Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 353 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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"As pupils, we face a lot of problems concerning water. We waste so much time collecting water from our homes and even the containers used to carry water are not often cleaned. Contracting diseases is very easy because we don't treat the water before drinking it," said 16-year-old student Mercy.

Mercy attends Kapsaoi Primary School, where currently the main source of water for the 340 students and 13 teachers and staff is students bringing water from home every day. There is a small plastic rain tank at school, but it can only store 2,500 liters of water - hardly enough for the school's daily needs when drinking, washing dishes, cooking, and cleaning are considered. It has been this way at Kapsaoi Primary School since it opened in 1978 under the sponsorship of the Israel Nineveh Church.

The water pupils fetch from home comes from many different sources. These include springs, rainwater, and surface water like streams and puddles. Though some of the sources may be safe for consumption, since the water is combined for use at school even 1 contaminated source means everyone suffers. Additionally, much of the water pupils bring is accidentally and unknowingly mishandled, dipping fingers into it when carrying it or drinking from the same container they share with others. Their personal water containers are not often cleaned, further contaminating the water. There are no means of water treatment at school.

Carrying water to school every morning is tiresome for the students and often time-consuming, slowing them down while they fetch it and then carry it to school. They frequently arrive at school late, already tired and too unfocused to learn well.

The different routes of contamination result in waterborne illnesses among the students, driving absenteeism and lowering school grades with it due to missed class time.

"The school is in need of water. We are suffering because of lack of water and even outbreaks of waterborne diseases due to drinking the untreated water," said teacher Mr. Christian Ayiende.

As for the pit latrines, they are highly overcrowded. Some are lacking doors, ventilation, or both, and others are already full. The school's daily routine of cleaning the latrines and classrooms becomes challenging because there is not enough water for most of the pupils and staff to meet good standards of hygiene and sanitation. Even cooking can be problematic when the water runs out, affecting the school's feeding program.

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 unlock the opportunity 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.


We will hold a 1-day intensive training on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits 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) 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. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

May, 2020: Kapsaoi Primary School Project Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into effect.

Kapsaoi 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 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 pose with the completed rain tank

"As pupils, we are grateful to have this project in our school. Lives have changed in terms of accessing clean and safe water for drinking and washing hands. Also, no more carrying water from home," said student Adija.

Student Adija

"Now, our grades will improve a lot because of no longer wasting time. This project is a golden gift for us. Our school image will change in terms of development."

Boys celebrate the rain tank

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

"As a teacher of this school, I can say we have been suffering for so long in terms of time-wasting, diseases for long periods of time, and for sure this is the end, and we thank Almighty God for this," said teacher David Bengat.

"Secondly, teaching will run more effectively compared to the past...The school's mean grade will be achieved, and even practical lessons will take place. More so, hygiene standards will improve."

Pupils pose with staff and teachers at the rain tank

While Kenyan schools remain closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these new water and sanitation facilities will be ready and waiting for the students' return.

A pupil turns off the tap at the rain tank

Rain Tank

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

Before schools closed, parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, the school cooks and community members 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.

Community members helped deliver water and stones to the rain tank construction site at school

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 enough land and a nearby building with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Rain tank foundation excavation

Then, we cleared the site by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast 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.

Stones and steel wire make up the first layers of the rain tank foundation

Next, the walls were formed using a skeleton of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. This was attached to the foundation’s edges so that the work team could start the Ferro-cementing process, in which the walls are layered with cement alternating with the inner and outer side until 6 layers of cement are in place. (The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first 2 layers of cement.)

Fitting the wire skeleton around the cemented rain tank foundation

Inside the tank, 1 central and 4 support pillars were cast to ensure the dome does not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, the inner wall was plastered while the outer walls received their roughcasting. Outside of the tank, the access area to the tap was dug, plastered, and a short staircase installed, along with a soak pit where spilled water can drain from the access area through the ground. This helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Outer plasterwork as interior tank walls and pillars dry

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls had been given enough time to settle. Using similar techniques as used on the walls, the dome started as rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks and was attached to the tank walls before receiving cement and plaster. A small manhole cover was built into the dome to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

Sewing sugar sacks to dome wire skeleton

Long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) were placed inside the tank to support the dome while it cured. A lockable manhole cover was fitted over the tap area, the gutters were affixed to the roof and the tank, and an overflow pipe was set in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Cementing the dome

Once finished, the rain tank was given 3-4 weeks to undergo complete curing. Finally, the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks were removed, the tank was cleaned, and we waited as rain filled the tank with fresh water. When there was a sufficient volume in the tank, we treated the water and we officially handed it over to Kapsaoi Primary School.

"Skirting" the dome to remove overhanging plaster and create a cap on the 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, as well as remind them of our continued support as they develop. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Students pose while fetching water from the rain tank

VIP Latrines

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

Pupils and staff pose in front of the new girls' latrines

All of these new latrines have cement floors that are 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 saying "Thank you!" for their new latrines

Handwashing Stations

The 2 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.

A pupil washes her hands as her classmates peer out from their new latrines

Health club members will 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 a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

A boy washes his hands after using the new latrines

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and the head teacher, 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. When the training day arrived, facilitators Victor Musemi and Samuel Simidi deployed to the site.

Pupils in group discussions at training

22 students attended training, which was held outside under the shade thanks to the trees on the school's compound. The pupils had high expectations and an eagerness to learn, contributing to the strong turnout and level of participation throughout the training.

Students lend an ear to the instructors Victor and Samuel

We covered a number of topics including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and the 10 steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Trainer Samuel uses a poster for the dental hygiene session

Because we held this training when the spread of COVID-19 was still in its early stages and was not yet worldwide, this was not a topic we covered. Since then, however, we have developed trainings exclusively on COVID-19 prevention and awareness - see for yourself what we've been up to more recently as we continue to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines in all of the communities we serve.

A student presents his group's work with the help of a visual aid held by Trainer Samuel

The student health club will be greatly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. We involved stretches, dances, and physical activities in 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.

Trainer Victor demonstrates the 10 steps of handwashing

One of the most enjoyable topics for the group was the session on general health as under this topic, the facilitators were able to differentiate between environmental hygiene and personal hygiene. The participants were very interested in this, and many pupils were able to practice toothbrushing and even draw charts to show different parts of the teeth. We also used this session to clean the school's compound as a part of a hands-on practical to demonstrate the high level of cleanliness the student heath club is expected to help uphold.

A student tries out the new handwashing station at training

Leadership and governance was the second most memorable topic. In many schools students are at first unsure of the qualities of a good leader, but not this group. These students were quick to identify the qualities of a good leader which resulted in their election of a "brilliant, intelligent girl to manage the top seat of the student health club" Trainer Victor said.

Pupil Selestine holds a clean cup of water from the new rain tank

"Knowledge is power and I have gained a lot," said pupil Selestine after completing training.

"My life will change in many ways. One, good health will make us prosper in academics and even the school community will develop. This will also lead us to teach others and be role models for them."

Making a splash at the new 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 team of field officers to assist them. In addition, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2020: Kapsaoi Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kapsaoi 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!

Giving Update: Kapsaoi Primary School

July, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kapsaoi 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!

To get water before it was so hard and dangerous. Crossing the road at the corner with motorbikes passing endangered our lives, especially when teachers were busy or in a meeting and couldn't help.

We no longer have to fetch water, and we are safe. We have clean and safe drinking water, unlike before when we drank dirty water and got sick.

Now, I concentrate a lot on my studies which improves my performance. As a school, we are doing better than before.

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 Kapsaoi 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 Kapsaoi 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.