Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 343 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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(Some photos pre-date the pandemic.)

"Being a student in this school, I face quite a number of challenges related to water, but this has not affected the determination I have toward my studies," said highly motivated student Ann.

"We, especially during the short breaks, are requested to go fetch water at the spring. During this engagement, we waste a lot of time at the spring due to congestion and this eats into our lessons."

Ann is one of 330 students who attend Gimomoi Primary School along with 13 teachers and staff. Though it is one of the oldest schools in the area, established in 1982 by the Salvation Army Church, Gimomoi has retained a small student body due to having no source of water on campus. Most parents have avoided admitting their students into the school for fear of their children being sent to go fetch water at a community spring or, worse, open sources such as the one below.

Students make their first daily trip to fetch water when they arrive at school at 7:00 am. Because this water is the sole source for all of the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, students are sent back out throughout the day to fetch more water. Each trip is tiring and time-consuming. Students come back to class already drained and often have trouble focusing due to their lack of energy. Their academic performance is being dragged down accordingly.

The spring students use was at one point protected, but it has not been managed well and the structure is no longer sound. Because of this, the school questions the spring water's quality but has no means of treating it. The open water sources some students choose in an effort to avoid the lines at the spring and hurry back to class are unquestionably contaminated. One is a muddy puddle with storm drain runoff found along the road to the school.

Students' containers are also quite dirty, and the staff has no way of managing students at the collection points due to their crowding. But crowding is the way students try to speed up the process and get back to class sooner, even if it means they get a little extra dirt in their containers or put their hands over their bottles' openings. The accompanying staff, therefore, cannot bring themselves to ask the students to slow down.

The water students collect is combined for use at school, so even one dirty container means everyone is at risk for contracting waterborne diseases.

"Last year, I was diagnosed with typhoid infection and this I can relate to the water I drink here in school as most of the time it is never treated. We are not able to monitor students carefully at the spring fetching water due to the congestion," said Head Teacher Mr. Geoffrey Mukutsi.

Water-related illnesses lead to high rates of absenteeism for both students and teachers, further affecting students' grades. The illnesses are expensive to treat, often forcing both the school and parents to reallocate resources that were intended for other necessities.

Students like Ann, however, are undeterred by the challenges they face due to their current water crisis. Imagine what Ann and the rest of her friends will achieve when we help remove this barrier.

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

There are far too few latrines for the number of students who attend this school.

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

October, 2021: Gimomoi Primary School Rainwater Tank Complete!

Gimomoi 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.

"I will no longer be fetching water from the stream," said Joy.

Joy at the new tank.

"Since we have water in school now, [I] am sure I will have more time to be in class. I will be able to make my own timetable and follow it strictly to improve my grades more."

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

"As a teacher, I know clean and safe flowing water in school means living healthy," said Walter Uganda, the school's Head Teacher. "I will no longer have a fear of getting sick because of consuming water children get from home."

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.

Students assist our artisans with excavation

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.)

We cast one central and four support pillars inside the tank 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. We constructed a soak pit in front of the access area 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 (Olivia Bomji, Samwel Simidi, Nelly Mtai, and Jemimah Khasoha) deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-one students and teachers attended the training, which we held on the grounds of a nearby church that permitted us to set up outside.

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.

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

Learning handwashing techniques.

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, ensure the stations are filled with water and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

Handwashing turned out to be the students' favorite topic. They were making fun of how they used to wash their hands, and some students confessed to enjoying handwashing now!

"I have learned that general sanitation and hygiene is very important because it defines the well-being of a person," said Mitchel, the new student health club's secretary. "[I] am sure the way we have been doing things will change in school and even back home."

Mitchel brushing her teeth during the training.

Students weren't the only ones to learn new things. Teacher Diane Achono learned more about the pandemic and virus prevention. She said: "The training was so valuable to me, and [I] am sure from today, I will be able to protect myself and those around me from COVID-19 by ensuring that I follow all the COVID-19 guidelines; that the Ministry of Health gave."

We asked Diane 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.

Physical distancing.

"I was unable to achieve the targets that we had planned with my pupils, and it forced us to recap again to reach the level we were before," Diane said. "I missed my pupils and teaching a lot."

Now that the rain tank, latrines, and training have all been completed, Head Teacher Walter Uganda is excited about the school's—and the student's—futures. "I will be teaching all my lessons and extra lessons without postponing as I used to do. [I] am sure that the grades of my pupils will improve because they have more time to be in class and not fetching water."

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!

August, 2021: Gimomoi Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Gimomoi 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: "I look forward to school days."

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Gimomoi 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!

When we first visited Gimomoi Primary School, the students spent much of their time searching for and collecting water instead of being in class learning.

"[Fetching water] was such a hard and boring task. I did not enjoy it at all. Sometimes we would have to be sent to go out during class hours to go get water, especially when guests were around," said 12-year-old Reacy S.

But once we installed a rain tank on the school campus, things changed for Reacy and his classmates.

"School has become a very interesting place to be in. I look forward to school days because I know all it takes is standing at the tap and getting water," Reacy said.

Now, not only is it easy to access water right at their school, but students have all of the time back that they used to spend collecting water to put towards other activities.

"I love playing football. Now with more free time in the evening after class, I hope to get into the school team and pursue it to my level best," concluded Reacy.

Reacy (in yellow) with other students and staff by 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 Gimomoi 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 Gimomoi 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
Rotary Club of Chestfield Walk 4 Water 2021
1 individual donor(s)