Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 296 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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Friends School Manguliro Secondary was established in 2013 by the surrounding community members and the Quaker Church to give a closer, more affordable secondary education option for students in the area. The school began with just 12 students and 2 classrooms on loan within the primary school's compound - 1 for students, and 1 for a staffroom. Since then, the secondary section has acquired 2 hectares of land and all of their own learning facilities to host its 273 students and 23 teachers and staff.

What the school has not acquired, however, is enough clean water for their school's daily needs.

The school patches together several different water sources in an attempt to cover all of their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, but they are still falling short. Their main source of water is a hand-dug well on school grounds that only gives water seasonally and is easily dirtied the more it is used.

To fetch water, students must lower a bucket on a rope into the well, submerge it at the bottom, and then haul it back up. The container and rope bring dirt back down with every haul, and the mud at the bottom of the well is also stirred up each time. The process is tiring and time-consuming, made even more frustrating by the congestion of students when they all need water at once during their scheduled breaks and lunch.

Since students' arms often tire out after a few pulls of the bucket, they typically work in pairs to carry their full containers back to the kitchen, further slowing down the process of water collection.

Another small dent in the school's water needs comes from a tiny plastic rain tank on campus. At just 5,000-liters capacity, it empties quickly and frequently and offers little relief.

When both of these sources are still not providing enough water, students are asked to carry water from home, and they are sent out to a spring in the community. These trips waste a lot of valuable class time, and students come in already too tired to focus. Combined with the absenteeism due to waterborne illnesses students catch from drinking the dirty well water, their academic performance is being dragged down.

Even though some of the water students fetch starts out clean, dirty containers and other contaminated sources jeopardize everyone's health when the water is combined for use back at school. There is no method for treating the water students collect. According to Deputy School Principal Mr. John Wekesa, there was a time recently when most of the students in the school were diagnosed with typhoid due to the school water.

"When there is no water in our tank, I do prefer not to drink water from the well after a break because when students constantly draw water from the water point, it gets dirty," said Denis, a student at the school.

Denis also expressed his frustration at how the very process that lets you fetch water by pulling the bucket up from the rope also dirties the water due to the rope and bucket dropping back down into the water. Contamination, the students know, is unavoidable at this source.

"The problem of insufficient water in the school doesn't affect students alone," said Mr. Wekesa.

"Also us as teaching staff - we do face a lot of challenges especially after the tea break and after lunch where students have to take much time scrambling for water to wash their utensils. They end up being late to class. If [you are teaching] the next lesson after the tea break or lunch break, you may run short of time because students take time to settle."

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 currently just 2 handwashing stations attached to the latrines for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch. These stations are overcrowded, however, and often lack the water to make them functional since the school cannot spare it to keep them full.

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

We will hold a 1-day intensive training session with students, teachers, and parents. This 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

June, 2021: Friends School Manguliro Secondary Project Complete!

Friends School Manguliro Secondary in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which can collect 75,000 liters of water! We installed new latrines and handwashing stations for students, and we trained the school on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention. These components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Students clink glasses to celebrate the rain tank's completion.

"Access to reliable, safe water will impact my life very positively. One, I will be accessing water within closer proximity. Also, because of the additional water source, the scramble for water will reduce much. Waterborne and water-related diseases will be eliminated, so I will not be worrying about it anymore," said student Purity, the elected Secretary of the new student health club formed at training.

"I will be having much time for studies because we will not be scrambling for water anymore. The time that I used to waste before queueing for water will be utilized for studies, and this will translate to better performance."

Purtiy enjoying the water point.

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

"Now that we have reliable, safe water, I will not be worried about using it for drinking as it used to be before. Also, I don't have to carry purchased bottled water for drinking to school. Besides that, I am very optimistic that we will be having enough time for lessons because the challenge of students scrambling for water at one water point has been dealt with through the implementation of a new water point," said Deputy Principal John Wekesa.

"The water point will greatly help us when it comes to sanitation and hygiene in the school. Due to the availability of enough water, we are very sure that we will be teaching in a clean and conducive environment that can make us comfortable and our students. Besides that, we will try to venture into agriculture within the school since we have a portion for farming. The water will help us in watering crops when there is no rain."

Madam Principal and Deputy Principal John Wekesa celebrate the rain tank.

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

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

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. The school’s kitchen staff and a few parents helped provide meals for the artisans, while the school provided the artisans’ accommodations. Local women and men helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Rain tank site excavation

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.

Pouring concrete foundation

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.

Plastic sack-covered wire wall form ready for cement

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

Interior cement work

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.

