Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 756 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/11/2024

Project Features

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Namushiya Primary School is found deep in a rural part of Kakamega. The communication network in the area is quite poor because the area is still opening up to development. Roads leading to the school are graded, but nothing like murram or gravel to ease movement and reduce muddiness. A majority of the community members here live in traditional houses and are peasant farmers. The area's terrain is fairly flat, becoming waterlogged during the rainy season due to the black cotton soil, which is heavy in clay.

Namushiya Primary School was established in 1974 by students' parents to reduce the long distances learners had to travel for education. The community aimed to uplift the level of education in their area as a whole. The school is currently sponsored by the Friends Quakers Church and serves 741 students and 15 teachers and staff.

Despite the large student population, the school has almost no water on campus. Their only source is a seasonal shallow well, which dries up completely in a matter of days once the dry season arrives. Even when the well has water, however, the school requires pupils to carry water from their various homes each morning, knowing that the well water is not enough to meet the entire school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs anyway. Walking to school with water and books is tiresome and slows students down, taking away time that could have been utilized for their studies.

"The water challenges we are experiencing in the school have affected us very much. Water for quenching thirst alone has been like looking for gold in the mud, not to mention the environment we study and our sanitation facilities [are not clean]. Also, carrying water from home to school each morning when it is so cold disappoints me most," said Sharon, a teenaged pupil.

Later in the school day, pupils are sent back out to look for water outside the school compound for doing cleanliness chores during break time and games time. During these times, the primary students head to the nearby secondary school to use their borehole well. But the borehole is the secondary school's only source of water, and the primary school students' presence adds a lot of pressure and needs to the one water point.

The primary school's reliance on another school's water point poses many challenges to the primary school. The young pupils have to wait in long queues for the water, letting any secondary students fetch water first. By the time the primary students return to class, they find they have already missed a significant amount of learning each day. Additionally, the primary pupils waste a lot of energy transporting water from one point to another each day, including their homes and the secondary school.

"Scarcity of water in our school has made us reluctant when it comes to hygiene practices in school. Currently, almost all classes are mopped twice a week as opposed to being daily because currently, we don't have a reliable water source from within the school," explained headteacher Essau Kimoi.

"Likewise with the sanitation facilities. The challenge has affected me much as a leader of this school because, with the COVID-19 set measures, the school must have a storage tank of capacity not less than 30,000-liters for pupils to be drawing water from there, placing it in handwashing stations. I feel for the school situation, but my efforts alone can't allow me to change the situation now. I only appeal to well-wishers to help," he said.

Though the water from the secondary school's borehole is safe to drink, teachers cannot say the same about the primary students' water from home. According to the primary school's headteacher Essau Kimoi, they frequently hear cases of coughing and waterborne diseases, including typhoid, among their students. Because water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated source means all students are at risk of water-related diseases. These keep students out of class while recovering and cost their families financially as they seek medical treatment.

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 used by the school’s students and staff 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

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, 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

September, 2021: Namushiya Primary School Rain Tank Project Complete!

Namushiya 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.

"My goal is to improve in my academics because there would be no more wastage of time looking for water at a long distance. Hence I will concentrate on my studies," said Mitchel, an 11-year-old student of the school.

Mitchel at a new handwashing station.

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

Philip Inguche, one of the teachers at Namushiya, said: "Access to reliable water in the school will make my work so easy because I will not be following pupils to check whether they have brought water or not. I will also be having ample time for teaching, as pupils will not be wasting their time either carrying water from home, or going for water outside the school compound."

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.

Isn't it beautiful?

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.

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 Mary Afandi and Nelly Chebet deployed to the site to lead the event.

We were expecting to train a maximum of 20 students and staff members, but more teachers expressed interest in attending than we were anticipating! In the end, 26 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under a shady tree in the schoolyard.

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.

"The training was valuable to me because I learned the correct ways of doing things, like the ten steps of handwashing," said Mitchel.

Not all of the pupils enjoyed learning the time that goes into washing one's hands properly: one of Mitchel's classmates joked if handwashing was really necessary before eating a meal, because "ten steps is a long procedure" for someone who is hungry.

One of the topics that participants found most interesting was soap-making. All the participants were seen writing down the ingredients so that they could recreate the procedure later.

"Soap-making will impact me positively," said Mitchel. "I have to teach my mother so that she can venture on soap-making and selling it, so as to earn a living and raise our tuition fees."

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.

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.

We asked Mitchel 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.

Mitchel outside the school.

"I am so excited to be back to school to continue with my education, as education is everything in our lives," Mitchel said. "When the school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was so worried that the school would no longer be open again. I thought it was the end of our studies. Besides that, I missed interacting with my colleagues and teachers as it was before."

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: Namushiya Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Namushiya 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 have enough time for my studies."

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Namushiya 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!

The students at Namushiya Primary School used to waste much of their time searching for and collecting water instead of learning. And sadly, they missed even more class time since they were often sick with water-related illnesses as a result of consuming the water they worked so hard to collect.

"[The] time [I] used to look for water was a lot, so I could not have enough time to read," said 16-year-old Buloka.

But that was before we installed a large rain tank on the school campus last year. Now, with readily accessible water within reach, life is different for Buloka and his classmates.

"I get water easily, which means I have enough time for my studies. I have improved greatly in my studies," said Buloka.

With enough time to focus on learning because he is able to be in class consistently, Buloka has great plans for academic success, and only time will tell how bright his future may become.

Buloka in front of 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 Namushiya 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 Namushiya 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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