Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 255 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2021

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 03/11/2024

Project Features

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Please note original photos and interviews predate the pandemic.

"We do not wash our hands or even our cups and plates after using them because there is no water for that. We eat knowing that our hands are dirty and that's why I keep on experiencing diarrhea," said Brian, a student at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School.

This school has 2 drinking water points, and yet not enough safe or reliable water for its 239 students and 16 teachers and staff.

In the morning, students fetch water from the protected hand-dug well on their campus, but the water level is very shallow and it becomes dirty after a few draws. Then, it dries up completely. Then there is the protected spring off-campus, which is shared with the community and takes away a great deal of precious school time when students have to walk to it, wait their turn to fill up, and return to school. The pathway to the spring is bushy and some students have reported encountering snakes on their way there.

Students and staff alike report water-related diseases like typhoid, amoeba, and diarrhea. The distance from the school to the spring and back causes body aches in the students. They must also deal with constipation, a consequence of not having enough water to drink. Some students skip school altogether, too deterred by the task of fetching water every day to feel like the time in class would ever pay off.

There are just 2 plastic drums used to store water for kitchen use, but these same drums are shared for construction work and consequently get contaminated. Students must empty the water they collect into these drums, so if they want any personal drinking water they must either fetch it at the source or bring it from home. If the water is running low during the day, students are sent back out to fetch more during a morning break between classes and during the lunch block.

Pupils are asked to bring all of their own cups and dishes to school for their snack and lunch breaks, and they are responsible for cleaning them but they remain dirty since there is no water to wash them. There are no dishracks at the school either which would allow washed dishes to dry without being contaminated from the ground.

The classrooms and latrines suffer a similar fate, going uncleaned for most of the week due to a lack of water. Students' cases of waterborne diseases are heightened by the lack of any handwashing facilities in the school.

"Hygiene is compromised since the water is not enough to allow daily cleaning. We also don't have enough drinking water. We had connected a pump to the well but it kept on breaking down. In fact, we are planning to shut down this well because it is not serving us well," said Deputy Principal Mr. Kenneth Mulongo.

What We Can Do:

Rain Tank

A 75,000-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 team of artisans, 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 to unlock the potential 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 latrine blocks 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.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

All primary and secondary schools are currently closed in Kenya due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are scheduled to reopen in January 2021. Once classes resume, we will schedule a training session with students, teachers, and parents. This intensive training will cover a wide range of topics including COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils 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 including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

January, 2021: ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School Project Complete!

We have exciting news!

Students and teachers finally arrived back in class at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School following the Kenyan government's order to fully reopen all schools for in-person learning in January. As soon as students returned, their teachers invited our team to conduct our COVID-19 prevention, hygiene, and sanitation training.

While there, we also officially handed over the rain tank and latrines to the school. It was a joyous occasion, even with most smiles hidden behind masks. Students celebrated by drinking and splashing water and washing their hands.

Students celebrate the rain tank

"In the past, we have been taking water that we didn't know where it came from, and because of that, we had stomach diseases. Now that we have clean and safe water for drinking, we shall live a healthy life with no sickness. I will have more time to concentrate on my studies since there is no more wasting of time looking for water," said pupil Brian.

Enjoying a drink from the rain tank

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new rain tank on campus.

"We will be able to access clean and safe water for drinking. Having the water in the school compound caters to the well-being of teachers and students. Having clean and safe drinking water in the school compound will save a lot of time for the students and teachers to cover the syllabus on time," said teacher Mr. Kenneth Mulongo.

Team Leader Emmah hands over the tank to the school's Deputy Principal.


The school and our team agreed that adherence to physical distancing and mask-wearing whenever possible would be necessary to train the students safely. With a strict timetable to minimize exposure and an eager student body ready to learn, we sent facilitators Adelaide Nasimiyu, Elvine Atieno, and Jacky Kangu to lead the training.

14 students and teachers attended training, which we held outside in the shade near the rain tank. We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics.

Students participate in training.

Other topics the facilitators covered included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance.


During the governance session, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club. The club will be greatly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at their school. They will also be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

Boys pose outside their new VIP latrines.

We involved stretches, dances, and physical activities between each topic to keep the pupils’ energy up and their minds active. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

Girls celebrate their new VIP latrines.

"The training has been so valuable to me because it has come on time - the exact time when we need to be taught how to take care of ourselves during this pandemic of COVID-19. I have learned how to wash my hands and put on the mask correctly, and because of this, I am going to live a healthy life," said student Martin, whose peers were elected as Chair of the new student health club.

Boys give thumbs up for clean water.

The elected student treasurer of the club, Irine, also found value in training.

"The training was precious to me because today I have known the importance of observing cleanliness, and with the pandemic at hand, I have learned that I can make my own mask. With this knowledge received today, I am going to share with my friends and also my family so that we can make our own masks and save that money that was used to buy masks," she said.

Irine also shared what it has been like as a student home from school since last March.

"At first, it was exciting because we got to rest from school work. But after ten months of staying at home, I missed school so much and wished to go back. I lost a lot of time, and now I have to repeat the same class I was in last year."

Irine poses in front of the rain tank.

Irine said she missed her teachers and classmates the most while at home and that she is now "excited and ready to learn." Coming back to school now does look different from when she left, but she knows the changes are in their best interest to maintain their health and safety.

"My school had already set up several handwashing stations at different places in the school compound. It had already ensured that every student wore a face mask in the school compound, and our temperatures are taken before entering the school compound. I will follow the guidelines by ensuring that I wash my hands regularly, put on a face mask, and avoid the handshake to keep myself safe from COVID-19."

