Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 403 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/03/2024

Project Features

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Galona Primary School was established in 1975 under the sponsorship of the Galona Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church. For many years before then, pupils from Galona Village used to walk long distances to go to school in other areas. They had to cross a river that had only logs for a bridge, and one time some pupils slipped and drowned in the river as they were crossing.

That is when the Church decided to start a school that could serve the local community. It began with a total of 56 pupils but the numbers have since grown to 389 pupils and 14 teachers and staff. The school sits on a 0.3-hectare piece of land with classrooms, an administration block, kitchen, and latrines. They also have a small garden where they have planted bananas, vegetables, and nappier grass.

What Galona Primary does not have, however, is water.

"We don't have any water source in the school compound, therefore, we have to ask pupils to fetch water from the spring for use. This leads to a wastage of time that could be used to study and play. This has led to poor performance in classwork. Cases of absenteeism are also high because pupils suffer from waterborne and water-related diseases like typhoid and diarrhea due to the consumption of contaminated water," explained Deputy Head Teacher Hudson Asava.

In an attempt to meet all of the school's daily drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, pupils must collect water from a spring in the community. The pupils traverse farms and homesteads as they walk to and from the water source which is dangerous as sometimes they are chased by dogs. The path that leads to the spring is also steep and at times they slide, falling and hurting themselves. This is especially true when it rains.

Since the spring is shared with community members, pupils waste a lot of time as they wait for their turn to fetch water. Each trip to the spring and back to school is tiring and time-consuming, costing students' academic performance.

The spring is not well protected or maintained, and as a result, the quality of its water is compromised. When it rains, the spring water becomes cloudy and dirty and the pupils have to wait for it to settle first before they can fetch it. Students report cases of typhoid and diarrhea as a result of drinking this water, which further causes them to miss school and fall behind.

The water crisis at Galona Primary School also means that sanitation and hygiene are wanting since water is at the heart of many health-promoting practices.

"The state of cleanliness in our school is very poor due to lack of sufficient water," said student Catherine.

"We have to minimize the use of water from the spring so that it can last for a longer time. In as much as we have leaky tins near the latrines, we only fill them with water in the mornings; once the water gets finished, we use the latrines and go to class without washing our hands! This has resulted in pupils suffering from hygiene-related diseases which affect the health of the pupils and in turn, it results in poor class performance."

"If we had sufficient water in school, we could clean our classes and latrines on a daily basis and also have clean and safe water for drinking. We would concentrate more on classwork and improve our grades," she continued.

Currently, all of the latrines and classrooms are only cleaned once a week despite their unhygienic state. Pupils and teachers know they are not reaching their full potential as a school, but the severe lack of water is holding them back in their health, their grades, and their development.

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

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: Galona Primary School Project Complete!

Galona 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 celebrate the completed rain tank.

"Access to clean water in school will make me healthy. This is because the water will be clean and safe for consumption. I will concentrate more on my studies and, from today, I will be following my personal timetable well. This is because I didn't follow my timetable most of the time. After all, we used to fetch water, which disrupted my studies a lot," said pupil Valentine.

Valentine raises a glass of clean water in celebration.

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

"My life will change for the better because access to clean and safe drinking water means no more waterborne diseases, rather, healthy living. I will no longer worry about the health and well-being of my pupils here in school," said school Head Teacher Margret Andaye.

Head Taecher Margret Andaye poses at the rain tank/

"Now that water is accessible here in school. I will no longer have to follow up with children every time, reminding them to carry water from home every day. All the time wasted will be used to plan how the school will achieve good results."

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.

Community members help mix concrete.

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.)

Setting the pipe system

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.

Setting the pillars inside the tank

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.

Water flows from the completed 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.

Students celebrate the presence of clean water on campus.

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.

Students pose in front of a block of new VIP 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.

Girls pose while using a new handwashing 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 Olivia Bomji and Samuel Simidi deployed to the site to lead the event. Twelve students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside the school classrooms under a tree. This enabled us to maintain physical distancing and ensure plenty of fresh air to keep participants comfortable.

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.

Trainer Sam demonstrates the ten steps of handwashing.

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 its 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.

Dental hygiene demonstration

The most memorable topic was handwashing. The pupils enjoyed learning how to make a leaky tin in school and how easy it is to use. They promised to help their parents make one at home. Mask-wearing was the second most memorable topic because the pupils were surprised to learn that a mask should be washed every day for the washable ones. The disposable ones should be disposed of well to prevent environmental pollution. The pupils admitted they had been doing the opposite all along, but they will do it the way it should be done since they have learned.

Trainer Olivia leads the proper mask-wearing session.

"The training made me understand the importance of general hygiene and sanitation. This will help me do things right and differently than I used to do because I now know the advantages of staying in a clean environment and how healthy it is to stay in a clean environment," said student Mishel.

"This training was valuable to me because I now understand the importance of washing hands as many times as possible to protect myself from COVID-19. This training has enlightened me on protecting my friends, family, and myself from COVID-19 by washing hands, wearing a mask, keeping physical distance, avoiding crowded places, and sanitizing our hands," said student Kelvin, the elected Assistant Chair to the new student health club.

Students learn how to make a simple kitchen garden using recycled materials and drip irrigation.

We asked Kelvin 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.

"Learning was not taking place, and this forced me to repeat the same class," he said, citing a national decision to have all students complete their missed year of school in a condensed term this year instead of immediately moving ahead.

"I missed my friends a lot, and of course, learning with my classmates. I feel good that I am back to school because I can see my friends and teachers again after many months."

Handwashing practice

"The school ensured that we have adequate handwashing stations around the school compound. The pupils were given one washable mask each by the school administration, and this made us feel safe from COVID-19 while in school."

"I plan to ensure that I wash my hands at school and back home, too. Today we learned how to make a leaky tin, and I will ensure that I will make some back at home so that my siblings and family will be protected because they will be 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: Galona Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Galona 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 now strong and healthy."

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Galona 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 high-capacity rain catchment tank at Galong Primary School last year, students carried the burden of fetching water every day - literally.

"Much pressure was put on the students to avail water for use in school," explained 12-year-old student Abigail. "Everywhere you could go, you would always find students carrying jerrycans, either empty or filled with water. One would only be allowed in school after availing a jerrycan filled with clean water. This was our school norm. No water? You will not be allowed to get in school."

But one year later, the students can stroll into school with only their books because water is available on school grounds.

"One is able to access water at any given time of need," Abigail said. "We no longer get pressure from the teacher on duty sending us to go fetch water out of the school compound. As a school, water issues [have] been solved. We only need to take care of [the rain tank] to avoid future breakdown. We have sufficient water for cooking, cleaning, washing hands and also drinking."

Without so much worry about the present, Abigail now looks forward to her future. "We will forever live a healthy life, free from illnesses and other related waterborne diseases. I am now strong and healthy."

Abigail at the tank with teacher Hudson Avala and our field officer.

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 Galona 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 Galona 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.


Amgen Foundation
Numined Diamonds
The Thomas and Pamel Proctor Charitable Fund
United Way of the Capital Region
North Dunedin Baptist Church
63 individual donor(s)