Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 424 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/06/2024

Project Features

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"My name is Ivy and I am in Class 7. Our worst challenge is when we have no water in school. We need to balance between studying and bringing water. I am going to Class 8 next year and my dream would be to have clean water so that I get enough time to study. Thanks for remembering our school," said a smiling and hopeful Ivy.

Ivy is just 1 of 411 students and 13 teachers and staff at Shikomoli Primary School who rarely have access to clean water at school. With the school possessing just 1 small, plastic rain tank with only 5,000-liters capacity, the norm at Shikomoli is to have students carry water from home. Every student is checked at the school gate for a container of water, which pupils have to carry along with their books up the hill to the school grounds.

This burdens students on their walk to school, slowing them down and often causing them to miss their morning preps and first lessons. On days of high water demand or when the school has other social events, pupils are sent back out during lunchtime to collect more water. Inevitably, they come back late and miss some of their afternoon lessons too. Each trip is tiring and time-consuming for students, who arrive to class already tired and unfocused. The impact of the water crisis on students' academic performance here is noticeable.

"Lack of water in the school has led to a lot of time-wasting as the pupils have to walk uphill with a water container and books. This waste of time has resulted in poor performance in our school. We believe with improved water supply in the school, there will be improved performance in the national examinations," Head Teacher Mr. Bethuel Burmen said.

The school does have a LifeStaw filter, but on the days when pupils have to fetch water from unknown sources that are not safe for drinking, not all water makes its way through the filter before use. This causes stomachaches and diarrhea throughout the student body since the students' water is the sole source for all cooking, drinking, and cleaning needs for the entire school population. Waterborne illnesses further take pupils out of class while they seek treatment.

The school does take steps to manage their hygiene and sanitation, but they are kept from reaching their full potential by the lack of water. Classrooms and latrines are minimally cleaned, and there is just 1 handwashing station that is not always full. This contributes to the cycle of fecal-oral disease transmission, cases of student illnesses, and absenteeism.

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: Shikomoli Primary School Project Complete!

Shikomoli 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 jump for joy in front of their completed rain tank with water already flowing.

"From now on, I will use the time wasted to fetch water for my studies and also clean our classroom daily, and not weekly, as before. We will use this water for drinking, cleaning our latrines daily, and also we have a feeding program at school so no more time-wasting," said pupil Esther, whom the students elected Chair of their new student health club following training.

Students make a splash in celebration.

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

"This is a God-sent project to our school, for which we are so grateful. We have been drinking water that we do not know where it was coming from, but now that we have this water point, no more worries. Our students have been going to the nearby spring to fetch water, even in the middle of a lesson. We wasted a lot of time that was meant for the lesson. Now that we have the water point around, we will concentrate on improving our performance which I am sure we will achieve," remarked teacher Lorine Akinyi.

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 carry logs to the construction site.

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.

Setting 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 tank

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.

Interior plaster

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.

Building the pillars

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.

Dome work

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.

Students point to water flowing from the rain tank.

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.

A boy makes a splash to celebrate the rain tank.

VIP Latrines

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

Girls pose and jump in celebration in front of 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 the doors to 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.

Girls wave clean hands in thanks for their handwashing station.

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.

Handwashing at a new station

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 Stella Inganji and Amos Emisiko deployed to the site to lead the event. 18 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside under a tree because it was a sunny day and inside the classroom was too hot. There was enough space to observe physical distancing making the environment conducive to learning.

Physical distancing demonstration

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.

Elected student health club leaders and their faculty advisors.

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.

Session on proper mask wearing

Menstrual hygiene management became the most memorable topic. Often, menstrual hygiene management in primary schools has been ignored or limited when discussed, which becomes an issue for girls who start menstruating before entering secondary school. Participants were very attentive to getting adequate education on menstrual hygiene for both boys and girls, which, in the end, will help reduce the teasing of menstruating girls.

Student health club faculty advisor demonstrates contactless greetings to students.

"Personally, I am grateful for your organization coming to our school for this training. I have learned how to wash hands, which I have been doing wrong, but from today I am going to change my personal hygiene behavior," said student Samuel, the elected treasurer of the student health club.

Mask-making lesson

"The training has been very valuable. I now know how to brush my teeth properly and how to store the brush after use. Also, I now know the ten steps for handwashing which I will also teach my classmates," stated pupil Esther, the health club's elected Chair.

We asked Esther 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.

"Bad, we lost a lot of time that we would have been studying. At home, I could not study because I have to help do house chores. I missed learning, my friends, and my teachers. I enjoyed school a lot when being taught by our teachers."

The training group poses at the end of the session.

"I am very happy now we will have the chance to be taught again by our teachers and time to learn new things. The school bought thermal guns used to measure our temperature whenever we come to school, they also gave us masks, and we have handwashing points for washing hands."

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: Shikomoli Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Shikomoli 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: No More Carrying Water to School!

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikomoli 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 Shikomoli Primary School, the students were weighed down by the burden of supplying water for their school. Teachers checked students' jerrycans at the school gate each morning. Students without any or enough water would be punished or sent home.

"It was hard because we walked for long distances to get water," said 13-year-old student Wesley M. "This made me tired all the time."

But now that Shikomoli has a rain tank on school grounds, all Wesley needs to carry with him are his books and the desire to learn.

"It feels good because I now have more time in class than I used to," Wesley said. "Having clean water in school has made me healthy because I no longer [drink] dirty water from different sources. I now have enough time to study and do my assignments."

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 Shikomoli 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 Shikomoli 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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