Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 293 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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"When I was posted to this school in January this year, I was saddened by the lack of sufficient water, the poor state of sanitation facilities, and poor hygiene practices," said Kerongo Secondary School Principal Mrs. Medrine Ludenyi.

"I wished I could solve these issues immediately but my hands were tied due to lack of funds. Now that we have found help from [you] we thank God for answering our prayers and thanks to the organization for considering us."

"Enrollment has been slow since we lack [a] conducive environment for learning. The rates of absenteeism and school dropouts are also high because of water-related diseases and lack of proper sanitation. With this project implementation, I believe the school population will grow and there will be improved hygiene practices since we will have sufficient water for cleaning, cooking, and drinking."

Many students at Kerongo Secondary School walk for more than a mile to get to school, which means that for security reasons, the school had to adjust its arrival time from 6:30 am to 7:00 am. This was because some students would be attacked on their way to school when they started their journey in darkness.

Why such an early start?

Cleaning the classrooms and the compound at Kerongo Secondary starts as soon as students arrive, which is the only chore required before arguably the most important one of the day -  when students go to the spring for the first time that day to fetch water.

The spring is quite a distance from the school - about 1.5 kilometers - yet students must make several trips across the hilly and rocky area to fetch water every day. By the time they settle into class to start learning, they are already tired which affects their studies negatively. To get to the spring, students have to cross through the bush and across a busy road where motorcycles pass frequently, putting them at risk of being hurt in a collision.

The spring is accessible but overcrowded, especially in the mornings when community members go in large numbers to the spring to get water for family use. This results in students spending more time at the spring as they wait their turn, sometimes even missing their lessons just to get their first jerrycan of water. The containers they use to fetch water are visibly dirty, and they do not treat their water. Back at school, water is stored in the containers it is fetched in. There are no larger rain tanks or storage basins on site.

Students often get sick with water- and hygiene-related illnesses, forcing them to miss valuable class time and requiring their parents to spend what little money they have on hospital bills instead of on other important family needs.

Once they are done at the spring in the morning, students must hurry back to school as classes start at 8:00 am and go to 12:45 pm with 2 breaks in between to allow students to use the latrines and take mid-morning tea. During lunchtime, they take their meal very fast so that they can go back to the spring to fetch more water. The afternoon lessons resume from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Pupils then play in the field for 30 minutes before going back to class for evening preps until 5:40 pm when they leave for home.

Kerongo Secondary School is a public mixed-gender secondary school that was established in 1985 by Mr. Burton Bulima, who was also the school's first principal. It has gradually grown from 22 pupils to the present-day population of 267 students, 20 teachers, and 6 staff, yet it continues to face a severe clean water shortage.

There are separate latrines at Kergono Secondary for the girls, boys, and adults, but though they seem to be in good condition from the outside due to their paint, a closer look inside tells a different story.

"The available latrines were built a long time ago and they are almost full. We try to wash them on a daily basis but we use little water because the water we fetch from the spring has to be used sparingly. We don't wash our hands after using the latrines which results in students suffering from diarrhea and typhoid," said 15-year-old student Edwin Oranja.

Kerongo village where the school is located is a peaceful, rural area surrounded by beautiful scenery comprised of granite rocks, stones, and trees. It is next to the tourist attractions Mungoma Caves and Maragoli Hills. People in this area grow maize, vegetables, groundnuts, bananas, and sweet potatoes on a small scale. They also rear cattle, goats, sheep, and chickens. Most buildings are mudwalled and iron sheet-roofed and they are close to each other since each family owns small pieces of land.

What we can do:

Rain Tank

A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. 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 are currently some handwashing stations for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, but they do not all have soap or ash. This, combined with the little water afforded to the handwashing stations, means students' hands are not getting cleaned at critical points in their day.

The student health club will oversee the addition of 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: Kerongo Secondary School Project Complete!

Kerongo Secondary 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.

Girls enjoy water from the newly completed 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 bring water for construction

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.

Mixing cement in front of rain tank lined with sugar sacks for structural support

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 plaster inside 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.

MIxing cement for dome work

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

Splash! Boys having fun at the rain tank

Kerongo Secondary School's administration and the Board of Management were very happy with the completion of the WaSH project in their school. Enrollment is expected to go up because the major problems associated with lacking water in school and poor sanitation have been solved, teachers said. Hygiene practices will also improve since they will now have sufficient water in school to wash their latrines, the classrooms, and hands during critical times. Pupils will now have a more conducive environment for learning which will positively impact their class performance.

Student takes a fresh drink from the rain tank

"This is the most precious gift we have received this year. The morale of our students has been raised because of the construction of the tank, latrines, and handwashing facilities. I believe this will reflect in their academic performance which is expected to improve since they don't have to make several trips to the spring to fetch water for use in school. I am very excited. Only God can repay you for the great work you are doing in schools and communities. Thank you and God bless you," said Principal Mrs. Medrine Ludenyi.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. The school decided to allot 2 for girls and 4 for boys due to the higher number of latrines for girls already present on campus.

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 pose in front of 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.

Students pose while a classmate washes her hands

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 school bursar, Mr. Kellum Sande, 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.

21 students and 1 teacher attended the training. The training took place under the shade of trees in the school compound. It was a quiet environment for learning away from any distractions. At the time when we started it was sunny, but as time went by clouds started to form in the sky followed by heavy rainfall. The training had to be paused but immediately once it stopped raining the training went on well. The participants were actively involved in training by noting down what was taught and participating in group work and demonstrations. They also answered questions promptly and without hesitation.

Students presenting a topic 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.

Boys presenting a topic during training

During the leadership and governance session, the participants were happy to have the chance to elect their leaders for their student health club. The pupils were excited as they understood each person well and they were able to elect officials who were well suited for each particular role and set of responsibilities. This was special because both the facilitators and the participants had confidence in the elected officials which was an assurance that the WaSH facilities would be taken care of sustainably.

Students demonstrate proper toothbrushing technique

While covering personal and environmental hygiene, some of the pupils indicated that they could not afford cleaning agents, especially at home since they came from poor families. They were urged to use locally available materials like ash, charcoal, and salt in place of soap and toothpaste. One of the students said that he could not use ash as a disinfectant in the latrines because in their family they believed that it would cause itchiness and others laughed, but by the time the topic came to an end, he was convinced that that was a misleading belief and promised to educate the rest of his family members on the same.

Trainer Christine leads students in the 10 steps of handwashing

After the training was over, students could be seen practicing the correct way to wash their hands and brush their teeth. They were also keen on the maintenance of the WaSH facilities guidelines.

"Today we have acquired important knowledge on water treatment and handling, improved hygiene practices, and proper sanitation which will positively impact our well being in order to lead a healthy life. We will share this resourceful information with our peers in school, at home, and in other neighboring schools. Thank you so much," said student Robinson.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Kerongo Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kerongo Secondary 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 Underwriter - The Langferman Family
8 individual donor(s)