Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 309 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Please note, original photos were taken before the pandemic.

There is no source of water at Kitambazi Primary School for the 297 pupils and 12 teachers and staff who come here every day.

Located in a hilly, semi-remote area with large boulders dotting the landscape, Kitambazi Primary School opened in 1983 and is sponsored by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church of Kenya. Students' strong academic performance consistently ranks the school within the top 10 in the Tambua zone, which is particularly impressive considering how much classtime these students miss due to their school's lack of water.

Before school each morning, students must collect water from home to bring to school. They either take water from their family's supply, usually fetched by their mother,s or they must go out on their own very early to fetch it themselves. Students carry their water along with their books on the busy road to school, where their day begins at 7:00 am. Classes run until noon when during the lunch break students must go back home to fetch more water before resuming afternoon lessons.

The water students deliver to the school is the only source of water for all of their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. Because the students can only carry small containers for long distances, and there is no central storage container beyond kitchen pots at school, it is difficult to meet basic water needs.

With each walk to school with water, students arrive tired and can lose focus in class. They are often late to class due to the walk, or because it took them a while to find enough water to bring. Some students will simply not return in the afternoon for fear of being punished for not bringing enough water.

Students also miss class when they get sick from the water they bring to school. Because water is combined for use at school, even 1 contaminated source can mean everyone suffers. Water-related diseases are not uncommon among teachers and pupils alike.

"I have personally suffered from flu and cold from drinking the water. Lately, I have started carrying or buying my own drinking water," said Headteacher John Amoke.

But students have no choice but to consume the water they carry, and the school kitchen staff rarely have enough water to properly prepare the school meals.

"The food is not cleaned properly due to lack of enough water in the school. We find small stones in the maize and beans on a daily basis," reported Deputy Headteacher Isaac Kijo.

The lack of water here also means students cannot wash their hands or their jerrycans, further accounting for the contaminated water and fecal-oral disease transmission.

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

The latrines on campus are in poor condition, and there are not enough for the size of the student population.

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

April, 2021: Kitambazi Primary School Project Complete!

Kitambazi 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.

"My life is going to change because l have clean and safe water for drinking, which will reduce the spread of waterborne diseases. I am going to achieve a lot because the time that was wasted when we used to go and bring water at home shall be recovered," said pupil Lesley, who was full of smiles upon the rain tank's completion.

Lesley raising a glass of clean water from the rain tank in triumph.

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

"My health is going to improve because I have clean and safe water for drinking, compared to other times when I used to be in the hospital every now and then looking for medication. Because the water is enough, I am going to start income-generating activity at school by planting vegetables, and during the dry season, I will be watering the vegetables. When ready, I will sell them to my fellow teachers," said teacher Thomas Ediongo.

A teacher 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.

Students help move bricks across campus for construction.

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.

Forming 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.)

Interior cement work begins

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.

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.

Drawing point construction

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 student raises a glass of clean water from the rain tank in celebration.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of 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.

Girls 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.

Student Lesley washes his hands 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 Patience Njeri and Victor Musemi deployed to the site to lead the event. Sixteen people attended the training, which we held outside under the shade of trees within the school compound.

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

Trainer Nelly teaches homemade mask-making and how to wear a mask properly.

The most memorable topic was handwashing because pupils were so happy to learn the ten steps. Before we left the school compound for the day, the students were already queueing and practicing the ten steps of handwashing.

Handwashing demonstration

The club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will be responsible for encouraging 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.

Kitchen gardening lesson

"The training was very important and it came at a time when we really needed it. The training was good because we have learned how to wash hands and put on masks. This knowledge is going to help me fight this pandemic and is going to change my life. I am going to take precautions about COVID-19 and I know I will survive," said pupil Mary, the student health club's elected organizing secretary.

Dental hygiene demonstration

We asked Mary 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 lost a lot because my parents didn't have a smartphone, so others were learning online, and me, I didn't. It really affected my performance. I missed my fellow pupils and teachers that I am used to. I also missed the school activities like playing in the field," Mary said.

Back at school since January, Mary said she is "so happy to have met with my friends, and whatever I lost while at home is going to be recovered."

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!

March, 2021: Kitambazi Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kitambazi 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: Increased Health and Strength!

April, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kitambazi 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!

Lavian I., a student at Kitambazi Primary School, shared what life was like before her school had a rainwater tank installed last year. "Life in school was difficult because we had no water. Carrying water from home every morning was tiresome, and sometimes I could find myself dozing in class instead of studying or learning."

But now that she and her classmates have access to sufficient water, things are different, and she feels better.

"Having clean flowing in school has made me healthy. I no longer get sick. Rather, I am stronger, and I am working hard so that I can pass my examinations," said Lavian.

"I have enough time to study, and this has enabled me to have my personal timetable, which I follow strictly here in school. I am assured of a bright future," she concluded.

Lavian with TWP Staff, Christine Masinde (left) and her teacher, Thomas Idiongo (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 Kitambazi 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 Kitambazi 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.