss school due to closure nor waste time going to fetch water. May you extend your support to many other schools."

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.

On the first day of on-site work, our WaSH staff arrived in the school compound and on this day the place was so quiet as the pupils were on holiday. Within 15 minutes the artisan arrived loaded with a heavy bag of tools and equipment, followed by the Head Teacher and the Board of Management Chair. After exchanging greetings we straight away sat down at the table to discuss the project work plan and requirements.

After agreeing on issues here and there on accommodation and food for the artisans, we went to inspect both the hardware and local materials. After ascertaining the qualities and quantities and agreeing on what needed to be increased in terms of community contribution, we were satisfied.

Measuring the rain tank foundation's excavated site

The next thing was to agree on the siting of the tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater. Once the location was selected, the artisan measured out the tank and marked the circumference. At this point, everyone was satisfied that work had indeed begun and we sat down to take a soda each. Since the following day was national census day, the artisans and laborers took a break to go home to be counted with their family members.

After the census, the rest of the construction work began in earnest. We cleared the site by excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. Despite the school being on holiday, the pupils who live in the same area as the school were excited about the project and kept coming to play in the school compound while watching the work progress.

At this point, the students also started carrying in the stones and within no time the first layer of the foundation was full of stones. The foundation was cast by laying hardcore on level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

Pupils carry stones to school for 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 cementing interior of rain 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.

Each morning before work began, the artisans cured the cement using water. In between each phase of work, there were tea breaks and lunch breaks. These moments were greatly valued by the artisans as the construction process is so draining.

Artisan working on the dome

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

The school has agreed with the community that parents will only access the rain tank water when the tank is full and overflowing and during school holidays. Since the school's sponsor church is located within the school compound, it is automatic that during church events they will access the water as well.

However, both additional groups will use the water sparingly and in a rationed manner so that there is water left for the pupils. The rain tank's lockable manhole cover will greatly aid in the rationing process.

The School Management Committee has planned to launch the project officially next week because to them this is a great milestone. They intend to invite the Public Health Officer Mr. Kipruto, among other guests which will include members of our team, the local administration, the church sponsor, and pupils' parents. This way everyone can be a part of this great achievement. Even before the official celebration, the school community was already so excited about the completion of their project.

Students and staff celebrate their new rain tank

"This looks like a dream come true to me. I've spent many sleepless nights thinking about the closure notice received from the Public Health Officer and the implications of closing the school to the candidates who are to sit for their final examinations in the next 2 months. I really thank your team for your prompt action; now I can no longer hide in my office whenever the Public Health Officer comes around because now he can no longer close my school!" Head Teacher Mr. Haroun Chebour proudly stated while smiling.

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 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. 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.

Who has clean hands? We do!

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and Head Teacher Mr. Haroun Chebour, 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.

A whopping 115 students and staff attended training, which was a much larger turnout than the 30 students we had originally suggested! 

This was a unique training as every pupil wanted to be part of this special day. After teachers selected the initial group, the remaining pupils could not contain themselves due to their curiosity about what the training entailed. Thus it was agreed that they all join the training. After training the full group, the health club members were set aside and oriented on their roles in the project.

Trainer Karen in action in front student participants at training

The day was sunny as we arrived at the school. Because of the large number that attended the training, we resolved to sit under the shade behind the classrooms, where we had several large stones that acted as seats. The pupils carried out proper benches for the teachers and trainers present. The venue was so cool and conducive for the day. The excitement amongst the pupils about the training was a great driving force as this stirred up everyone who participated actively from the young pupils to the older ones.

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.

Pupils Mike and Jeremy demonstrate toothbrushing using a soft chewed twig in place of a toothbrush

Under the topic of personal hygiene, most pupils agreed that taking a bath daily - and if possible, twice - is the first step toward better health. Putting on clean clothes and sleeping in a clean bed was also discussed as paramount. As the teacher emphasized the need for having short nails, those with short nails proudly displayed their fingers for the facilitator and everyone to see. Those with long nails were a bit hesitant.

One particular pupil had very long nails that caused some stares from the rest. Others murmured in low tones and in fear after seeing the long nails that this particular pupil had. The facilitator encouraged the pupil for hygiene purposes to cut the nails short and this pupil agreed to do so. The sanitation teacher promised to follow up with this pupil the next day to ensure that their nails had been cut.

A pupil washing her hands

Food hygiene was not left unmentioned as at the school gate during break times, some mamas bring in mandazi (doughnut bites), boiled maize, samosas, and other snacks to sell to the pupils. Most of the pupils due to being hungry and partly due to the lack of handwashing stations rarely wash their hands before buying and enjoying these sweet snacks.

The topic got really interesting when the facilitator stated that all those who left the toilet and went to eat mandazi directly without washing their hands were eating feces. At that point, all faces turned gloomy with some pretending that they wanted to puke what they had already eaten at break time! This was a great lesson learned on food hygiene.

"I am so glad today to your team for considering my school. In the past, we taught the pupils how to wash their hands but it was not possible without the handwashing facilities and water in the school. I am so happy that now we have handwashing stations and knowledge on how to do it. We also have water in the compound for handwashing. Surely this is the best thing that has happened to this school," reflected Grace Musimbi, a teacher at the school.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

01/06/2020: Kipchorwa Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kipchorwa 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.


Project Sponsor - Da Bomb Bath Fizzers