Exterior cement work

We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside the tank, installing a short staircase. In front of the access area, we constructed a soak pit where spilled water can drain from the access area through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Drawing area construction

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls settled. We attached a dome skeleton of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering it using similar techniques as the wall construction. We included a small manhole cover into the dome to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

Pillar construction

We propped long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside the tank to support the dome while it cured. Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting a lockable cover over the tap area, affixing the gutters to the roof and tank, and setting an overflow pipe in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Dome work

Once finished, we gave the rain tank three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. Finally, we removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tank.

We officially handed over the rain tank to the school directly following the training. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. The event was an excellent 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.

Students, the Principal (right) and Deputy Principal (left) celebrate the completed rain tank.

VIP Latrines

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

Girls pose at their new 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 pose at their new 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 wash their hands at the stations properly, make sure the stations are filled with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

Handwashing using a new station

New Knowledge

We scheduled hygiene and sanitation training with the school’s staff, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for pupils and teachers. When the training day arrived, facilitators Jonathan Mutai and Wilson Kipchoge deployed to the site to lead the event. 21 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside near the rain tank and inside a Form Four classroom. The venue was good, clean, and well ventilated. Participants sat comfortably following the set COVID-19 protocols.

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.

Tippy tap construction lesson

The club will be significantly 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.

Trainers watch as a student practices the ten steps of handwashing.

The most memorable topic was how to put on and wear a face mask properly. During this session, it came to our attention that part of the participants couldn't differentiate the inner part from the outer side of their masks, or the top from bottom, especially among those who were using the surgical face masks. The students became eager to correct themselves and began checking themselves and others to ensure they were now in the right.

Mask-wearing session

"Initially, during the onset of the COVID-19 disease, each and everyone was very scared of the disease, and one could take precautions according to what the Ministry of Health was expecting. But since we resumed classes, things started to change, like no social distancing and, at times, no wearing of face masks. It's not until today that our minds are refreshed. The knowledge gained today will help me not to take things for granted. The COVID-19 disease is still on and real, and also waterborne, and water-related diseases are still there. Hygiene and sanitation must be exercised too," said student Purity, the elected Secretary of the new student health club formed during training.

Practicing using the elbow for safer coughs and sneezes.

"I personally learned a lot. We have been pressuring our parents to use the money to purchase other things like handwashing stations beyond their budget. Yet, we have the local materials within us around our homes, like used containers, that can be improvised to serve the purpose of handwashing exactly like those handwashing stations that are purchased. The knowledge gained on how to construct a tippy tap and leaky tin will help not only me alone but also my family because I will have a duty to construct at least one at my home for washing hands," she said.

Dental hygiene demonstration

We asked Purity what it was like to be at home for most of the last year due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures and what it has been like coming back to school.

"It impacted me much negatively because even at home, we were not safe. Another negative is that I didn't transit to the next class. I missed routine school activities like attending class lessons, break time, practical exercises, eating lunch together with my friends, and games time where we play a lot with my friends," Purity reflected, noting Kenya's national decision to have all pupils repeat their academic year in a condensed semester since returning to school last January.

"I am very excited to be back in school. Following school routine activities and meeting and playing with my friends makes me feel so happy."

"Before today's training, the school has been trying to stop the spread of the virus by taking and recording temperatures of each student every morning and acting strictly on handwashing with soap as you enter the school compound because we are all day scholars. There is also a routine inspection of face mask-wearing as physical distancing at school at times is hard to achieve because of inadequate desks and classrooms."

"In the school, I have a mandate to disseminate the information acquired today to the rest of my colleagues and also at home and with my neighbors. Besides that, I have learned how to construct a simple leaky tin and a tippy tap, so I will have to construct one at my home and teach my siblings how to wash hands properly following the ten steps of handwashing."

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 to assist them. Also, 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!

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: A Bright Future as a Journalist Ahead!

June, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Manguliro 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!

20-year-old Loice told us what life was like for her at Manguliro Secondary School before we installed a rain tank there last year.

"We used to get water from a nearby spring where I could spend most of my morning prep time to get water instead of studying," she said. "But now I arrive at school early and do my assignments on time."

The school's headteacher told us that before there was a water source on school grounds, students would take advantage of the opportunity to steal sugarcane from nearby farms and skip class. Now that students don't have a chance to leave the school compound, everyone is better off.

"I save a lot of my time because I can easily get safe and clean water whenever I am thirsty then go back to class and continue with my studies unlike before," Loice said. "Before, I could not quench my thirst that easily."

Now, Loice is proud of her academic achievements and has the mental space to dream of her future.

"I have really improved in my studies," Loice concluded. "I now see a bright future ahead of me, whereby I aspire to be a journalist."

Loice carrying water fetched from the rain tank.

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 Manguliro 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 Manguliro 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 - Imgao Dei Community
22 individual donor(s)