Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 307 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Please note, original photos were taken before the pandemic.

Mutave Primary School is sponsored by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church and is located in Vihiga County. The institution was established in 2005 through the efforts of the community members. With a population of 23 pupils at the start of the school, today the institution boasts of 293 pupils and 14 teachers and staff. Located along the Serem-Gambogi Highway, the school is easily accessible. It has permanent buildings with a tiny playing ground used by students to stretch themselves during the short breaks.

An average day for the pupils in this school begins at 7:00 am when they arrive carrying water from home, along with their books. Bringing water into the school is usually intertwined in normal class activities because students must go back home during break times and lunchtime to get more water to sustain the school's needs. There is otherwise no source of water on campus.

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. Classes are constantly disrupted by the need to send students out for more water, too. The learners end up with poor results in their national examinations and do not further their studies. The highway students must cross is also very busy with speeding motorbikes and cars, and there is always the threat of an accident as they try to cross the road slowly with their water.

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.

The jerrycans used to store the water students bring from home are very dirty and do not have lids. The water did not look safe for drinking because it was from unknown sources and prone to mishandling by the pupils with unwashed hands. Since the water is combined for use at school, even 1 contaminated source means everyone is at risk of water-related diseases. The consumption of pupils' dirty water has been known to cause typhoid, diarrhea, and stomachaches among both teachers and students.

"Water is a precious commodity and a scarcity of the commodity adversely affects the day-to-day running of this institution. Personally, I have once fallen victim of infection related to water and at different occasions I did miss coming to school," recalled Headteacher Joel Ngana.

Hygiene and sanitation in the school are wanting because the staff must enforce strict rationing of the water students bring for cooking and a little drinking. Cleaning, including handwashing and sanitizing the latrines, is often impossible for long stretches of time.

"Take a walk in our classrooms and you will always see how dusty and filthy they are and this is because we do not clean them regularly. This has greatly affected the levels of concentration as the environment is not conducive for learning," said Deputy Headteacher Richard Okura.

A shortage of latrines is also hindering the daily running of the school. The institution has just 8 toilets for the girls and 3 toilets for the boys. The insufficient number of toilets creates congestion at the facilities and this affects the normal lessons as pupils arrive late to class because they were waiting in line at the bathroom. Pupils crowd and push one another at the latrines during breaks, vying for a better spot in line.

Teachers are worried that with their lack of water and poor sanitation and hygiene status, a closure notice from the Ministry of Health could arrive any day now.

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

August, 2021: Mutave Primary School Project Complete!

Mutave Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank! 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 will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"I am going to have peace with my fellow pupils because we used to fight and quarrel over the jerricans because pupils used to steal other pupils' jerricans. Secondly, I am going to quench my thirst at school. I used to run home in order to drink water. I am so happy," said Emmanuel K., a 15-year-old student.

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

"My life is going to improve because I will stay free from waterborne diseases. I used to carry water from home but now am safe, enjoying clean and safe water for drinking. Because we have enough water at school, we shall be doing a thorough cleaning, and the school will be neat compared to other years," said Duncan Kidoke, a teacher.

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. Locals 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 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.

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. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus with a prayer from the school's chair. 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 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, the facilitators, Rose and Mercy, deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-one students and teachers attended the training, which we held under the trees. This made it more conducive for the training because, inside the classroom, it was too hot.

The participants were recruited through our communication with the headteacher, who organized the day of training at the school.

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 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.

The most memorable topic was handwashing. The facilitator took the participants through the ten steps and called upon a pupil to demonstrate. She missed three steps, so another participant corrected her. She repeated the steps until she got them. We were so happy about the effort she made.

Annet M., a student, and Chair of the CTC Club, shared, "The training was valuable to me because I didn't know things like handwashing, making soap, and more about personal hygiene. But now I am equipped with this knowledge, and I know it is going to help me and others."

"The closing of schools really affected me because I was used to school activities. But because it forced me to stay at home, idling and watching the television too much, I never had time for books. I dropped in my classwork," said 15-year-old Alvin A.

We asked Alvin 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.

"While the school was closed, I missed my best friends and teachers. I also missed the school feeding program because, at home, we would stay without food. I am so happy being back at school. I am able to play with my friends and feed at school."

When an issue arises concerning the rain tank, 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!

July, 2021: Mutave Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mutave 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 look forward to coming to school every day."

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mutave 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 rain tank at Mutave Primary School last year, fetching water was dangerous to the students for multiple reasons. Not only did the pupils need to cross a busy highway to access the stream, but the stream's water would end up infecting them with debilitating illnesses.

"Students used to walk across the road to a nearby stream to fetch water," explained the school's deputy headteacher, Richard Amisi. "Water from the stream was not safe as [it] was exposed to contaminants."

And if that wasn't enough of a burden, students also had to bring water to school from home, which tired them out before they even arrived to class.

"Carrying water to school every day for use in school was tiresome and hectic," said 11-year-old Lavender. "We used to walk down the slopes to access the commodity."

A year after the tank's installation, things are looking up for Mutave Primary School, and for students like Lavender.

"Currently, thanks to [you], we now access clean, safe, reliable water directly in the school compound. We now save on time," Lavender said. "I foresee a reduction in cases of typhoid, diarrhea, and other related waterborne diseases. I look forward to coming to school every day, ready to learn, without any worry of being asked to go fetch water for use in school. This will impact positively in my academic performance."

"As a school, hygiene and sanitation standards [have] improved," Mr. Amisi concluded. "The school is now clean, providing a conducive environment for learners."

Mr. Amisi, Lavender, and our field officer, Sam, at the rain tank.

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 Mutave 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 Mutave 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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