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The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  The Deputy Head Teacher At The Water Point
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Water Flowing From The Tap
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Completed Rain Tank
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  The Deputy Head Teacher Poses With The Latrines
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Completed Vip Latrines
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Hardware Materials Gathered In School Storage Room
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Excavation Of The Tank Site
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Excavation Continues
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Reinforcing Foundation With Stones
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Reinforcing Foundation With Stones
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Casting The Concrete Base
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Casting The Concrete Base
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Setting The Wire For Walls
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Fitting The Wire To The Foundation
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Interior Cement And Plaster Work
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Tank Plastering
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Cementing Outer Tank Wall
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Plastering Interior Pillars
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Preparing The Dome Wire
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Dome Casting
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Dome Casting
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Dome Plaster
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Digging The Soak Pit
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Latrine Construction
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Latrine Construction
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Latrine Construction
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Water Storage Inside The Kitchen
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Playing
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Student Agnes
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Carrying Water From Home To The Kitchen
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Student Fetching Water
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Student Drawing Water From The Tank
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Close Up Of Water Tank
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Water Tanks
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Kitchen
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Classroom While Pupils Take A Break
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Classrooms
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Boys Lined Up At The Latrines
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Boys Latrines And Urinal
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Girls Lined Up At Their Latrines
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Run To Their Latrines
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Girls Latrine Block
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Teachers In Staffroom
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Enjoying A Moment Of Laughter
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Teacher Mr Ochieng
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Teacher Having A Word With Pupils Before Breaking For Lunch
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students In Class
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students In Class
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Classrooms
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  School Grounds
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  School Grounds
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Coming To School With Water
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Carrying Water
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Carrying Water To School
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Carrying Water To School
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  Students Fetching Water At Home
The Water Project: Gamalenga Primary School -  A Home Water Source

Project Status



Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 460 Served

Project Phase:  Under Construction
Estimated Install Date (?):  07/31/2020

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



“Water has been and is still an issue in this school. As a student of this school, I am forced to carry water from my home and this is tedious. There are times when I don’t find water at home and this forces me to abscond my afternoon classes for fear of being punished by my teachers.”

This was 12-year-old pupil Agnes, reflecting on how the water crisis at her school has become a personal burden fo herself and her fellow students. Some 446 students attend Gamalenga Primary School. They are taught and supported by 14 teachers and staff who understand this burden all too well.

The second oldest school in the area, Gamalenga Primary was established in 1951 sponsored by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church. The institution has grown tremendously since then and has produced several legal minds in the country, including the well-known current member of parliament Dr. Gimose. The school for the last 6 years has topped the performance lists in Tambua Zone, an indicator that the school is a center of excellence.

And yet, they still do not have access to enough clean, safe, and reliable water for their students.

A normal school day starts at 6:30 am when students arrive and begin a general cleaning of the campus. Students are requested to carry water from home to school in the morning and then again at lunch break. This has been a challenge as most of the pupils abscond their afternoon classes for fear of getting in trouble at school for not being able to find or carry enough water from home. Each time students do arrive with water at school, however, they are often too tired to focus anyway from the time-consuming trip and challenging walk.

Water is sourced from various homes without close monitoring of the sources’ or fetching containers’ quality. A look at the various jerrycans students use to fetch water shows many without lids, exposing the collected water to contaminants. Quite a number of the jerrycans were dirty from the inside as well, meaning they would contaminate the water inside even if it started off clean. Because the water is combined for use, even 1 contaminated source means everyone suffers.

Waterborne illnesses throughout the school population are common, including cholera and typhoid. These lead to both students’ and teachers’ absenteeism, which hurts academic performance and costs the school and pupils’ parents money when seeking treatment and medication.

“I have been in this school for just 1 year and I have fallen victim to our water scarcity issue. I suffered from a typhoid infection and this meant I had to spend more resources on my medication. I had to skip quite a number of school days just to be attended to by a doctor,” said Head Teacher Mrs. Ruth Rao.

The only other sources of water are 2 small plastic rain tanks which together can only collect 10,000 liters of water. With a population of Gamalenga Primary’s size, these do not come close in meeting their daily water needs. Students are asked to bring water from home every day year-round, regardless of the rainy season.

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

The currently used latrine blocks are almost full, overcrowded, and in poor condition.

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

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


05/05/2020: Gamalenga Primary School Construction Complete

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

Construction of the rain tank and VIP latrines at Gamalenga Primary School is now complete!

Completed rain tank with water flowing

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.

Recent rains have already started to fill the tank with water

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 6 new VIP latrines we built and the future installation of 2 new handwashing facilities once classes resume, we look forward to seeing all of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Latrine construction

The latrines will be divided evenly among the students by gender, 3 for girls and 3 for boys. 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.

Latrine construction

Once schools reopen, we will schedule a training session with students, teachers, and parents. This 1-day intensive will cover a wide range of topics including 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.

The Deputy Head Teacher poses with 1 of 2 new blocks of VIP latrines

Thankfully, many of the students will have already received training in their home communities as we continue our in-person trainings and other outreach work on COVID-19 prevention in the surrounding area. (To see more of our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve, click here).

We will be sure to reach back out to you with more news and photos from the training and handing-over ceremony of the rain tank once schools reopen!

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, who were given accommodations by the school. 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 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.

Laying stones over the leveled ground for the foundation

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. Both the drawing pipe as well as the drainage pipe were affixed as the foundation was laid.

Pouring and tamping down concrete on the 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.)

Interior cement and plastering in progress

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.

Pillar work inside the tank

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.

Cementing exterior walls

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.

Preparing the dome’s wire form

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 and the tank was cleaned.

Cementing the dome

Since completion, there have been very heavy and frequent rains in this region of Western Kenya. We are monitoring the water levels in the tank thanks to the help of the Deputy Head Teacher who continues to monitor campus during the break. When schools are ready to reopen, we will treat the tank full of fresh water just before students arrive to be sure it is ready for their use.

Thank you for helping to make this work possible!


The Water Project : 25-kenya20124-the-deputy-head-teacher-at-the-water-point


03/20/2020: Gamalenga Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Gamalenga 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!


The Water Project : 2-kenya20124-students-carrying-water-to-school-4


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.