Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 560 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

For the 545 students and 15 teachers and staff at Isikhi Primary School, water determines the daily schedule; or rather, its absence does. There is no water source on school grounds, so students are required to walk to a spring in the community for all of the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs.

Students arrive at 7:00 am to engage in cleaning and prep periods, with their normal classes beginning at 8:20 am. From then until 3:10 pm, there are several breaks - including lunch - when students are sent to the spring to fetch water. Their last trip off campus is at the end of the day before departing at 5:00 pm so that the following morning they will be able to start their morning chores and do the first cooking with water.

Each trip to the spring is tiring and time-consuming for pupils, making them miss a lot of precious class time. At the spring, pupils wait in long lines due to their own high number plus the need to wait for community members to finish collecting water first. Carrying the heavy water containers back uphill to school is a slow and awkward walk, especially for the younger students. The path to the spring is steep and narrow in some sections, becoming slick with mud during the rains.

"I get worried every time the students go to the spring because if any accident were to happen, I would be the one responsible," said Head Teacher Mr. Joshua Lumwajoi.

The spring has not been well maintained over the years. Damage to the main protection features, namely the headwall and spring box, are easily visible. Livestock have access to the water, and the drainage is blocked causing dirty water to accumulate at the drawing point. All of this brings the safety of the water students collect into question.

"I have a very sensitive stomach so I don't drink the water from the spring. I have to bring my own drinking water from home every day," said Deputy Head Teacher Evelyne Amboste. But the students have no other choice than to use this water every day.

In relation to Isikhi Primary's challenges dealing with the water crisis, their sanitation and hygiene are wanting. The latrines are almost full and most do not lock, offering no privacy to the crowds of students who scramble to use them each break. There is currently nowhere for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, let alone the water or soap 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: Isikhi Primary School Project Complete!

Isikhi 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.

"My life is going to change because I will never suffer from waterborne diseases, and I shall be healthy. I shall never be absent because I have clean and safe water for drinking," said student Ronaldo.

"This water point will enable us to practice farming, even during the dry season, and we shall sell vegetables to our teachers and earn some money, which we will use to buy enough textbooks, and the performance will improve."

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

"My life is going to change because having safe and clean water for drinking is going to reduce waterborne diseases, and I am going to be healthy. Money that was used for medication is going to be diverted to businesses. This water point will enable us to maintain cleanliness at school. Also, the hygiene standards are going to improve, and this will change the face of the school," said teacher Seth Amboso.

Teacher Seth Amboso takes a drink 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 and teachers help deliver materials 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.

Excavated rain tank site

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.)

Students help deliver water for construction and assist with the wire wall's placement.

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 plasterwork

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.

Affixing the gutters

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.

Complete rain tank

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. Instead of an even split, the school decided to allocate four latrines to the girls and two for the boys to match the girls' greater need for the new facilities.

Girls pose 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 in front of 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.

Students demonstrate handwashing using a new station at 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 Rose Serete and Valiant Sachita deployed to the site to lead the event. 17 pupils attended the training, which we held outside the classroom but under the shade of a mango tree where there was plenty of fresh air. We observed physical distancing, and the place was conducive to learning.

Pupils practice physical distancing.

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.

Dental hygiene demonstration

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.

Training in session

The most memorable topic was addressing myths and rumors about COVID-19. One pupil who raised her hand said that COVID-19 was a curse from God, at which the whole group of students laughed at her. According to her church, the pupil insisted that it was true, but the facilitator addressed this myth, explaining more about what the virus is and how it came to spread around the world. The second most memorable topic was how to sneeze and cough using the elbow. When the facilitator called upon one pupil to demonstrate, he raised his hands and sneezed in the air. This made people laugh, but the facilitator corrected him and showed him the best way to cough.

Brillian, elected Chair of the student health club

"The training was very valuable. I have learned a lot, like how to wash hands and brush teeth, and as the leader of the child health club, I am going to teach others about this new knowledge," said pupil Brillian, the club's elected Chair.

"The training was very important because I have known the ten handwashing steps and dental hygiene, which I am going to practice both at school and home," said Braving, a member of the club.

We asked Braving 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 due to COVID-19, I was affected. I could not remember whatever I had learned earlier, and I was not able to learn because my fellow students were learning online, and my parents did not have a smartphone, so I lost a lot. While school was closed, I missed learning programs, co-curriculum activities, and my friends at school. I am feeling better to be in school with my friends and continuing with the syllabus."

"Yes, I have worried because of the rate at which people are dying, and it is because of ignorance, but if we follow the rules and regulations, all shall be well," Braving said, adding that learning the ten steps of handwashing was the most valuable thing he learned that day.

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: Isikhi Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Isikhi 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 am certain that my dream will come true."

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Isikhi 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!

Last year, Isikhi Primary School's students were tired before the school day would even start, all because they had to lug heavy containers of water with them each morning.

"It was tiresome, and most of the time I didn't like going to school because I had to carry books and water from home," explained 11-year-old student Triza A. "As a girl, this was hard for me."

"Students would come in weary and wet from carrying water," said teacher Andrew Lungaho. "By the time classes started, the students were demoralized, thus [there was] minimal participation in class."

But now that the school has reliable water right on school grounds, students start each school day without struggle.

"Getting water now is fast and easy," Triza said. "You simply get to the tank and fetch water. The water is also very clean, and I love it. I strive to be neat and presentable when I come to school. With water in school, our school is now generally clean, and because of this, I have to also be clean to match the cleanliness of the school."

"Students are now more active in class," added Mr. Lungaho. "This, in turn, motivates me as a teacher to do the job I love with even more passion."

With fewer worries and struggles to contend with, Triza and Mr. Lungaho can now look toward their futures with optimism.

"Now, I love school more," Triza said. "I have put more effort [into] my studies, and I see myself improving with every exam we do."

"I have always wanted my students to do well," said Mr. Lungaho. "By this, they will turn out to be respected members in the community, with good careers. With water in school and students now fully concentrating on studies, I am certain that my dream will come true."

Triza uses the rain tank pump with Mr. Lungaho and another student closeby.

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 Isikhi 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 Isikhi 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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