Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 306 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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(Some photos pre-date the pandemic.)

"The school has selected only four students to bring cooking water from one source so that we can be sure that the water is safe for cooking. Since I am one of them, it is strenuous because I have to miss a lesson to go home and bring water in case it is not enough for the day."

This is 15-year-old student Enock reflecting on how his school's water crisis has become a personal burden. Enock is just 1 of the 293 students and 13 teachers and staff at Givudemesi Primary School who face a severe water shortage at school every day.

Founded in 1992, Givudemesi Primary School has never had a water source on campus. Instead, it relies on students bringing water from home - but where they collect their "home" water varies.

Some students use a protected spring. Others opt for open surface water sources such as small creeks and storm runoff on the sides of the road to school to hasten the task. These roadside water sources are unquestionably contaminated and not safe for human consumption.

Because students' water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated source means everyone suffers. Waterborne illnesses among students are common, the school reports. Diarrhea and amoeba drive absenteeism, affecting the entire school community.

"Our staff members buy drinking water or carry it from home because they do not trust that the water sources used by the students are safe or clean," explained Deputy Head Teacher Mr. Nathan Muchela. There is no method of treating the collected water once at school.

Every day, each student must bring a container full of water from home in the morning, and then another one during lunchtime. As Enock mentioned, there are a select few who must return home for additional water even more frequently throughout the day.

For all of these students, the process is time-consuming and tiresome. They are often late to class or miss them entirely due to the time spent on the walk, and many arrive at school already too tired to focus. Their academic performance is, not surprisingly, negatively impacted.

Hygiene and sanitation standards at Givudemesi Primary School are below average since there is barely enough water to keep the school running as required. Healthy practices like washing the kitchen utensils, latrines, classrooms, and handwashing are often sacrificed.

"The students need free time to enjoy their studies and playtime without worrying about bringing water to school," said one teacher. We could not agree more.

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 two 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

Two triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls while the other three 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 one-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

January, 2022: Givudemesi Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Givudemesi School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank! 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 will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Mercy A., one of Givudemesi's students, said, "This water point will greatly impact my academics. I will now concentrate on my classwork because I will not be requested at some point to go and fetch water."

Mercy in front of the new rain tank.

Mercy added that she's sure the tank will aid her in achieving excellent academic performance. "With water in school, our classrooms will be washed frequently, reducing any chances of contracting any health complications emanating from the uncleanness."

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

Nathan at the new rain tank.

Deputy Head Teacher Nathan Muchella shared how he envisions improvements at the school now that they have safe water on school grounds. "Sending pupils home to fetch water gave them a chance to involve themselves in funny behaviors. With the water point installed in the school, this will be greatly reduced, therefore making my duties lighter. We also expect top-notch hygiene and sanitation standards."

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. Locals helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

Community members help with 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.

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 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.

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.


VIP Latrines

This project funded 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.

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, the facilitators, Elvis Afuya, Amos Emisiko, and Christine Luvandwa deployed to the site to lead the event. Head Teacher Nathan Muchella helped us recruit 23 students to attend the training, which we held under a shady tree in the school's compound.

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 health club's new leaders.

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.

Both the teachers and students were eager to learn about soap making. Deputy Head Teacher Nathan Muchella is confident that the school will no longer need to include soap amongst its expenses. Learners promised to adopt the technique and take it up from there.

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.

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.

"The training will definitely impact me," Mercy said. "I have learned how to correctly brush my teeth and generally clean my body. I'm therefore confident that my hygiene will be on a higher level. This will gradually boost my self esteem."


Mercy also shared how the training helped reinforce the lessons she and her classmates had learned about COVID-19. "We will seek to improve on what we have been previously doing. We will wear masks correctly and also wash our hands frequently and correctly as advised by our trainers."

We asked Mercy what it was like to be at home for much of 2020 due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures and what it has been like coming back to school.

Mercy fetching water at the new rain tank.

"My academics were really affected," Mercy explained. "We missed classes for one year. Back at home, we lived with lots of fear that any of our loved ones might contract the virus. I still have worries about the virus. But with the advent of the vaccination program, I am confident it will be a thing of the past. I really missed hanging out with my friends at school and, to be honest, I missed the P.E. (Physical Education) lessons. I am happy that schools were reopened. I'm now sure that I'll move to the next class and move closer to my future dreams."

When an issue arises concerning the rain tank, 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!

November, 2021: Givudemesi Primary School Rain Tank Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Givudemesi 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: Getting water is the easiest part of the day!

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Givudemesi 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!

"Before the project, getting water was such an uphill task for me," said 10-year-old Shakrider when describing what life was like for her and other students before we installed a rain tank at her school last year. "This involved me carrying a ten-liter bottle from home full of water. By the time I arrived at school, I was already tired."

"Getting [water] was a very big challenge because this meant having to send pupils for water in order to have enough to be used around the school premises," said 47-year-old headteacher James Mugadia.

But now that the school has water readily available in its high-capacity rain tank, collecting water is no longer a burden on students.

"Now, getting water has ended up being the easiest and most interesting part of the day. The pupils just run to the tank and open the tap and draw water from there," said Mr. Mugadia.

"Now, all I have to do is run to the tank, open the tap, and fetch my water. Now, I no longer go to class in the morning tired like before," said Shakrider.

And thankfully, with students' energy reserved, they can now focus on learning.

"Now, I concentrate better in class. I no longer come to school tired with heavy baggage. I have improved in my studies too. My marks have greatly improved," Shakrider concluded.

"This water point has helped me achieve coverage of the syllabus. Before the construction of the water point, most times, we would have to send pupils even during class hours to get water. This affected how promptly I would finish the syllabus. But since construction, I have more time with the pupils," Mr. Mugadia concluded.

Headteacher Mr. Mugadia with pupils near their 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 Givudemesi 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 Givudemesi 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 Underwriter - H2O for Life
ChangeBox Foundation
4 individual donor(s)