Girls celebrate the rain tank.

Between the time we last visited ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School and student's return, the school even erected several new handwashing sinks to boost students' hand hygiene further. We were impressed with the addition and happy to see so many places where students can now choose to wash their hands with soap and water from their new rain tank.

Team Leader Emmah tries out one of the new handwashing sinks the school built for students' return this month.

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify most problems and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers' team to assist them.

Clean water flows from the rain tank.

We will also continue to offer the school unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program. When schools fully reopen, we will continue to engage them in coronavirus prevention training and reminders.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2020: Construction Complete at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School

Construction of the rain tank and VIP latrines at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School is now complete!

The completed rain tank wet from the curing process

When Kenya closed schools nationwide in March 2020 to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, we worked carefully to ensure already-planned projects like the one at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School reached completion despite the closure. To achieve this, we relied on a combination of mutual trust and communication with the school and students' families to finish construction while keeping our team and the community safe.

Kenyan schools were initially scheduled to reopen in January 2021, when we planned to train students and teachers on COVID-19 prevention, handwashing, and how to take care of their new rain tank and latrines.

However, recently, the Kenyan government allowed certain grades of students to resume their classes for the remainder of 2020. Upon hearing this news, we treated the water in every school rain tank to ensure a fresh supply of drinking water for the returning pupils.

An Operation and Maintenance team stands on top of a school rain tank to measure the water levels through the removable cover to calculate the amount of treatment required.

With some students now back at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School, we acted quickly to offer our health, hygiene, and COVID-19 training to help them better use the clean water from their rain tank to keep students and teachers safe and healthy. We are currently working with the school's administration to determine the best time for their training, as it depends on their students' immediate academic needs and their communities' risk level.

Until we can formally hand over the rain tank and VIP latrines to the school and conduct health and hygiene training, we consider this project “incomplete.” That is why we extended the expected completion date to the end of the year, though the final decision of when to host training rests with the school.

Completed 4-door latrine block for the girls.

The training will ideally include students, teachers, and parents. This one-day intensive will focus on COVID-19 prevention and handwashing. The trainers will also cover a wide range of topics, including personal and environmental hygiene and the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations.

Once we complete the health and hygiene training and safely celebrate the school's ownership of the project, we will be sure to send you an update.

Completed 2-door latrine block with a urinal in back for the boys.

Luckily, most students in this school live in communities where we have already completed several rounds of COVID-19 sensitization training. We are continuing to work with all of the communities we serve throughout the pandemic to keep their water running and help them stay informed of the latest COVID-19 guidance.

A New Page for Water & Sanitation at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School

The rain tank has the ability to collect 75,000 liters of water, providing a new source of safe, clean water on campus. Combined with the six new VIP latrines we built and the installation of two new handwashing facilities, we look forward to seeing all of these components work together to unlock these students' opportunities to live better, healthier lives.

The latrines will be divided by gender. This school chose to allocate four doors of latrines to the girls who had a higher need for more toilets than the boys. We built two doors of latrines, including a urinal for the boys, for a total of six new latrines. All of these new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents designed to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

Before schools closed, parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. Even after the children went home, the school team of kitchen staff and a few parents helped provide meals for the artisans while the school provided accommodations. Local women and men helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Groundbreaking at the rain tank excavation site

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to determine the best location for a new rain tank. This needed to be the best site with enough land and a nearby building with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Pouring concrete over the tank's rock foundation

Then, we cleared the site by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundation. We cast the foundation by laying big stones on the level ground and reinforcing them using steel wire, concrete, and waterproof cement. We affixed both the drawing pipe and the drainage pipe as we laid the foundation.

Attaching sugar sacks to the wire mesh to form the tank wall skeleton

Next, we formed the walls using a skeleton of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. We attached this to the foundation’s edges so that the work team could start the Ferro-cementing process. They began layering the walls with cement, alternating with the inner and outer side, until six cement layers were in place. (The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first two layers of cement.)

Interior cement work begins

Inside the tank, we cast one central and four support pillars to ensure the dome does not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner wall while roughcasting the outer walls. We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside of the tank, where we also installed a short staircase. In front of the access area, we constructed a soak pit where spilled water can drain from the access area through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Plastering the 5 support pillars

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls settled. We attached a dome skeleton of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering it using similar techniques as the wall construction. We included a small manhole cover into the dome to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

Working on the dome

We propper long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside the tank to support the dome while it cured. Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting a lockable manhole cover over the tap area, affixing the gutters to the roof and tank, and setting an overflow pipe in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Wooden poles piled and ready for use inside the tank

Once finished, we gave the rain tank three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. Finally, we removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tank.

Thank you for helping to make this work possible - stay tuned for an update on training and the handing-over celebration!

October, 2020: ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya 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!

A Year Later: Time Gained Makes Dream Possible!

January, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped ACK St. Peter’s Khabakaya Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Diana. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Diana, a 16-year-old student at ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School, shared the challenges she used to face before the water tank. "Before this project, we used to come to school a bit earlier than usual, then go out of the school compound to look for water from a nearby stream. Sometimes the water fetched was not clean and safe for drinking. That caused us to be sick and be absent from school."

But now that Diana's school has a rain tank, life is different for her. "Getting water from this water point has made our life at school easier. We now enjoy coming to school because of the availability of water in school."

Diana has dreams she hopes to fulfill, and having access to clean water has given her hope that they are possible. "Now that I have time, I will concentrate on my studies. My goal in life is to be a doctor. [I] am now sure of achieving my dreams."

Diana (center) with classmates at the rain tank.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of ACK St. Peter's Khabakaya Secondary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


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