Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 370 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

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"It is tiresome and very cumbersome to carry water every day to school," reflected Moses, a student at Itieng'ere Primary School.

Moses is 1 of 354 students and 16 teachers and staff who report to school at Itieng'ere every day. Awaiting them each morning is the school's severe water crisis, which requires learners to start their day by carrying water from home to school.

The current required volume of water each student is expected to bring is 20 liters - a large and heavy amount when walking long distances, not to mention while also carrying school books. Some students choose smaller containers to bring to school, either because their parents refuse to give up a larger jerrycan for the day or because they cannot physically manage the larger jerrycan's weight. Most containers students use to carry water are very dirty, inside and out, contaminating any water they hold.

The only water storage on school grounds is a tiny plastic rain tank, which quickly runs out after the rains. When the water students bring in the morning also runs out each day, they have to leave class to fetch more water. Sometimes multiple students will try to fetch water from their classmates' homes nearest to school, putting a strain on those families' home water supply. These mid-day trips to fetch water interrupt students' lessons and drain their focus and energy. The students' academic performance is, as a result, lagging.

"Sometimes I have to forego my lessons so that the learners can go and bring water to be used at school," said teacher Levi Wandera.

Because water is combined for use at school, even one dirty source puts the entire school population at risk of water-related illnesses. Students report stomach upsets due to the water they drink at school. Some have even been diagnosed with typhoid and amoeba due to consuming the dirty school water. These illnesses take students out of school to seek treatment, draining their families of their financial resources and setting them further back in their studies.

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 store rainwater that the school’s students and staff will use for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

The school and we 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 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.

The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide and ensure 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

Two triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls, and three doors will serve the boys. These new latrines will have cement floors designed to be easy to use and 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 one-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 various 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 home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and promote good hygiene practices within the school, including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

June, 2021: Itieng'ere Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Itieng'ere 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, we would go long-distance to get water, not knowing the state of the water, but we would use it. Most times, I would end up sick with typhoid and even amoeba. Now I know that has come to an end. Now I will be able to access clean and safe water. I hope this will be the end of typhoid and other diseases for me," said Cynthia.

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

"Before the installation of the water point, many of my pupils would get their water from a nearby stream and ended up always getting sick. With this water point, I am assured of clean, safe, and reliable water and fewer visits to the hospital," said Levi Wandera, 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. 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, Patience Njeri and Samuel Simidi deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-seven students, mostly girls, and teachers attended the training, which we held.

It was a bright sunny morning, so the training was conducted outside under a tree. It was conducive weather, and it ensured there was adequate space where we could all maintain physical distance and ensure 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.

Menstrual hygiene was the most memorable topic. At the start, the participants were timid to speak openly about the topic. After a few attempts by the facilitator, they shared their personal experiences and the challenges they experienced. We talked about how best to work through the challenges. It was a very interactive and active session. At the end of it, everyone felt relieved.

"I have learned so much on many things but most especially about menstrual hygiene. I hope to put into practice what we've learned, and most importantly, share the knowledge with my peers," said Cynthia.

We asked Fredrick Inyanya, a teacher, 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.

"Not being able to teach meant I had to look for something else to do as we waited to see how long this would last. The waiting period was really hard for me because I derive my joy from teaching. I missed teaching my pupils and also interacting with other teachers gaining insights from them."

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!

May, 2021: Itieng'ere Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Itieng'ere 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: More Time for Mathematics!

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Itieng'ere 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!

When we asked 13-year-old Addison what life was like before Itieng'ere Primary School had a rain tank installed last year, he said: "Before, to get water was so challenging, because I had to look for water most of [the] time, thereby wasting a lot of time, thus leading me to poor academic performance."

Addison continued, "Sometimes, I was coming back from the stream when my clothes [had] become so wet that I [had] to go back home to sun dry them because I didn't have another school uniform."

But now that Addison and his classmates benefit from the water collected in the school's rain tank, things are different.

"[The] reliability of water from the school compound has impacted my life positively. This is because there is no more wastage of time going outside the school compound looking for water, and this has resulted in my good [academic] performance," said Addison.

Addison's future is looking bright. He shared, "My goal is to improve in academic performance, which has now come true, because most of the time I am concentrating in classwork, especially mathematics where I used to miss the lesson mostly."

Addison with teacher Everlyne Didinya at the 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 Itieng'ere 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 Itieng'ere 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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