Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 441 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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Jinjini Friends Primary School was started in 2015 by the Friends Church. Located close to the Kaimosi Forest, the area is green and very cold. There are 428 students who attend the school, led by 13 teachers and staff. One of their greatest daily challenges is the fact that there is no water on campus.

Instead, students are asked to bring water from home every morning before they report to class at 6:30 am. The walk to school with a heavy container of water is tiring, and many students arrive late or miss their morning preps altogether. Once they arrive, many students are too tired to focus well, hurting their academic performance.

As the day progresses and the school needs more water, students are sent back out during lunchtime to a spring 500 meters away in the village that is shared with the surrounding community members. There, students are forced to wait to collect their water until all of the community members are done, wasting even more precious class time. The spring is not well-maintained, bringing the water's quality into question.

"We don't trust that the water is clean," said Head Teacher Mr. Fred Ihaji.

Students report getting sick with diarrhea and the flu, believed to be associated with drinking this water.

Students' parents are unhappy because their children have to walk away with a water container every day, tying up part of their families' ability to fetch water. Sometimes the students even lose their containers or get them switched up at school by accident, to the frustration of the parents. Students' safety is also at risk by going to the spring every day.

"The parents complain that the students are at risk since they have to cross the road to get to the spring. I agree it is dangerous because motorbikes use this road frequently as it is the main source of transportation in this area," said Deputy Head Teacher Mr. Chole Maheli.

The school only has 4 latrines total for the students - 2 for the boys and 2 for the girls - which are in very poor condition and incredibly overcrowded due to the school's population size. The latrines are almost full and the doors are not lockable, therefore no privacy is guaranteed. This makes using any of the latrines stressful as students wait in long lines and then scramble with one another to keep the doors closed. The girls feel especially vulnerable at school because of this.

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 are currently 2 handwashing stations located outside the latrines for students' use, but long lines often see some students not bothering to wait. There is also not always enough water to sacrifice from other uses for handwashing.

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

December, 2020: Jinjini Friends Primary School Project Complete!

We have exciting news!

When Kenya closed schools nationwide in March 2020 to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, we worked carefully to ensure Jinjini Friends Primary School's rain tank and latrines 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 originally 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.

Once students returned to school, we acted quickly to offer our health, hygiene, and COVID-19 training to schools to use clean water from their rain tank to keep everyone safe and healthy. Our good relationship and open communication with Jinjini Friends Primary School led to their principal inviting our team to conduct the training immediately.

Trainer Georgina demonstrates the ten steps of handwashing.

While there, we also officially handed over the rain tank and latrines to the school. Though limited in scope, this was a particularly joyous celebration as we had not expected this would be possible until some time next year. The students and teachers celebrated at the rain tank by drinking water and washing their hands.

Students take a drink from the rain tank.

"It is much easier to clean classes now that water is easily accessible and available in school. We get more time to study and play. Now that we have clean and safe drinking water available in school, especially during this pandemic, I believe I will continue to stay safe by washing hands with running water," said pupil Mike, whose peers elected him to be the treasurer of their new student health club.

Treasurer Mike (center) stands with Secretary Mildred (left) and Chair Augustin (right) of the new student health club.

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

"I am a new Head Teacher in this school, and I am a witness that this project has changed the lives of this school. We only had two toilets for the students, and now they are enough for both girls and boys," said Mr. Patrick Gombe.

Girls stand in front of their half of the latrine block.

Boys stand in front of their half of the latrine block.

"Water is no longer an issue for us now, thanks to this project. This water point will improve the hygiene and sanitation of this school now that water is easily available. I also predict that our general health will improve."

Washing hands at the rain tank


The school 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 Georgina Kamau and Rose Serete to lead the training.

18 students and 2 teachers attended training, which we conducted inside a classroom due to the hot weather that day. We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. We found students were already familiar with prevention measures to stop the virus's spread, which allowed the group to dive deeper into a detailed question and answer session on the topic.

Students practice alternative greetings to the traditional handshake or hug.

"I now know how to wash my hands properly. I was excited to learn the ten handwashing steps," said pupil Clyson.

Handwashing practice

"I learned that staying healthy is very important, especially during this pandemic. Eating fruits and vegetables should always be a part of my diet," added student Gloria.

Gloria noted that her school had already taken steps to help welcome students back safely in line with the national Ministry of Health's guidelines.

"We have set out posters about measures of COVID-19 prevention all over the school. We have a handwashing station set at the gate with soap. We ensure everyone passing at the gate has their temperature tested, and we wear masks," she said.

