Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 294 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Please note, original photos were taken before the pandemic.

Friends Kisasi Secondary School began as a community school in 2012. The Friends Church-sponsored school started with just 2 classrooms and a target of reaching out to the vulnerable members of the community. Today, Kisasi Secondary hosts 277 students and 17 teachers and staff.

All of them are affected by the severe lack of clean water on school grounds.

Currently, the school relies on a dug well without a hand pump. To help students pull water from the well, there is a small metal crank that attaches to a bucket with rope. Students use this to haul up water, then pour it into their own containers which they carry back to a central point on campus for drinking and kitchen use. The well pulley is hard and tiring work, and the container that remains tied to it grows dirty with algae and dirt as it is always left out, in the water, or on the ground. Students' containers are likewise dirty.

At the time of our visit, we saw how surface runoff drains into the well - a highly concerning sign of contamination. Teachers reported that the rate of water-related diseases is very high at Kisasi Secondary. Parents said they spend a lot of money on medication for their students, instead of using that money to pay their children's school fees.

"On different occasions, I have had sores on my mouth because of the unsafe drinking water. Sometimes in the afternoons, I have to persevere with thirst and end up having a headache due to the lack of water in the school," said Deputy Head Teacher Amatalo Kaiser.

There is only 1 small plastic drum used to store water on campus, so the students have to make many trips to the well throughout the day to try to meet their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. Students and teachers are asked to also carry water from home in the morning, which they must bring in addition to their books.

Students are arriving tired and late from their morning walk with water, and everyone is frustrated that their school cannot provide for this basic need. Pupils then miss more class time while pulling water from the well throughout the day. Students' academic performance and teachers' syllabus coverage are, consequently, lagging.

"The lack of clean, safe water is very inconveniencing for me. I have to carry drinking water from home and sometimes I forget to carry my water bottle to school. On such days, I get very dehydrated and feel disturbed," reported teacher Ms. Muyuka Lavenda.

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 are a few handwashing points set up around the school, but there is rarely enough water to make them effective. Students therefore cannot wash their hands at critical times, such as after using the latrines or before eating lunch.

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: Friends Kisasi Secondary School Project Complete!

Friends Kisasi 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.

Students pose with the completed rain tank

"Access to clean and safe water will promote good health and long life, therefore, minimizing frequent visits to the hospital seeking treatment. It also empowers individuals, as the little money they have is used to support developments in school or at home," said student Isaac.

"Being a student at this school, even the entire school and I will have enough time to concentrate on studies, leading to improved school performance in different activities such as sports, academics, and our agricultural program."

A student holds a glass of water from the rain tank.

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

"Time will be created for me to work on the progress of the school. Students will no longer carry water from home, and we will not have to be buying it from vendors. Access to clean and safe water will provide the school with good working conditions and for consumption purposes. It will also help carry out manual cleaning, thus improving the standard of hygiene," said school Principal Florence Adenyi.

Principal Adenyi at the rain tank

"The fact that we can now access clean and safe water means the levels of hygiene will improve in the entire school and health issues will be minimal compared to the past. School developments will progress effectively, thus promoting good academic performance."

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.

Community members deliver a load of sand to the school construction 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.

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.

Pouring the rain tank's concrete 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.)

Sugar sacks tied to the exterior of the rain tank

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.

Interior cement and plasterwork

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.

Artisans fit the dome to the tank

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 were set in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Artisan places support poles inside the tank

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 Friends Kisasi Secondary School directly following training.

Students bless the tank to mark the handing-over ceremony

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. 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.

Girls at their new latrines and handwashing station

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.


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, facilitator Victor Musemi deployed to the site. 14 people attended the training including students and a few teachers, which we held outside under the shade of a tree.

Trainer leads the handwashing session

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.

Elected student health club leaders

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.

Everyone practices the ten steps of handwashing

"I have really learned a lot from you people, and I thank God for keeping us safe from this pandemic which kills people and also adversely affects our economy. On mitigation measures and signs and symptoms of COVID-19, I am in a better position to create awareness to others, especially older people, in society," said student Isaac.

"We have been enlightened on ways of preventing this pandemic with practical demonstrations such as making and wearing facemasks, maintaining physical distance, and setting up handwashing stations. Through this training, I shall share [this information] with the entire school as well as our parents at home," Isaac added.

Trainer explains solar disinfection method of water treatment

The pupils expressed particular interest in the session on rain tank maintenance and operation. They asked many questions about the construction process and wanted to know as much as possible about each part's quality and purpose. Their student health club leaders' election was also exciting as the group elected a young girl from Class 4 to be their club leader, surprising many of the older students who ran for the position. Those who voted for the girl said her good behavior, character, and leadership led to their support of her, demonstrating that the students had grasped the importance of giving power to those who demonstrate the ability to use it for good.

"It has been stated that knowledge is power, and I thank God for this privilege to acquire this information. I personally have learned a lot from you concerning hygiene and sanitation and the better way of maintaining this facility. Surely I will live to remember and be a good ambassador of the project to other people in the society," said school Principal Florence Adenyi.

Girls fetch water from 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!

November, 2020: Friends Kisasi Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Friends Kisasi 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 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: "My Grades Have Improved Tremendously!"

January, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

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

Before installing a rain tank to collect water for the students at Kisasi, students struggled with physically managing to collect enough water. Khalemwa C., a 14-year-old student, shared her experience. "It was difficult because pulling water from the well was not easy, and we could experience overcrowding every time we were at the water point."

But with access to clean water over the past year, the difference for Khalemwa and her classmates is evident. "It's easy [to collect water] and we don't use a lot of energy. We just open the tap, fetch water, and we go to class. I spend most of my time in class learning and my grades have improved tremendously. [I] am happy because I enjoy being in school and having access to clean, safe drinking water all the time."

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 Friends Kisasi 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 Friends Kisasi 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 - Thomas C Bishop Charitable Fund
Central Congregational Church
Fishing Creek Baptist Church
9 individual donor(s)