Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 381 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/03/2024

Project Features

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"Water scarcity is really affecting this institution and this has forced the management of the school to request that students draw water from their homes for school use. This has really affected our normal learning hours, thus destabilizing our school's performance. Right now, our school is not performing well and we can tell why," said the Deputy Head Teacher of Ivola Primary School.

Founded in 1958 and sponsored by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church, Ivola Primary School has 365 students, 16 teachers, and yet no source of water on school grounds.

Each day, students are asked to carry water from home before arriving for their first lessons at 7:00 am. Then, as the day progresses and the water runs out, the pupils are sent home again during lunch and at any other time as needed to fetch more water. The students' water is the only source for the entire school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, yet it is difficult to meet these needs when depending on such young children with small containers to carry enough water. Each walk with water not only takes away students' precious learning time, but it often leaves them too tired to focus when they are in class. To both the students' and teachers' dismay, pupils' academic success is declining accordingly.

Students collect water from a number of sources at home, but the teachers are not able to monitor them and so the quality and safety of these sources are questioned. A spot check of the students' containers used for carrying water to the school revealed that they are not clean. Quite a number had no covers, further exposing the water to contaminants. Even if the students fetched water from a clean and safe source, their own containers would contaminate it. Because the water is combined for use at school, even 1 contaminated source means everyone suffers.

"We have had cases of diarrhea in our institution for years now and this we relate to the challenge of water in our institution. Our classrooms can go a week without being cleaned, especially during the drought season, due to the unavailability of the precious commodity," said Head Teacher Sir Mark Kijo.

Water-related illnesses are keeping students home, further affecting their grades and making their families spend a large number of resources on treatment and medication.

The school struggles to accomplish even basic levels of sanitation and hygiene. The school feeding program is affected when the cook cannot properly wash all of the cooking utensils. The latrines and classrooms are not thoroughly cleaned, and sparing any water for handwashing is out of the question.

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

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

November, 2021: Ivola Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Ivola Primary 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.

"First of all, [I] am going to be healthy compared to other years when I used to be sickly," said Prudence A, a 13-year-old student. "Time wasted because of absenteeism is going to be recovered then performance will improve."

"We have been bringing water from home for cleaning our classes and the water was not enough," Prudence continued, "but now we have enough water so the school compound is going to be neat."

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

"This reliable and safe water is going to change my life because I have been suffering from waterborne diseases and spending a lot of money, but now my life has changed," said teacher Rebeca Makanga. "(I) am healthy compared to other years and the money that was used for medication has been diverted to the school fees of my children."

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.

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.

We officially handed over the rain tank to the school. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus.

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, Rose Serete and Mable Ashihundu deployed to the site to lead the event. 25 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under the tree in the schoolyard.

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 encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

"The training was valuable because I thought that washing hands was a joke, but through the training, I have learned ten steps of handwashing and I promise to train my family members and friends," said Whitney M.

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 was valuable to me because I didn't know the ways of washing hands and soap making but through this training, I have learned how to wash hands and make liquid soap, so I am going to buy chemicals make the soap and sell to the school and my neighbors at home," said Davin O.

We asked Davin 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.

"When the schools closed due to COVID-19 I was really affected because this made me not interact with my teachers and schoolmates. The end result was that I forgot some topics that I had learned. It was hard for my study at home alone."

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!

October, 2021: Ivola Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ivola 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: "Water-related infections are now a thing of the past."

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ivola 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 we installed a rain tank at Ivola Primary School, students had to leave school grounds multiple times a day to fetch water just so that the school could continue functioning.

"Students used to walk out of the school compound to fetch water for use in school," said 14-year-old Eperphroditus. "Water collection was carried out in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening. It was tiresome for me."

Now, with a water source right on the school grounds, the students can stay where they belong - in class.

"Access has been made easy," Eperphroditus continued. "Water is drawn using the tap whenever one is in need. Access is convenient, as the water tank has been installed in the school compound. This has helped curb time wastage."

Having water close at hand changes everything, as Eperphroditus explained.

"Typhoid and other water-related infections [are] now a thing of the past," he said. "Treating our water on [a] regular basis has helped me consume clean, safe water at all times. [The] availability of clean, safe, sufficient water in [the] school compound will allow for a good learning environment for me and fellow students."

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 Ivola 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 Ivola 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.


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