Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 401 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/10/2024

Project Features

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In 1956, the Friends Church founded Nadanya Primary School with only three classes. With support from both the community and the government, the school has consistently grown, serving 390 students and 11 teachers and staff. But another thing has also grown in step with the school's population: their severe water crisis.

There is no source of water on school grounds at Nadanya Primary. Students are forced to come to school each morning carrying water from "home," though where exactly students fetch water varies. Some students opt for dangerous surface water sources such as streams and runoff ditches near the road to school to lessen their burden of carrying water along with their books and striving to get to class on time. Pupils are often late to or miss their morning lessons as a result of this daily routine.

In the afternoon, when the water runs out, students are sent out again to fetch more water for the school. Many pupils return home or to the stream for water, while others head to a protected spring three kilometers away in the village - that is almost a four-mile round-trip. Wherever students go for water, they scramble with one another, fearing which one of them will have to face a teacher for being late to class.

"Normal class hours are being interrupted as students are sent to go fetch water during lessons. This has greatly dragged completion of the school syllabus in the long-run, affecting the school's general performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. As a teacher of mathematics, my students have for a long time registered minimal performance," explained teacher Mr. Francis Ngeresa

After fetching water in the afternoon, students return to class tired and unfocused - if they return at all. Some choose to spend the afternoon at home, too daunted by the chore of returning with water one more time that day. In either case, students' academic performance is being dragged down by their responsibility to provide water for their school.

"On various occasions, I have missed coming to school for fear of being requested to go fetch water during school hours, and this has harmed my academics," said pupil Vallary.

Pupils miss more class time when they get sick from the school water. Even though the spring water and some students' home sources may be safe to drink, students' containers are filthy both inside and out, contaminating any water they carry.

Because water is combined for use at school, even one dirty source means everyone is at risk of water-related illnesses. And there is always more than one dirty source among students' jerrycans lined up on the school compound. These illnesses are expensive to treat, draining students' families of their financial resources as they seek medical treatment for their children.

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

August, 2021: Nadanya Friends Primary School Project Complete!

Nadanya Friends 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.

"We now have a reliable water point in school, meaning we will no longer be going out of the school compound to fetch water. Our water will be safe for drinking as it will be treated frequently. As one of the students in this school, I foresee improvement in my academics due to ample time of learning and concentration," said Venestroy I., a 14-year-old female student.

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

"For a long time, water for use in school has always been sourced from outside the school compound by our students. Water brought to school by our students was never trusted as most of the time, no supervision was done to ensure water brought to school was clean. From today henceforth, we have a reliable water point in the school compound thanks to our partners. Water from the tank will be safe for drinking, thus a reduction in infections related to water," said Fanuel Obaga, senior female 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. 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.

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 Samuel Simidi, Janet Kayi, Stella Inganji, Erick Wagaka, and Christine Masinde deployed to the site to lead the event.

Twenty-one students and teachers attended the training we held on the school compound under some shade trees. We had representatives from classes 4 to 8 (9 girls and 12 boys) so that information gathered would reach the entire school community.

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.

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.

Soapmaking was an interesting session as the participants really wanted to understand and learn every step of soapmaking and asked many questions about the process.

"All information gathered here today has been useful to me and to the entire community at large. We have been taught that hygiene and sanitation standards are a determinant of our health. From today, my actions and thoughts will be geared towards maintaining good hygiene standards," said Roy M. (14), chairperson of the student health club.

"COVID-19 training was a reminder to all of us that the disease is real. It's here with us. We need to observe all measures put by the Ministry of Health so as to combat the spread of the virus," commented Leah A. (13), secretary of the student health club.

We asked Leah 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.

"I did miss interacting with my teachers and fellow students. I did also did miss my most favorable subjects, which are; English, Mathematics, and Kiswahili. Being back in school, I feel rejuvenated. I see a bright future ahead of me. I'm ready and willing to get on with my studies," said Leah A.

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: Nadanya Friends Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Nadanya Friends 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 now love my school."

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nadanya Friends 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] accessibility of water was a challenge in our school," said 11-year-old student Susan C. "This forced us [to] go out of the school compound to fetch water for use."

Susan continued: "At the water point, we were forced to queue so as to access water, and this was indeed tiresome for me. In the morning hours, students would carry water from home, and one who never did so would be punished or sent back home to bring water."

But since a rain tank was installed at Susan's school last year, she is all smiles. Things have drastically improved for her and the other students with water readily available on their school campus.

"At the moment, I now access clean, safe, reliable water directly in the school compound, and this is awesome!" shared Susan.

"Accessibility is now fast and convenient for all the students, thus creating ample time for studies. [I] am able to enjoy ample time for my studies, and this has been depicted in my examinations."

"I no longer absent myself from school for failing to carry water to school. I now love my school and always enjoy coming to school every day," Susan exclaimed. "The water point has helped reduce cases of absenteeism by the students, as most cases were generated by [the] shortage of water in school."

"[With the] water being treated often, [I] am assured of clean, safe water for drinking, thus [I] will enjoy good health. [And the] level of hygiene and sanitation in the school has improved drastically thanks to [the] availability of clean, sufficient water," concluded Susan.

Susan 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 Nadanya Friends 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 Nadanya Friends 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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