Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 446 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2021

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 06/17/2024

Project Features

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Please note: original photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Due to a lack of water, the latrines are always dirty and during my menstruation, I sneak into people's private compounds to use their latrines instead," said student Melvin. "The school has no water to drink and during athletics, some of the pupils faint yet we do not have water to offer first aid, so we are afraid to participate in the sports," she explained.

Melvin describes the impact of a severe water crisis on a typical school day for the 433 students and 13 teachers and staff at Eshimuli Primary School. There is no water on campus, so the students must walk to a spring in the village for all of their water needs. Sometimes the school tries to purchase water for special occasions, but even that has proven unhelpful in resolving their water stress.

"The lack of water on the school compound has affected my pupils, my teachers, and myself," said Head Teacher Mr. Jairus Wamaya.

"The other day, we purchased drinking water because we had a meal during one of the meetings here in school, but the water the vendor brought was contaminated and had little insects moving inside it. Since that day, I do not drink water in school unless I carry some from my home - which is quite a distance. I am left wondering how long I have consumed the dirty water - no wonder my teachers are battling with typhoid!" Mr. Wamaya explained.

Pupils arrive at school between 6:30 am and 7:30 am, some arrive with water from home. This is also when students are sent to the spring to fetch water. The school avoids sending the students for water during the day due to the fact that most of them do not come back until the next day. So, water is fetched during the morning hours only. Because it is a community spring, however, it is always crowded in the morning due to the influx of community members who also need to fetch water. The constant worry and consequences of pupils coming into conflict with community members over the protected spring are weighing down both the school management and pupils.

The school has no means of treating the water collected by students, which is often contaminated by their dirty containers. Because water is pooled for use, even one contaminated container puts everyone at risk. Most of the pupils suffer from typhoid and amoeba, and as Melvin mentioned, when they faint during games there is no water to assist them. The distance to the spring has caused most of the students to use small containers to fetch water in order to carry it back, so they are never able to meet even their own water needs. Headaches and constipation are widespread due to dehydration.

The latrines at Eshimuli are combined in a single block with 3 doors on one side for girls, and 3 doors on the opposing side for boys. With the high student population, these latrines are far too overcrowded. They also offer little to no privacy between the girls' and boys' sides and between the nearby teachers' latrines. We heard over and over again how the girl child here does not feel safe using them, and since there is no water near the latrines, hygiene is compromised. Unventilated and cleaned just once a week without soap (because it is not available), the smell is very bad in and around the latrines.

The girls we spoke with confessed that during their menstrual cycles, they usually skip school because they have no way of maintaining their personal hygiene while there. Others, like Melvin, try to attend but spend a lot of time missing class anyway while they try to find latrines elsewhere, risking their safety in the process. We and the school agree that no girl should have to choose between her menstrual hygiene and her education, yet this is currently the only choice available at Eshimuli Primary.

While chatting with the pupils during one of their breaks, they shared how excited they were that this project was coming to their school. They are tired of walking over 1 kilometer in search of water, they said, but they know their current situation is simple: either carry the water or don't drink at all.

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 just 1 handwashing station for both students and teachers to use after visiting the latrines or before eating lunch, but there is no soap and little water to allot to this.

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: Eshimuli Primary School Project Complete!

Eshimuli 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 75,000 liters of water! We installed new latrines and handwashing stations for students, and we trained the school on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention. These components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"I will not be worrying about going to look for water whenever it's our duty as a class to do so, but all my time I will dedicate to learning, which will help me improve in my performance. I will also not be troubled carrying drinking water from home or borrowing water from others; I will be taking enough drinking water at school," said student Irine.

Irine gets a drink from the rain tank

"This water point will help me concentrate on my studies and pass exams. It will also help me achieve improving hygiene and sanitation matters as the Health Prefect in the school," Irine added.

Boys celebrate the rain tank

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

"At times, I've not been comfortable being related to this school because of the poor performance of which one of the contributing factors has been lack of water since our pupils had been really wasting time going round to the villages looking for water," teacher Eunice Atumba recalled.

"I am now optimistic that the performance is going to improve because our pupils will have enough time to study while at school. I will also be comfortable to drink water at school and not necessarily carry mine from home like I have been doing before. Whenever I am on duty, I will not have a difficult time solving cases of the pupils sneaking out of school in the name of looking for water like it has been all along."

Madam Eunice Atumba

"This water point will help me concentrate on my work of teaching and completing the syllabus in time, which will lead to improved performance among our pupils."

Girls give thumbs up at the rain tank

From students to their parents, the entire school community, teachers, staff, and the school board are very happy about this project. They are excited about how the face of the school has changed at once. Some said they think they are either in a dream or lost because the project is such a big step that they never imagined would come to such a small school in the village. Upon completing the project, people shared prayers of thanks to God and appreciated everyone involved who helped make their rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations possible.

