Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 222 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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"Pupils in our school go through a hard time since they have to go to the spring several times a day to fetch water that is used in school. This has impacted their studies negatively because they don't get enough time to study and they also get tired which minimizes their concentration in class," said Head Teacher Mr. Seth Oyiero, explaining the water crisis where he teaches at Gidimo Primary School.

Gidimo Primary School has 209 students, 13 teachers and staff, and no sources of water on campus. Opened in 1979, both enrollment and the water and sanitation crisis at this school have only increased.

The school currently depends on a spring in the village as their main source of water, which is shared with community members. This means long wait times as community members insist on filling their containers first, leading to students being late and even missing some classes entirely as they try to fetch water every day. In turn, their academic performance suffers, along with the teachers' prep time who are sent to chaperone the students.

Pupils are expected to be in school by 7:00 am. On arrival, they pick up rubbish from the school compound and sweep their classrooms and the administration block. When they are done with cleaning, they rush to the spring to fetch water for use in school before they begin classes at 8:00 am. The path that leads to the spring is steep and slippery. Sometimes pupils fall and hurt themselves going to and from the spring, especially when it has rained.

Students break for lunch at 12:50 pm and after lunch, they have to go fetch more water before they resume afternoon classes at 2:00 pm. Games time starts at 4:00 pm but if it is a Friday, pupils go to the spring one more time to fetch water for thorough cleaning of the classrooms, offices, and latrines. The pupils then leave for home at 5:30 pm.

Though the spring was once protected, it has not been maintained. As a result, the quality of the water is questionable, putting students' and teachers' health at risk. Adding to the school's health challenges is the overwhelming need for improved sanitation and hygiene, often hindered by the lack of water.

"The hygienic condition in our school is very poor because of the lack of sufficient water for cleaning our classes and latrines. Washing our hands after using the toilet is unheard of, yet dirty hands are major transmitters of hygiene-related diseases. The latrines are not sufficient and they are also not up to standards," said 14-year-old student Brenda.

"These challenges have led to a lot of absenteeism from school and some pupils drop out of school entirely, especially when they reach puberty."

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

The boys' latrines are in pathetic condition since they are almost full, dirty, and smelly. 3 of the girls' latrines are missing doors, but since they have no alternative they are forced to use them anyway.

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

April, 2021: Gidimo Primary School Project Complete!

Gidimo 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.

Splashing water to celebrate the newly completed rain tank.

"Before the construction of this water point, I had to bring at least 20 liters of water to school, but now, with this rain tank, I am assured of having water at all times, therefore having more time to engage in my studies. This should, in turn, help me improve my performance," said student Vallary.

"This water will ensure I have access to safe water at all times, therefore reducing the risk of contracting waterborne diseases due to unsafe water. Also, it ensures I have more time for learning and also participating in other extracurricular activities within the school that I have always wished to be in," Vallary added.

Fetching a drink from the rain tank

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

"Before installing the water point, my classes would be disrupted so that learners could get water for use at the school. Now with this rain tank, I am sure of uninterrupted lessons with my learners, and with this, I hope for better performance of the school at large. Also, I am assured of clean, safe water while at school," said teacher Tom Nyambetsa.

Teacher Tom Nyambetsa at 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.

Women deliver water for construction.

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.

Excavation begins

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.

Setting 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.)

Setting the tap and drainage pipes

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.

Interior plaster

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.

Building the pillars

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.

Outer plaster

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.

Setting up the gutter system

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 and Teacher Nyambetsa give thumbs up for the completed rain tank.

VIP Latrines

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

Girls pose in front of 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 in front of 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.

Clinton washes his hands at a new station outside the latrines.

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.

Sharon washes her hands at a new station outside the latrines.

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 Valian Sachita deployed to the site to lead the event. 22 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside under a huge tree within the school compound. The tree provided shelter from the scorching sun, and the area provided the needed space to maintain physical distancing.

Physical distancing check 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, 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Dental hygiene demonstration

The most memorable was the COVID-19 prevention session. The participants had so much to say about the current situation in the country. One of the learners had a story to share about an aunt diagnosed with the virus but was living in Nairobi. The learner urged everyone to be responsible for their own safety and ensure that all protocols are observed.

Active participation at training

Another memorable topic was using solar disinfection as a water treatment method. Many of the learners had never heard of that particular method, they said. They were really excited about it and said they would try it out and even teach it to others back at home.

Solar disinfection demonstration

"Today, I have learned a lot, especially on leadership and governance. I have always desired to be in a position of influence. With the set of skills gotten today, I hope to be of influence to my fellow learners and also to those around me," said Sharon, the elected Secretary of the new student health club.

Proper mask-wearing session

We asked Sharon 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.

"Being at home the entire time wasn't easy for me. Much of my time was spent doing house chores, and very little of my time was spent studying. This, in turn, dragged me behind in my studies and made me perform poorly upon resuming school. I missed participating in different competitions, including things like debates and mathematics, among others, and also interacting with other learners," Sharon said.


"I'm glad we're back to school. Now I can fully embark on my studies without external distractions and having to worry constantly. Our school has put in place handwashing facilities for learners to use. The school also ensures that learners come in wearing their masks."

"I have had my fears concerning the virus, especially this third wave that has come with other new signs and symptoms. Yes, I am worried, especially about my family and friends. I hope we will be able to beat it."

"I intend to ensure that we take the washing of hands at all times seriously. Also, I intend to ensure that my friends and I put on our masks properly, and not like we used to do it," Sharon concluded, referring to what she learned during the training session on proper mask-wearing.

Students get a clean drink 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 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!

April, 2021: Gidimo Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Gidimo 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: "It feels like heaven on earth!"

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Gidimo 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!

Gidimo Primary School student Valarie K., 15, shared how life was for her and fellow students before we installed a rain tank on their school campus last year.

"It was a mandate that every student fetch water for use in school," said Valarie. "Class hours used to be interrupted as students were requested to go fetch water when [the] need did arise. Walking two kilometers to the spring and coming back carrying water was not a walk in the park. It was hectic, tiresome, and breathtaking."

But since the rain tank was installed, things have been different for Valarie and her classmates.

"It feels like heaven on earth. I really enjoy every moment [of] being in school. I can now access clean, safe water every day for use without any difficulty," said Valarie.

"With ample time in my studies, I have started registering exemplary performance in my academics," concluded Valarie.

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 Gidimo 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 Gidimo 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 - UAE - Responding Together Campaign