Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 284 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Please note, original photos were taken before the pandemic.

We arrived at Jivuye Primary School on a sunny mid-morning, but the skies became cloudy soon after. This is a rural area that is peaceful and quiet. The roads are not tarmacked and are very slippery, especially during this rainy season.

Jivuye Primary School was established by the Friends Church during the missionaries era in the region. The Christian influence had already been embraced by the community, hence the school picked up quickly and the population has kept on growing over the years. Today there are 272 pupils and 12 teachers and staff at the school.

On a typical school-going day, each pupil begins their morning early at home by collecting water to bring to school since there is no reliable water source there. Pupils must either take water from their family's water storage, such as their home rain tanks or buckets where their mothers already fetched water by hand. Otherwise, after washing up and taking breakfast, pupils begin their walk to school and hope to collect water along the way. Some students will fetch water from surface runoff on the side of the road or streams, simply because it helps them get to school on time.

The pupils arrive by 7:00 am while carrying their water and books. Some pupils forget to come with water when they are running late, so they are forced to go back home and get water before they can join their class. On such occasions, these pupils end up missing classes and are punished in school for their negligence.

There are many complications to an entire school relying on students for water. Pupils often arrive late and tired from their burdensome walk, and sometimes they are too tired to focus well in class. This negatively impacts their academic performance. Though the school relies on students carrying water from home for all of the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, the students can never carry enough to meet all of these needs. Still, it is a daily requirement the school has no choice but to enforce.

Once at school, the students immediately embark on cleaning the school compound, sweeping classrooms, and cleaning the toilets. After cleaning, they commence with their normal lessons which end at 4:00 pm with breaks for snacks, games, and lunch throughout. Sometimes the pupils get pulled out from class to fetch more water for cooking if they run out during the day. Lunch breaks are often used to send students home to fetch more water, too.

We observed most pupils inserting their fingers into their jerrycans for support while carrying their water to school. The jerrycans were also very dirty, leading to the conclusion that the water was also not safe for human consumption. Even clean water can be contaminated by dirty containers or hands. And since the water is combined for use at school, even 1 contaminated source means everyone is at risk of water-related diseases.

Many pupils and teachers alike contract diarrhea and other water-related illnesses due to their dirty water supply at school.

"It took me a while to realize that the recurrent salmonella infection I was being treated for was due to drinking the unsafe water in the school. Since then, I learned how to quench my thirst with tea during school hours," said Deputy Headteacher Eston Mugei.

"Buying drinking water is reserved for parties and visitors," explained Headteacher Habil Mucheni. "This has been an unneccessary expense which I sometimes forego, and I know it compromises on my general wellbeing."

But the pupils need more than tea throughout their day since the kitchen cannot boil enough water to meet all of their drinking needs, and the school cannot afford to buy water more often. Frequent cases of water-related illnesses mean a lot of missed classtime for students, and it drains their families and the school as they try to pay for medical treatment.

There is a very small plastic rain tank on campus, but it holds just a few thousand liters. It quickly and often runs dry, which is why students are still expected to bring water to school every day. This water crisis here is preventing students and the school from reaching their full potential.

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

July, 2021: Jivuye Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Jivuye 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.

"Before the construction of the tank, we would get water from the river. This water was never treated, and it would give me stomach upsets always. I believe with this water tank, I will now have access to safe water that has been treated; this, in turn, will be good for my health. The continuous interruptions of lessons to fetch water made us lag in the syllabus. But now I'm sure we will get to finish the syllabus in time, and this will affect the overall performance in a good way." said 15-year-old Graham.

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

"Before the water point installation, learners would have to go to the river for water. Some never really reached the river but would fetch standing water along the road. This, in turn, caused me to have health problems. With the presence of this water point, I am now sure of the water I am drinking. This gives me so much peace. Before, on many occasions, I had to cut my lessons short so learners could go get water to be used at the school. Now I know there will be no more interruptions, and I can finish the syllabus with no problem." said teacher Eston Mugei.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Christine Masinde deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty students, teachers, and community-based leaders attended the training we held on the school campus.

It was a sunny afternoon, so the training was conducted outside under a tree. This also ensured that there was adequate space to maintain physical distance and ensure the free flow of air.

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.

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.

Field Officer Patience Njiri noted, "Menstrual hygiene was the most memorable topic. At the start of the topic, the participants were really shy to speak openly about the topic. It was after a few attempts by the facilitators that they openly came to speak about their personal experiences and challenges. Many of them shared about how challenging it was for them to get sanitary towels causing them to skip school and the pain that accompanied their menses, and how it affects them. We talked about all that and how best to work through the challenges. It was a very interactive and active session. At the end of it, everyone felt help and relieved."

We asked Graham 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 COVID-19 hit, at first, it was very scary. It's like life came to a standstill for a while. Everything changed. People had to make adjustments. One of them was shutting down schools. This caused me to panic because I didn't know how long this would continue. I had so many sleepless nights wondering if anything would ever go back to normal. I really wanted to be done with school, but with the closure, I wasn't sure if this would be a possibility soon."

"When schools closed, I missed the daily interactions with my peers. This is because, in those interactions, I would learn a lot of things about life. I also missed participating in school activities like sports and athletics. I am very happy to be back at school. This means that now I can embark upon my studies again in order to be able to carry on from where I left."

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.

<h3 style="text-align: center;"><strong>Thank you for making all of this possible!</strong></h3>

June, 2021: Jivuye Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Jivuye 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 enjoy coming to school every day."

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Jivuye 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!

"Water was indeed scarce in this institution. I used to carry water every day, in the morning and in the afternoon for use in school, [and] this was tiring," shared 14-year-old Trizah when describing the water situation at Jivuye Primary School before we installed a rain tank last year.

But now, with readily available water at her fingertips, things are better for Trizah.

"Currently, I am able to access clean, safe water every day for drinking. [With] this, I am guaranteed a healthy life," Trizah said. "Accessibility of water is now much faster and easier as the water point is located directly in the school compound. Thus [I am] having ample time for my studies."

"I enjoy coming to school every day to learn as the burden of carrying water every day to school is done with," Trizah said. "This has enabled me [to] have ample time in my studies, positively impacting my examinations."


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 Jivuye 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 Jivuye 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.