Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 396 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

"As the head teacher of this school, I am always sad to see young children coming to school in the early morning cold with water; some of them come from so far," said Head Teacher Mr. Ronald Mahalo.

Mr. Mahalo works at Kapsogoro Primary School which currently serves 382 students taught and supported by 14 teachers and staff. Founded in 1998, this school has never been able to provide enough clean and safe water for its daily needs.

Currently, the school predominantly relies on students bringing water from home. Their only other water source is a small, 5,000-liter plastic rain tank that does not meet their needs for a population their size. It quickly goes dry.

Depending on young children to bring water is problematic for many reasons, not least of which is that they physically cannot carry enough water to meet all of the school's drinking, cleaning, and kitchen needs. Almost all students are sent home again mid-day during their lunch break to fetch water once more, and yet they still sometimes run out before the end of the day.

"The school feeding program requires a lot of water, hence when we do not have enough water most times, the school programs get interrupted, and I am the one answerable. This problem of lack of water in our school really denies me peace and affects my work as the head teacher, not to mention the dream of getting the pupils' scores higher in the national examinations," said Principal Mahalo.

The pupils also waste a lot of time carrying water to school, and as the principal mentions, it makes them tired and negatively impacts their academic performance.

"Carrying water from home really takes a lot of my time since I am a national examination candidate and I hope to perform well,"  explained 14-year-old student Eunice.

"At home, it's not easy to carry water that you didn't bring from the river already. Hence, you need to first go home, then collect water either in the evening after school or in the morning before leaving for school. Sometimes it's risky to go to the river late or very early because you also need to catch up with school time, so we will be fetching it alone and in the dark."

As Eunice knows, girls and women are most at risk when fetching water in remote and vegetated areas, especially in the dark. But for Eunice and her fellow students, their options are to either risk their safety or go without water. The choice is hardly a fair one.

Adding to the water stress at Kapsogoro Primary School are the ever-present cases of waterborne illnesses; typhoid and diarrhea are rampant among students. The containers students use to fetch water are not always clean, and some of the sources they rely on are questionable. Because the water is combined for use, even 1 contaminated source means everyone suffers. Without clean latrines or handwashing stations outside of them, the diseases continue to cycle through the student body and even the teachers, driving absenteeism year-round.

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

We will construct 2 triple-door latrine blocks using 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

July, 2021: Kapsogoro Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Kapsogoro Primary School 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.

"Having to get water from the stream to be used for cooking and drinking purposes at school put my health at risk. I would frequent the hospital with typhoid infections. But with this tank, I am assured of clean and safe water. Upon completion of this project, I am assured of not having to go for water during lessons. Now, I'll be able to focus and even finish the syllabus," said Victor.

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

"Before this project, learners used to fetch water from a nearby stream. Some never used to reach the water point. They would get standing water from the road. I have had to visit the hospital due to stomach issues. With this water point, I am assured of clean and safe water for drinking. With the completion of this water point, I will be able to cover the syllabus with no interruptions of learners having to go and fetch water during lessons," said Mr. Solano, teacher.

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.

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.

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.)

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. We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside of the tank, where we also installed 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Patience Njeri and Christine Masinde deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty students and teachers attended the training, which we held on the school campus.

It was a sunny morning, so the training was conducted outside, under a big tree. The weather was conducive, and there was adequate space where we could all maintain physical distance and ensure the free flow of air.

We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

The club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will be responsible for encouraging 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.

"Menstrual hygiene was the most memorable topic. At the start, participants were really shy to speak openly about the topic. After a few attempts by the facilitator, they opened up to speak about their personal experiences and challenges. Many of them shared about how challenging it was for them to get sanitary towels causing them to skip school and the pain that accompanied their menses, and how it affects them. We talked about how best to work through the challenges. It was a very interactive and active session. In the end, everyone felt happy and relieved," noted Patience Njeri, Field Officer.

"I have learned quite a lot that I didn't have knowledge of, especially on the issue of menstrual hygiene. I thought it was only a girl's thing, but I have come to realize that I play an important role in helping to stop the stigma around it. With my newfound knowledge, I will share it with my peers so that we can help in community transformation."

We asked Victor 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.

"I missed interacting with other learners in class. Competing with them in our studies and also in extracurricular activities. I'm so happy that I'm back to school. This means I get to continue with my studies again. I am looking forward to going to the next level in my education."

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!

June, 2021: Kapsogoro Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kapsogoro 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 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: No More Carrying Water to School!

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kapsogoro 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!

"Life before this water point was really hard," said 13-year-old student Alex S.

"We had to carry water from our homes. Some of us stay very far from school, [so] this was really a tedious exercise. Sometimes, we would be asked to go get water in the middle of lessons. This would mean going to the spring or river," Alex said.

Students of Kapsogoro Primary School were once asked to carry a 20-liter jerrycan full of water with them to school each morning. These days, all they need to bring is their books and a desire to learn.

"Now, getting water has become the easiest task," Alex continued. "I enjoy [it] because all I have to do is go to the tank and get my water for whatever purpose that I need it for. I now enjoy even waking up and going to school because I no longer have to carry a 20-liter water can from home."

And Alex has plans for the time and energy that have been freed up for him.

"I get more time for myself to engage in other activities, including extracurricular activities," Alex said. "I really enjoy football [and] I have now joined the school team. I hope to be better at it."

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 Kapsogoro 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 Kapsogoro 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.


Project Sponsor - In loving honor of my sister Taruna