Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 634 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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Tande Primary School stands a few meters from the busy Kakamega-Webuye highway. A rough road stretches from the highway leading you straight into the school compound near Butali town. The area is well vegetated, with farmers planting sugarcane and other subsistence crops in the neighborhood. Neighboring the primary school is Tande High School. The primary section currently serves 612 students and 22 teachers and staff.

The water crisis at Tande Primary School not only means a lack of safe, sufficient, and reliable water; it also means a lack of peace.

The entire school patches together water from several sources. First, the school requires all pupils to arrive at school in the morning carrying water from home. Some pupils have to go back home and bring water when they forget to do so as instructed by the duty master, or teacher in charge, each morning. This automatically removes these pupils from their classes until they show up with water.

"It becomes so tough when I am the duty master for the week. General cleaning of our classrooms and offices by the pupils becomes a cat and rat game between the pupils and me. So much time is wasted trying to get them to get water to clean the classrooms," explained teacher Davis Kituyi.

The schedule is frequently interrupted throughout the school day when the pupils need to fetch more water, especially for cleaning purposes, since much water is required in order to clean the classrooms and restrooms. This stretches the hours intended for cleaning, making the pupils miss more class time and sometimes get home late.

During the day, students use a small plastic rain tank on campus until it runs dry, which is usually in a matter of days due to the large student population relying on its small capacity. Sometimes the neighboring secondary school agrees to pipe water into the primary's schools tank. Still, to date, the supply has been unreliable and insufficient to keep up with the primary school's needs.

When the tank has water, students fight over access to its tap as it is the only water source on campus.

"I don't like it when we fight at the water tap. It causes a lot of enmity amongst pupils. The younger kids are always humiliated by the older pupils at the tap, which saddens me," said Sammy, a teenaged student.

When there is no water in the tank, students must return home mid-day to fetch more water. Students commonly use either a stream or a hand-dug well in one of their classmate's homes nearest the school. The well water is not safe to drink because it is not sealed off from the surface water and dirt that fall into the well, polluting the water. To fetch water at the well, students must lower a bucket attached to a rope into the water before hauling it up - a tiring and time-consuming process that further contaminates the water with each pull.

Whether it is water from the stream or the well, the water is not safe for students to drink. Many students report cases of stomachaches and headaches after drinking water at school from varied sources. Since water is combined for use at school, mixing even one contaminated source with others means all students are at risk of water-related illnesses. When students get sick, they lose even more class time, and their families have to spend their precious financial resources on their children's 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 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, hand washing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

The school and we firmly 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 constantly 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 particular 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: Tande Primary School Rain Tank Project Complete!

Tande 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 happen to be the head boy in this school. This water will make my life easier when it comes to supervising pupils during school cleaning and providing water for the kitchen. I have always had to run after them as many tend to dodge [responsibility]. They won't crowd at our first drawing point as [we] now have a second drawing point. Thus their safety and my very own is assured," said student, Samuel N.

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

Teacher David Kitui shared his excitement: "I am sure of the purity of the water I'll be drinking from now henceforth. Pupils bring water from outside, and I wasn't sure of its source and purity. My health is assured now."

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.

The headmistress and the pupils in this school are overwhelmed with joy for having this new waterpoint. They still can't believe that someone somewhere loves and cares about them by supporting them in this way. They want God to bless everyone who gave to accomplish this project.

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 Lillian Achieng and Elizabeth Chibeu deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-four students and teachers attended the training, which we held under an indigenous tree 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.

Soapmaking was the most memorable topic during this training. It was something new to most participants. Many had thought that only manufacturing companies could produce soap. They took part in the practical session to be able to do the same back at home. Many promised to make it both for business and home use.

Tracy O., a student with a learning disability, commented, "I have learned to make soap today. I now know the importance of using soap when washing my hands."

We asked one of the school's students, 13-year-old Maryann M., what it was like to be at home for most of the last year due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures.

"I couldn't fully do my studies while at home," Maryann said. "Without the help of my teachers, it was hard to understand some topics. In general, my education was affected. Parents also took advantage of our long stay at home to engage us in works thus study time was limited. I missed my friends at school. I missed my teachers too, and also missed learning in class."

Then we asked her what it had been like coming back to school.

"Wow!" Maryann replied. "It's amazing. In fact, I am happy I am moving to the next class in a few day's time. I am happy being back in 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!

August, 2021: Tande Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Tande 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: Happy and Proud!

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tande 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!

Life for students at Tande Primary School before a water solution was installed last year used to mean a lot of time spent outside the school campus searching for and collecting water.

"Fetching water outside the school was time-wasting and not safe for us girls. I could waste time going to fetch water instead of concentrating on my academics," said 12-year-old Agnes K.

But since we installed a high-capacity rain tank, things have been different for Agnes and her classmates.

"I do not strain to get water as it is easily accessible. I also drink clean and safe water. This has significantly improved my health standards," said Agnes.

With improved health and more time in class, Agnes has dreams for the future, and only time will tell where they may lead her.

"Being in class 6, I see [a] future that is brighter. I intend to fully concentrate on my academics until I make it in life, causing my guardians [to be] more happy and proud of me," said Agnes.

Agnes at her school rain tank collecting water.

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 Tande 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 Tande 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.