Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 331 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/04/2024

Project Features

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There is no water at Saosi Primary School. In an attempt to make up for the severe water shortage here, the 320 students and 11 teachers and staff must carry water from their respective homes every day. This water is meant to sustain the entire school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, but the amount students can provide severely falls short of their requirements.

School staff are not able to monitor the sources pupils choose to fetch water from at home, but even home water sources that might be clean can be contaminated by students' dirty containers. The quality of water from some students' homes is often poor anyway; we spotted full containers varying from cloudy to muddy water and almost all lacking lids. Due to a lack of a common water storage system at school, it would be difficult to treat each student's individual container; most, therefore, are not safe for consumption but are used anyway.

The walk to school with containers full of water is tiring and time-consuming. Inevitable spills mean not just wet clothing, but wet books that leave students unable to write for most of the day. When students are asked to head back home to fetch more water during the school day, precious learning time is wasted. And when students drink the dirty water at school, they often contract waterborne diseases such as typhoid that keep them home and further drag down their academic performance. Teachers and students alike are struggling to remain healthy and stay in school.

"I have been affected health-wise because, since I came to this school in January, I have been treating my own case of typhoid," said teacher Violet Asuka.

"It is since then that I decided not to use water within school unless I carry some from home. The days that I forget to carry water, it makes me go thirsty until I get back home because the school is in the interior [of the community] where we do not have shops for even buying water. It affects my finances too."

The pupils and teachers are experiencing low morale not just from having to carry their own water, but also from the disagreements that develop between parents and teachers connected to the water shortage.

"As the Head Teacher, it has affected my appraisal of work. The classes are interrupted so as to release the pupils to go look for water and this lowers their performance. My goals are not met and this affects my relationship with the parents because of poor performance," said Mr. Joseph Kiplimo.

Parents insist the teachers can do more to help their children complete their lessons, but they are already in school from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm. The interruptions from looking for water are simply too many, but the school cannot decrease its already minimal water rationing.

Sanitation and hygiene are wanting at Saosi Primary School as well due to the lack of water. The latrines are not in good shape. The teachers do not have toilets at all, for the ones they were using were condemned by the Ministry of Public Health. These latrines now sit full and unsturdy with wooden X's preventing one's entry. The pupils' latrines are not private, for the doors do not lock and the floor is damaged. 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.

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

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

May, 2021: Saosi Primary School Project Complete!

Saosi 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.

Students make a splash to celebrate the completed rain tank.

"Access to safe and clean water will help me improve in my studies. When I get to school, the first thing is to get water, but I am happy that we have it on the school grounds. This waterpoint will help us have enough water for washing hands, cleaning our classrooms every week, and also washing our latrines to reduce odor and make them clean," said pupil Millicent.

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

"Access to reliable, clean water will have a great, positive impact on my life. We have been using pupils to go to the spring to fetch water, and we are not sure if they used to get clean water. Some pupils are notorious for indiscipline cases, and this is what makes us feel so good after receiving the project," said teacher Madam Violet.

"This waterpoint will help us greatly. The time pupils used to spend going to fetch water will be used to do remedial lessons which will improve their studies."

A teacher and student enjoy a drink of water from 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.

Students help mobilize construction materials.

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.

Laying 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.)

Affixing sugar sacks to the wire wall form

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.

Interior tank work

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.

Drawing point construction

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.

Preparing dome sugarsacks and wire

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. However, we could not hold a formal celebration with the whole school due to the ongoing national exams. Instead, the school headteacher, board of management chairperson, patron of the student health club, and two pupils were available to mark the occasion. The headteacher spoke on behalf of the rest of the school and passed their gratitude to the donors and other implementing partners. The field officer in charge appreciated them, too, to ensure the project was successful.

Complete rain tank with water flowing

VIP Latrines

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

Girls pose at 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 at 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. 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.

A students washes hands using a new station during training.

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 Jemmimah Khasoha and Joseph Wambua deployed to the site to lead the event. 22 students and teachers attended the training. We held the training in a classroom as there was not a place to be used outside as the school has a small compound with no trees. The classroom was spacious enough to accommodate the participants and also observe COVID-19 measures. The good air circulation gave the participants a hospitable and conducive environment for learning.

Physical distancing check

We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights, operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, handwashing stations, and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Handwashing session

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.

Proper mask wearing session

The most memorable topic was handwashing. This topic memorable was that many participants were complaining of their hands cracking due to continuous washing, especially with liquid soap. Others said washing hands makes their books get wet, for they are to air dry their hands after washing. The trainer encouraged them to learn to adapt to the new norm and be patient because change is gradual and that they will cope, saying that it was all for their good.

Mid-day stretch

"The training was very valuable. I loved the topic on kitchen gardening. This is because it has opened my mind to what to do during this long holiday apart from studies. I have been given ideas which will be helpful, like planting vegetables which I will sell, then buy school uniforms and shoes. I am therefore very grateful for the training," said student James.

Pupil James

"The training was very valuable in a way that it helped me get new information on how to manage COVID-19 together with my pupils. We have been taught how to prevent ourselves from contracting the virus," said teacher Mr. Martin, who is also a faculty advisor of the new student health club.

We asked Mr. Martin 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 school closed, I was impacted very negatively. I missed my colleagues and the relationships I had built with pupils. We could only talk over the phones for the teachers, but for the pupils, it was difficult."

"The impact we got after schools were closed was so huge. As a teacher, I had a hard task for the pupils to come back after forgetting everything they were taught. This made the syllabus drained. Thus, completing it was difficult."

Teacher Mr. Martin

"I feel very bad about the virus and how people are not adhering to the measures to stop the spread. I have worried because the rate at which it is spreading is very fast."

"The pupils have been reduced per classroom to allow social distancing. Everyone is required to come with a mask put on. We have water points at every entry to ensure frequent washing of hands. The school had put in place measures like handwashing points and also rearranging desks in the classrooms."

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: Saosi Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Saosi 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: Ample Time and a Thirst for Knowledge

June, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Saosi 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 13-year-old Shaline A. what life was like before Saosi Primary School got its own rainwater catchment tank last year.

"Before the project was implemented, water was the biggest challenge in this institution," Shaline said. "This is because, most of [the] time, I was sent to a nearby stream to carry water for both domestic use and construction in the school, which really affected my performance. [It] was making me miss two lessons per day."

But now, Shaline spends most of her time at school in class rather than carrying heavy jerrycans on her head.

"[The] availability of water has impacted me positively," Shaline continued. "I am no longer going outside the school looking for water and this has given me ample time to concentrate on my studies. It has also helped me improve in hygiene standards in terms of individual cleanliness."

This extra time concentrating on her mind has motivated Shaline to push herself even further toward academic excellence. Who knows where this boost will take her in the future?

"My performance is good," Shaline concluded. "There is no more wastage of time carrying water. Now, [the] availability of water has helped me to achieve my target when it comes to academic performance."

Shaline outside the school.

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 Saosi 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 Saosi 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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