Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 475 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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In 1982, community members from Mudindi along with the Friends Quaker Church founded Friends Mudindi Village Primary School to help bring education closer to home for the area's pupils. The school is located in the center of the village. Beginning with just 10 pupils, today the school serves 460 students and 15 teachers and staff. But another thing has grown alongside the school's population: their severe water crisis.

For all of these students, there is just one water source on campus: a small plastic rain tank. The tank quickly runs dry due to its size compared to the student population, so there is a daily routine of relying on students to deliver water to the school.

This routine begins each morning when pupils must arrive at school by 6:30 am carrying water from home. But "home" water can come from any number of sources, including a dirty stream beneath an underpass on the road to school. Teachers are unable to track where every student fetches water, so by the time students line their jerrycans up at school, no one can tell the difference between originally safe and unsafe sources.

The school does not have a lunch program at school, so pupils return home for lunch. When they come back to school for their afternoon lessons, they must again come carrying water. Aside from the stream and any water families may have stored at home, some students also use a protected spring in the village. But even safe water from the spring becomes contaminated when it enters' students dirty jerrycans or gets mishandled en route to school.

"I personally cannot drink water from this school because the water is carried in dirty jerrycans from home. I have been sick throughout the school year, and I spend a lot of money on medication. I will still be spending until the solution is solved. Also, absenteeism has been high in this school according to my records, but the cause is water," explained Deputy Headmaster Thomas Asige.

Because water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated source means the entire school is at risk of water-related illnesses. Students repeatedly report cases of diarrhea, vomiting, and typhoid after drinking water at school. These illnesses are expensive to treat and drain pupils' families of their financial resources. Students, meanwhile, miss class while they recover.

"The water situation affects me because mostly I drink water at school, so my parents are always seeking medication and they spend a lot of money. This leads to absenteeism and has affected my learning. I am requesting your help," said student Cheryl.

Time lost to being sick compounds with the time and energy students lose each day on their multiple walks to fetch water for the school. Carrying water and books at the same time is tiring, and a lot of class time ends up being lost to the task. Pupils' academic performance is lagging as a result.

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

The student health club will oversee the two 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

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. 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 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 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: Friends Mudindi Village Primary School Project Complete!

Friends Mudindi Village 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. Thank you, Gift to the World!

"Healthwise, it will be good because we have been drinking water from different sources, which was not safe. Also, I will use the time used for fetching water for personal study to improve on my performance. [The waterpoint] will help me save time for studies and concentrate on my classwork. Also, it will help maintain personal cleanliness and school cleanliness," Matvel I. (13).

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

"This waterpoint has really changed a lot. I used to carry drinking water from home daily, but with this source, I am now safe. Cleanliness and good health will be of high quality. We are putting in a new school kitchen that will be using water from the tank. Time used by students to fetch water will be compensated by extra studies, which will boost our performance," said Elphas Liyai, Head Teacher (58).

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.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the government, the school could not organize a large-scale celebration. They had a simple celebration with school management, school sponsors, and a local church pastor who offered dedication prayers.

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 Stella Inganji, Samuel Simidi, and Janet Kayi deployed to the site to lead the event.

The school Head Teacher was very cooperative during the project implementation. He easily recruited students to participate from several different classes.

Twenty-five students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside under a shade tree in front of the school administration block as it was the only shade in the school compound.

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.

Personal hygiene was our best session of the day. The session was very interactive, with full participation from the students. We demonstrated good hygiene practices that the participants have been doing incorrectly.

"I'm grateful and happy to be part of this training today. I have learned how to wash hands properly, at the same time, how to make a simple handwashing container. I will do so while at home," said Isaac M.

"Before this training, yes, I was worried (about COVID-19), but now that we have had the training, I can confidently share about it with facts. Things like 'it kills instantly' and 'the vaccine is [a] death sentence' were all myths," said Nancy A.

We asked Nancy 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 missed my teachers, friends, and more so education," Nancy said. "I also missed the pleasure of being taught by our teachers and revising [reviewing] together. I'm happy and glad. No more going to the farm, and finally, I will be able to continue with my studies without barriers."

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: Friends Mudindi Village Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Friends Mudindi Village 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: Trusted Water Throughout the School Calendar

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Friends Mudindi Village 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!

Last year, students at Friends Mudindi Village Primary School spent more time fetching water than in class.

"Water shortage was a great challenge in our school," said 10-year-old Ive M. "Every day, in the morning, break time, and evening, we used to take time to go fetch water out of the school compound. We used to scramble for the commodity, as we would be instructed on what time to get back to school. Some of us used to go [to the] extent of collecting water from a nearby stream to catch on time."

But now that there's a reliable source of water right on school grounds, life at the school is hardly recognizable.

"Having trusted water in the school compound is a plus to us," Ive continued. "We now enjoy clean, safe water for drinking throughout the school calendar. [The] challenge of time wastage has been managed, and I foresee an improvement in [the] overall academics of the school. I am able to wash my hands every time I visit the toilet and whenever I want to eat. This has helped [me] check on my health. Thus, [I] enjoy [a] good time in school."

Ive uses the tap 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 Friends Mudindi Village 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 Friends Mudindi Village 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.


Project Sponsor - Yakima Foursquare Church