Students, teachers, and local staff including Team Leader Emmah Nambuye (on right) pose to say, "Thank you Credit Suisse!"

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

Construction for this 75,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction.

Students help carry bricks to school for construction

The school’s kitchen staff and a few parents helped provide meals for the artisans, while the school provided the artisans’ accommodations. Local women and men helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Excavating the rain tank 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.

Forming the rain tank's 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.

Cementing the first layer of the walls

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.)

Exterior cement work

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.

Digging the soak pit

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.

Dome work

We propped 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 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.

Field Officer Protus Ekesa (left) handing over the project to Head Teacher Jairus Wamaya

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.

Fetching a drink from the completed rain tank

As soon as it was ready, students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. The event was a great chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we have given and remind them of our continued support as they develop. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Girls celebrate the rain tank

In the school's official handing-over ceremony, the school Head Teacher Jairus Wamaya led a section of the pupils to the rain tank with much jubilation. The pupils were so excited and delighted.

Students and teachers say "Thank you Credit Suisse!" while celebrating their new rain tank

"I want to take this opportunity to thank The Water Project for this gesture. For the five years, I've been in this school, accessing safe and reliable water has been a dream which is now realized. I do not doubt that the learners who have been running away to join other schools due to lack of water will remain here," said Mr. Wamaya.

Enjoying a fresh drink and handwashing at the rain tank

VIP Latrines

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

Girls pose at their new latrines

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.

Boys pose at their new latrines

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were set up during training and handed over to the student health club. These were placed outside of the girls’ and boys’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use.

Handwashing using a new station

Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, make sure the stations are filled with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

Boys line up to wash hands

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the principal, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for the school. When the training day arrived, facilitators Jacquey, Elvin and Joyce deployed to the site. 30 people attended training, including teachers and students representing class levels two through eight.

We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These 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, handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Students actively participate at training.

The club will be greatly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. 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.

Handwashing session

The most memorable topics were COVID-19 prevention when the students realized they did not know that fever was a possible symptom of the virus, water pollution, and purification. In this second session, the students remarked how before the rain tank, they had no choice but to consume dirty water, and they did not have a way to purify it, frequently causing them to be sick. That was when one student named Joshua stood up and said that on behalf of all students, "we are so grateful to The Water Project for the clean water." This moment of joy and gratitude on both sides was quite memorable.

Students learn about the parts of the rain tank and how to maintain and properly use them.

"The training was quite valuable to me. I have learned that I need to live in a clean environment and take in clean food and water for me to be healthy. This practice will help me not be sick and not miss classes," said Saumu, a young teenaged girl.

"How to make a homemade mask" tutorial

Micah, a teenaged boy, also found the training to be valuable.

"The new knowledge that I have received today will help me live healthily and happily. I have been living with worry about COVID-19 and not taking the right measures, such as washing hands with soap, but now I'll be keen to do what is right and stop worrying. I've always been worried about the virus, imagining how it will get my family and me one day. But after the training today, I don't fear it anymore. Instead, I am making up my mind to do what is required of me and live protected," Micah said.

Demonstrating the elbow sneeze and cough

Micah also shared what it has been like to recently return as a student after being out of class since last March due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures.

"Being a student, I was so much affected by the closure of schools because I would have moved to the next class, but now I am forced to repeat the same class. I missed learning most, and my teachers."

"I feel good [about being back at school], especially about the water tank and the pit latrines. They have really changed the face of our school, and it will also help us in improving the hygiene and sanitation matters in our school."


"The school had put in place handwashing stations, which are not enough, and our teachers emphasize wearing a face mask. After the training, I intend to add leaky tins, which will boost the number of handwashing stations to ensure that all the pupils wash their hands regularly. I have also learned to make a face mask, and so with this knowledge, I can teach others and make more face masks for myself."

Girls celebrate the rain tank

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem 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. We will also continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2020: Eshimuli Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Eshimuli 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 Videos

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: A Lighter Load to Carry!

January, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Eshimuli Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Hakim. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Eshimuli Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Eshimuli Primary 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!

Hakim, 8, a student at Eshimuli Primary School, shared, "Water was very scarce here in school, and we had to bring water from home. We could not depend on the well since it does dry up."

But now that the school has had a rain tank for the past year, things are different for Hakim. He commented, "I feel so nice. I do have a small sister, and sometimes I was required by my mother to help with her jerry-can [full of water] until we both reached school."

He continued, "Now it is easy to carry many books. No more carrying water luggage! This has made our lives here at school more comfortable."


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 Eshimuli Primary 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 Eshimuli Primary 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.


Project Sponsor - Credit Suisse 2019 Holiday Initiative
Credit Suisse