Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 170 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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A typical day for the 155 students of Friends Musiri Secondary School begins at 7:00 am when they arrive in school carrying water from home. The 15 teachers and staff check to make sure students' containers are full, or the pupils are sent back out if not. The school day continues until 4:00 pm with breaks between classes and lunch when students are asked to fetch more water from home.

Friends Musiri Secondary School was started in 2008 with just 6 students who borrowed class space from the primary school. The secondary section was started as a community project to cater to students who could not afford boarding fees at other schools. In 2016, the school moved to its current compound and now has its own classrooms, staff room, kitchen, and a few latrines each for girls and boys. But what the school feels most, however, is what it still lacks: its own source of clean water.

This is why every day, multiple times, students are required to make the trek home to carry water back to school. Each walk is tiresome and time-consuming and disrupts pupils' precious learning time, affecting their academic performance.

"The learning and teaching process is interfered with, especially when our students are requested to carry water to school every day. There are some who abscond classes for fear of carrying water to school," said Principal Julius Nyavuke.

Students pull from multiple sources when they collect water at home, and the school staff are not able to monitor the sources for their safety or quality. A spot check of the containers students use to carry their water to school showed that a majority were not clean on the inside. Quite a number had no covers, and this can also expose water to contaminants. Even clean sources of water are wasted in dirty containers, and since students combine water for use in plastic storage drums and pots at school, even 1 contaminated source means everyone is at an elevated risk for waterborne diseases.

"It being a scarce commodity in our institution, I am forced not to drink water even when I am thirsty for fear that it might be contaminated, especially when I forget to carry my own drinking water from home," said pupil Margaret, who trusts her family's water source over some of the other student's sources.

When students contract waterborne diseases, they miss school and have to spend time seeking treatment, which is expensive for both the school and parents. But, since the water students bring is the only source for the entire school population's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, it is consumed despite fears of it being unsanitary.

Hygiene is wanting in this school since there is often not enough water to spare for things like the 1 handwashing station outside the staffroom. With just 4 doors of latrines for the girls and 3 for the boys, the school is challenged by the overcrowding and overuse of the latrines compared to the student population.

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 just 1 handwashing station for students to clean their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, but rarely the water or soap 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

March, 2021: Friends Musiri Secondary School Project Complete!

Friends Musiri Secondary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which has the ability to 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.

"This water point will help me realize the hope for a better future. With this water point in school, I see myself excelling in my examinations as much time will be created for my class studies. Cases of absenteeism for fear of not carrying water to school will now be a thing of the past," said pupil Brendah.

Brendah holds high a glass of clean water from the tank.

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

"With clean, sufficient water for drinking directly in the school compound, I see myself living a better, healthier life. The water point will improve standards at the school, and this will lead to better academic performance among the students," said Principal Julius Kidambu.

Principal JuliusKidambu at 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.

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.

Pouring the rain tank's concrete foundation

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.

Interior plastering

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.)

Exterior cement and plastering.

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 of the tank, where we also installed 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.

Working on the dome.

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.

Plastering the drawing point.

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.

Boys taking a drink from the rain 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 a great 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. The school Principal, Julius Kidambu, shared a thanksgiving prayer for all who helped make the project a reality. Happiness and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Students celebrating water in the tank.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of 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.

Student Brendah washes her hands at a new 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.

Student Stephen washes his hands at a new station.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the principal's help, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for the school. When the training day arrived, facilitators Samuel Simidi and Victor Musemi deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside under the trees' shade within the school compound. "Hot!" would be ideal to describe the weather condition of the afternoon. The training venue was conducive to physical distancing and enabled effective demonstrations throughout the training stages.

Trainer Patience reviews the proper way to put on and wear a mask.

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 greatly 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.

Trainer Sam shows students how to build a simple kitchen garden using recycled containers and drip irrigation.

The session on kitchen gardening led by Trainer Sam was the most memorable topic. Participants learned how to build these simple gardens using recycled materials, like old plastic bottles and a homemade drip irrigation system. The students were really engaged during this session and were happy having learned of a new tool, which they promised to try out at home.

Dental hygiene demonstration

"Today's training has been timely considering the times we are living in. Much has been said, and we have learned quite a several new things related to good hygiene practices. As a student of this school, I promise to lead other students into healthy habits at school and home to better our lives," said Yvonne, the elected Secretary of the students' new health club.

"The training has shed more light on how I should handle myself so as not to contract the virus. Living a healthy life will ensure that I complete my studies successfully and, in return, live a good life in the future. Being one of the participants, I promise to educate the school and my community at large so that we all live COVID-19 free," said Stephen, the club's elected Chair.

Pupil Stephen, elected Chair of the new student health club

We asked Stephen 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.

"COVID-19 has really dragged me behind in my studies. With schools not in session, l had to forget about my studies and involve myself in the boda boda business (motorbike taxi driving), something not recommended for underage youth. It took the area chief's intervention for me to go back to school to be with the rest of my classmates. This is my first week in school since we opened. Finally, there is hope. Initially, I had felt as if it was all over and that I was to be a full-time boda boda rider in my village," Stephen explained.

"English and mathematics are two of my favorite subjects. I really missed these lessons and their respective teachers. My English teacher is one of my best teachers in school, and I do always miss him whenever we don't get to meet."

A student adjusts her mask at training.

"I do watch CNN every day, and to my surprise, this virus is still spreading day after day, and this is alarming. Without strict measures to be observed, we might be swept away. I thank our school management for always being strict in ensuring that every individual in school complies with the set guidelines."

"Every day, we are being encouraged to wear our masks, keep social distance, avoid handshakes, and always wash our hands at any given time. When we get to school, our temperatures are checked to ensure we are okay - this is when we are allowed in our classes."

"Washing of our hands is key during this COVID-19 season. We have been taught the ten steps of handwashing, something we all did not know. As the Chair of the student health club, we will disseminate the training to the entire school family."

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' team 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!

February, 2021: Friends Musiri Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Friends Musiri Secondary 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: A Source of Hope

July, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Friends Musiri Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Pamela. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Friends Musiri Secondary 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 16-year-old Pamela A. what life was like for her and her peers before we installed a rain tank at her school last year.

"Students used to go to the nearby protected spring to fetch water," Pamela said. "[With the] discharge being low, much time used to be wasted collecting water, as [the spring] was also shared with the community members."

But now, students don't need to waste much time on water, and this has positively impacted their lives.

"Clean running water has been a source of hope to this institution," Pamela continued. "We now access clean, safe water for use in the school compound and I foresee a healthy institution in the years to come. Water can now be accessed without the help of students as it is situated within the school compound and is accessible to all members of the institution."

Without the constant distraction of having to find water, Pamela has had more time to focus on what counts.

"Ample time in my studies has been reflected in my overall academic performance," she said. "I foresee a major improvement in my national examinations. Cases of absenteeism are now a thing of the past. I now enjoy coming to school every day to undertake my lessons."

Pamela, center, stands at the rain tank with our field officer (left) and the school principal (right).



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 Friends Musiri Secondary 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 Friends Musiri Secondary 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.


Ashton United Methodist Church
Facebook Donations
William S and Blair Y Thompson Family Foundation
Foley Family Foundation
Durant Giving Fund
Shaw's Sixth Grade - Walk for Water

And 1 other fundraising page(s)
75 individual donor(s)