Gloria getting a drink from the rain tank.

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. The students particularly enjoyed learning the different parts of the rain tank and how to clean and maintain them.

Trainer Georgina leads the session on the care and maintenance of the rain tank.

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.

When more students return to school next year, the students we trained will be instrumental in sharing what they learned with the rest of the student body to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Students practice using the elbow for coughs and sneezes.

"We will continue to insist on the measures of prevention to prevent the spread of the virus," student Gloria said.

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

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.

Clyson about to make a big splash while celebrating the rain tank

In addition, we will 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!

August, 2020: Jinjini Friends Primary School Hygiene Training Postponed to 2021

Not too long ago, we reached out to share exciting news about completing the construction of the rain tank and VIP latrines at Jinjini Friends Primary School.

The school security guard gives a thumbs up for the completed rain tank, which he is helping us monitor while the school remains closed.

Kenya’s president recently announced that due to the progression of COVID-19 in Kenya, all primary and secondary schools will remain closed until at least January 2021.

What does this mean for the project?

It’s simple: we will continue to maintain our water promise, monitoring the project’s integrity, and working with school officials to determine the best practices for the safety and maintenance of the rain tank and latrines.

We are pleased to share that these new WASH facilities remain in tip-top shape and, in the case of the rain tank, actively collecting water.

Water flows from the rain tank's tap.

We will not be able to formally hand over the rain tank and VIP latrines to the school or conduct health and hygiene training until students return. Because of that, we consider this project “incomplete.” That is why we extended the expected completion date to 2021 - after we expect schools to reopen.

The double VIP latrine block at Jinjini Friends Primary School.

We are counting down the months and days until we can greet these students back at school with their new rain tank and latrines! Once we complete the student-focused health and hygiene training and we can safely celebrate the students' first use of the new project, we will be sure to send you an update.

Luckily, most students in this school live in communities where we have 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.

Curious about what life is like dealing with COVID-19 in a different country?

Check out our new series, “Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles,” on our blog. Every week we invite a new person from a community we serve to share their perspective and experience since the pandemic came to their doorstep.

May, 2020: Jinjini Friends Primary School Construction Complete

We realized a glitch in our system may have recently sent you the incorrect name for this project update - we are pleased to share news with you from Jinjini Friends Primary School!

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 Jinjini Friends Primary Primary School is now complete!

Completed 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.

Water flowing from the rain tank's tap

The rain tank can 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.

Completed VIP latrines

The latrines will be divided evenly among the students by gender, 3 for girls and 3 for boys. Because of the best spot for digging the latrines' pits, we ended up putting all 6 doors in the same place, though there is a dividing wall in the middle to enhance privacy.

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.

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 particular emphasis on handwashing.

Latrine construction

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

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.

The team hired a community member to help deliver the water needed for construction by motorbike. The leaves and tarp are used in place of caps for the containers.

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.

Artisan inspects reinforcement wire laid on rain tank's stone foundation.

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.

Community members volunteered their time and labor; here, they help mix concrete.

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 field 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 concrete for the rain tank's 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.)

Sugar sacks tied to wire walls to support the first layers of interior cement

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.

Interior cementing and plasterwork on the pillars

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 cover was built into the dome to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

Knitting sacks onto the dome's wire skeleton

Long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) were placed inside the tank to support the dome while it cured. A lockable 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.

Carrying the dome skeleton to the tank

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 school's security guard, who continues to monitor campus during the break. When schools are ready to reopen, we will treat the tank full of clean water just before students arrive to be sure it is ready for their use.

Thank you for helping to make this work possible!

April, 2020: Jinjini Friends Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Jinjini Friends 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: Jinjini Friends Primary School Students Gain Study Time!

December, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Jinjini Friends 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!

Elvis, 13, said, "Long ago before we were blessed with the water tank, going out to get water from the village was a burden to me because carrying a ten-liter container for a long distance was very exhausting and tiresome for me. I now feel very good and happy to freely fetch water from the tank within a very short time and with ease. Getting water here has helped me to stay away from being sick and at the same time not [I am] missing classes because I drink safe water."

We asked Elvis how the water tank has helped him achieve new things over the past year. He said: "As for me, I now have enough time for studies which was mostly lost going to get water far from school. Having this water tank at school has really made me feel like am now at school, a place where [I] am supposed to be learning and dedicating much of my time to studying in order for me to score higher marks and [to] better my future life."

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 Jinjini Friends 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 Jinjini Friends 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.