Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 445 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/09/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

"Water is a precious commodity and the scarcity of it in an institution affects the entire school's functionality," said the Head Teacher at St. Kizito Kimarani Primary School, Mr. Joshua Rotich.

St. Kizito Kimarani Primary School was established in 1952 by Catholic missionaries with an initial enrollment of just 22 students and 2 teachers. It has since grown to its current population of 432 students and 13 teachers and staff, yet it still has no water source on campus.

An average day for pupils here begins at 7:00 am when they arrive carrying water from home. As students' personal water is the sole water source the school depends on for all drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, breaks for students to go home and fetch more water are intertwined into normal class activities. Students are always sent back during lunchtime too. The path between their homes and the school is long and hilly, proving a daunting task for any child to traverse several times a day while carrying such a heavy burden with them.

This relentless schedule of fetching water means classes are constantly disrupted and the pupils get too tired to concentrate on their classwork. Some students end up skipping afternoon classes altogether for fear of not being able to carry enough water back with them, either because they could not find enough or because they are too tired to make the trip. The school's academic performance is suffering because of it, to the chagrin of both teachers and students.

Students source their water for school from multiple sources at home. Without the school's ability to monitor the students at home, teachers are wary of the quality and safety of the water their pupils collect. Upon our inspection, the jerrycans students are using to carry water from home to school left a lot to be desired in terms of cleanliness. They were very dirty and they did not have covers.

Even if the water source they used was clean, a dirty container can instantly contaminate it and make it unsafe for drinking. Because the water is combined for use, even 1 contaminated source means everyone suffers. Water-related illnesses are another factor driving absenteeism in this school due to the consumption of the water.

"Personally, I am not able to access clean and safe water for drinking, making me gamble with the water students bring to school. On several occasions, I have had sore throat challenges and this I can relate to the water I drink here at school," said Deputy Head Teacher Ms. Sally Liguzi.

Compounding the students' and teachers' water-related health problems is the inability to maintain high standards of sanitation and hygiene due to their severe lack of clean water. Students are not fully able to clean the latrines, the school cook cannot always properly clean her cooking utensils, and handwashing is unheard of.

Then there is the poor state of the latrines. The girls' latrines are almost full and some of the doors are completely off their hinges, with pieces of bricks falling down around them. The girls' privacy is totally sacrificed and their safety put in danger just by using these latrines, but it is all they have. Both the girls' and boys' latrines are also overcrowded.

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

June, 2021: St. Kizito Kimarani Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

St. Kizito Kimarani 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.

"I will no longer think of carrying water from home every day. I am also guaranteed to access clean and safe water in school. I will concentrate more on my classwork and I am sure my grades will improve," said pupil Chelsea.

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

"Now that we have clean water flowing in the school compound, it will help teachers and pupils plan their work, and this will enable them to produce better results than what they used to get," said teacher Joshua Rotich.

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 Olivia Bomji, Betty Majani, and Stellah Inganji deployed to the site to lead the event. Seventeen students and teachers attended the training.

The training took place outside one of the classrooms under a tree. This enabled us to follow the COVID-19 guidelines of physical distancing while letting everyone breathe in the cool breeze and enjoy the good lighting.

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.

"The training has taught me to understand more on how COVID-19 is real and deadly. Being in the village has made me ignore all that has been said about COVID-19, but today I will ensure that I will protect myself and those around me. The fight against COVID-19 will only be achieved when people wear masks, wash hands, and keep physical distancing if they find themselves in crowded places," said student Chelsea.

"The training has been so valuable to me, and it has changed my way of thinking for the better. No one had ever taught me what general sanitation and hygiene entails, but today I have learned why it's important to maintain personal hygiene, oral hygiene, and environmental hygiene. The knowledge and skills that I have acquired today will enable me to live a healthy life both back home and here in school," she continued.

We asked Chelsea 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.

"Life and my way of living changed completely. Learning stopped. We were so idle, and at the same time, we were not allowed to visit friends. Staying indoors made me sad and lonely, and sometimes I found myself doing wrong things, and I would fight with my siblings all the time. I missed my teachers, classmates, and my friends."

Now back at school, Chelsea noted a positive change in her life. "I feel good because now I am learning, and soon I will be joining another class," referring to all Kenyan students' transition to their next school year this summer as the country sprints to make up for a lost school year.

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!

May, 2021: St. Kizito Kimarani Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Kizito Kimarani 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: "Life has become very easy and stress-free."

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Kizito Kimarani 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!

We asked student Abigael K., age 12, of St. Kizito Kimarani Primary School, what it was like for her before we installed a rain tank at her school last year.

"Before the project, each morning, I would have to go to school with water in a ten-liter container," said Abigael. "Also, after lunch, we would be asked to bring water to school. This was very challenging and hard. [The] failure to bring [back water] would mean being sent back home for the same."

But now, through installing the rain tank, the students' burden of collecting water from outside their school campus has been lifted.

"Now, life has become very easy and stress-free. All I have to do is to go to the water point and get my water. This has made learning fun and interesting. I no longer have to think of carrying water from home," said Abigael.

And thankfully, with the new latrines that we built and readily available water, the girls at Kizito Kimarani no longer have to sacrifice their privacy or dignity to use the facilities.

"With this water point in place, cleaning the latrines has been made easy [and] unlimited," said Abigael. "Before, it was only once a week. Now, we get to do it on a daily basis."

Abigael at 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 St. Kizito Kimarani 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 St. Kizito Kimarani 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 - Blanke Foundation
Google Employee Match
Ella's Mitzvah Campaign for Water
7 individual donor(s)