Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 157 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/06/2024

Project Features

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Please note, original photos were taken before the pandemic.

"As students of this school, we are the ones who are affected directly by the water shortage here. Going to the spring has got its own challenges and this has really affected most of our study hours due to time wastage. My overall performance is really declining and I hope something will be done in the near future so that we students find ample time for our studies," said 17-year-old student Angeline, reflecting on how the water crisis at Kinu Friends Secondary School has become a personal burden for herself and her fellow students.

Founded in 2011 with just 11 students, today there is still no water or latrines for the 141 students and 16 teachers at this school.

Students are required to take breaks from their classes to go to a protected spring in the village - the sole water source for the school - to provide water for all of the school's cooking, cleaning, and drinking. The spring is shared with community members who often force students to wait to collect water last as the adults are frustrated with the students' presence at the spring.

"With no water point in the school, we are forced to tell our students to go fetch water at the spring located out of the school's compound. As the head teacher of the school, I need to provide total security to the students while at the spring as there are occasions when commotions erupt between the community members and the students leading to injuries. When this happens, the head of the school remains liable," said Head Teacher Mr. Vincent Okoth.

As Angeline noted, this process is time-consuming and tiresome. Students are continuously taken away from their study and class time, and when they do finally get back to class they are often too tired to focus from the difficult walk with their water. The entire school's academic performance is suffering because of it, to the dismay of both teachers and students.

Second to water, the most noticeably absent item on the Kinu Friends Secondary School campus is latrines. Without any of their own, the secondary students must share the primary school's latrines since the 2 institutions are located on the same parcel of land. Toilets being a basic facility required in a school, Kinu Secondary is bound to receive a closure notice from the pubic health department, paralyzing activities at the school. Each day the staff anxiously wait for the letter they hope never comes.

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

December, 2020: Kinu Friends Secondary School Project Complete!

When Kenya closed schools nationwide in March 2020 to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, we worked carefully to ensure Kinu Friends Secondary 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 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 tanks and latrines.

However, recently, the Kenyan government allowed certain 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 tanks to keep students and teachers safe and healthy. Our good relationship and open communication with Kinu Friends Secondary School led our principal to invite our team to conduct the training immediately.

Students and Principal Okoth celebrate the completed rain tank

Kinu Friends Secondary 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. These components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

A student takes a drink from the rain tank

"This tank will bring a total change in this institution. For a long time now, we've been having a challenge as an institution...As a student of this school, I will be able to drink clean, safe water. With water in the school's compound, I will indeed feel secure...I see myself excelling in my examinations as much time will be created for my class studies. Cases of absenteeism will now be a thing of the past," said pupil Derick.

A student enjoys a drink of water from the rain tank

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

"This is the first water point to be installed in this institution. For a long time, students have been fetching water outside the school's compound in a community spring, and this has been faced with challenges. Today marks a milestone towards improving good hygiene standards in this institution," said school Principal Mr. Vincent Okoth.

"Cases of water-related infections will now be history in this school. Study hours have always been interrupted as students are normally required to fetch water for use when the need arises. This will now be a thing of the past. We anticipate high enrollment this coming year. We are also looking forward to registering good results [in the national examinations] in years to come."

Mr. Okoth at the rain tank

Rain Tank

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

Even after schools closed in March, parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. 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.

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.

Rain tank site excavation

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.

The lead artisan levels the stones laid for the rain tank's foundation

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

Tying sugar sacks to the tank's wire wall skeleton

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. Outside of the tank, the tap's access area 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.

Cement and plasterwork inside the rain tank

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls had been given enough time to settle. Using similar techniques 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.

Affixing the gutter system to the rain tank and roof

Long wooden poles (about seventy-five 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 were set in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Once finished, the rain tank was given three to four 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 freshwater. When there was a sufficient volume in the tank, we treated the water, and we officially handed it over to Kinu Friends Secondary School.

Student Edith holds up a glass of clean water from the tank

As soon as it was ready, students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. We officially handed over the project to the school directly following training. 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.

VIP Latrines

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

The two blocks of VIP 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 handwashing in front of their 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. 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 ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

Girls handwashing in front of their latrines

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for students given their recent return to school. When the training day arrived, facilitators Samuel Simidi and Victor Misemi deployed to the site.

11 people attended the training, including students, the school principal, and a parent representative. We held training outside next to the rain tank. The setting was helpful for practical demonstrations that required water, and it easily allowed for distancing throughout each session.

Trainer Victor leads the handwashing session at training

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.

Handwashing practice

The latter session was the most memorable as it was also when the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club. The facilitators emphasized that leadership comes with power and responsibilities, and no one leader should misuse or abuse. At the election stage, at least every participant vied for a position on the club. We thought this was an excellent sign of their commitment to maintaining their new WASH facilities. After an intense and vigorous process, the group elected their leaders for each position.

Trainer explains how to clean and maintain the rain tank's gutters

"This village of ours suffers a challenge when it comes to good hygiene and sanitation standards. Take a walk in every household, and you will witness what I am talking about," said student Edith, whose peers elected to be secretary of their new club.

"Today's training has been helpful to me as I have been enriched with the knowledge on the ways of improving and maintaining my health standards. I promise to disseminate whatever I have learned here today in my village so that they can also get to improve and maintain good hygiene and sanitation standards."


Edith added that her school and community had heard about the importance of frequent and proper handwashing and mask-wearing to keep the virus at bay. After the training, she would try to encourage greater precautions among her peers.

"As one of the beneficiaries of the training, I am going to encourage our members always to observe social distancing; washing hands taking into consideration the ten steps of handwashing; wearing clean face masks; and avoiding touching one's face."

The student health 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.

A parent enjoys water from the tank

"I am glad to be one of the participants of the hygiene and sanitation training. Indeed, the training has been timely to me. I have realized the mistakes I have been making on hygiene and sanitation standards, and I have made up my mind to change and always do the right thing," said Principal Vincent Okoth.

"As a beneficiary of the training, I promise to pass this information to other members so that they can also cross-check their way of living and always try to improve."

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!

November, 2020: Kinu Friends Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kinu Friends 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 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: Time to Study, Everything Made Easy!

November, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

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

"We used to carry water from home every day, which was very tiresome because you also have books to carry," said Beatrice. "At the moment, everything is running smoothly because we have water within our reach. We have time to do revisions (study), and that has really helped us improve our academic performance. We are able to attend school throughout [the school year] because the rate of waterborne diseases has gone down."

"Everything has been made easy for both teachers and students since we have water within the school compound," said Vincent Okoth, teacher, 45. "Our performance and sanitation standards have really improved as well. At the moment, students are able to concentrate and do their classwork without them being worried that they will be asked to stop their lesson to go and get water."

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 Kinu Friends 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 Kinu Friends 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.


Project Sponsor - Legacy Plumbing, Inc.