Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 516 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Please note, original photos were taken before the pandemic.

St. Peter's Ebung'ale Primary School was established in 2013 by the National Government Constituency, and it is sponsored by the Anglican Church of Kenya. It was the community that saw the need for this school to be established since there was no other primary school in the immediate area. The school has completed the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education twice, and received positive results.

But for the 516 students and teachers on campus, there is no source of water on school grounds. The school relies on a spring about 1 kilometer away, sending students throughout the day to fetch water to cover all of the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. It is hard for the school to meet its water needs when it depends on the children to fetch it with only their small containers. There is no central storage container on campus, so the school can only store as much as the students collect in their small jerrycans.

When the spring dries up, children must carry water from home to school, though teachers report their water is not often safe for drinking either.

"Because of the lack of clean and safe water, the cooks find it difficult to prepare food for the pupils and even the staff because some pupils draw dirty water on their way to school. This makes the meals delayed, and study time wasted. The latrines are also not cleaned regularly as a result of lack of water on the school compound," said Headteacher Juliah Aswani.

Though the spring was protected at one point, it has fallen into disrepair and is also seasonal, meaning it dries up for part of the school year. The environment is not secure for drinking water since animals can access the water point directly, and the environment around it is not clean.

At the spring, the pupils have to wait for community members to draw water first. As the dry season approaches and these spring begins to dry up, its yield decreases, and the lines for water are long. Some students will also pluck sugarcane while passing through the farms to the spring, causing conflict within the community. All of this time spent fetching water equals a lot of missed class time, tired students, and setbacks in academic performance.

"When we go to fetch water, we have to wait for the community members to finish fetching before they allow us to fetch. We come back to school late, we go fetching water for drinking at break time, and we have little time to play," said pupil Samuel.

Consuming these various dirty water sources and the lack of water for handwashing leads to water-related diseases among pupils and teachers alike. They most commonly contract typhoid, diarrhea, and amoeba, they reported, in addition to pupils dealing with headaches and body aches in their necks and arms from having to carry water so many times in a day.

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

There is currently nowhere for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, let alone the water to do so.

The student health club will oversee the 2 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

Currently, the youngest pupils have to share a latrine with the teachers. Several latrines have missing doors, falling-in roofs, and are almost full. There are far too few latrines for the number of students.

2 triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. 3 doors will serve the girls while the other 3 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

All primary and secondary schools are currently closed in Kenya due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are scheduled to reopen in January 2021. Once classes resume, we will schedule a training session with students, teachers, and parents. This intensive 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

March, 2021: St. Peter's Ebunga'le Primary School Project Complete!

St. Peter's Ebunga'le Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which has the ability to 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.

Pupils and Field Officer Elvine celebrating the rain tank's completion.

"I will be able to access water any time I want without being harassed by the community members at the borehole. Reliable and safe water will help me achieve my goal of being a doctor. This is because I will now have enough time to be in class to learn," said pupil Juliet.

Girls drinking and enjoying clean water from the tank.

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

"I am so glad that I will now have time to teach and not keep on missing classes due to lack of water. This will also help me complete the syllabus in time and find time for revision with pupils. Being the sanitation teacher, I will be able to improve sanitation standards in school since we will have our own - and enough - water," said Irene Angido.

Sanitation Teacher Irene Angido enjoying water from the tank.

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.

Students help carry wooden poles to campus to be used for dome support in the rain tank construction process.

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.

Excavation begins

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.

Pouring 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.)

Tying sugar sacks to the wire walls.

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.

Interior cement work.

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.

Plastering the floor around the pillars

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.

Fitting the dome

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 a great 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.

Affixing the gutters

The headteacher wished to have a big ceremony to dedicate the new rain tank and latrines, but because of the government directives regarding COVID-19 prevention, it was impossible. She, therefore, made a brief speech of appreciation to The Water Project, saying that the school was to be closed down due to their lack of latrines, but because of our team's intervention, the school was allowed to remain in session. The entire school board was very grateful as well, and students celebrated by splashing and drinking water from the rain tank.

Field Officer Elvine hands over the rain tank to teachers and pupils.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, three for the girls and three for the boys.

Girls celebrate their new latrines.

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.

Boys celebrate their new latrines.

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.

Bravin using a new handwashing station at training.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the principal's help, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for the school. When the training day arrived, facilitators Jacquey Kangu, Joyce Naliaka, and Elvine Atieno
deployed to the site to lead the event. 14 pupils attended the training along with the Sanitation Teacher, Irene Angido. We held the training outside within the school compound. We arranged benches under a tree where the training was well conducted in the shade while observing the government regulations on COVID-19 prevention.


We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights, operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Pupils demonstrate using the elbow for safer coughs and sneezes.

The club will be greatly 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.

"I have learned how to make water safe and clean for drinking, and how to make our environment clean, and its importance. This will help me to live healthily," said student Belvin.

Student Juliet demonstrating handwashing at training.

"This training has been useful to me. I have been living in fear, thinking that I might die of this deadly pandemic, but I've learned that I have to be keen to observe all the government and health directives, and I will be able to live," said student Bravin.

We asked Bravin 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.

"It was really bad. Staying at home has not been easy. I used to do a lot of work, and there was not enough food for us at home. I didn't like it. I missed my teachers, friends, and learning."

"I feel good about being back at school because I can now continue with learning and just stay away from much work at home. The school headteacher bought more handwashing facilities which encourage regular handwashing. Our teachers also punish anyone found in class without a mask," Bravin said.

"I will be able to make masks and sell others to my schoolmates who don't have masks because I've been taught how to make a mask and the importance of putting on a mask properly," he added.

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' team to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Pupils celebrate water from the tank.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2021: St. Peter's Ebunga'le Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Peter's Ebunga'le 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: School Garden Prospering!

April, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Peter’s Ebunga’le Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Juliet. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Peter's Ebunga'le 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!

Eleven-year-old Juliet shared what her daily life was like before her school, St. Peter's Ebunga'le Primary School, installed a rain tank last year.

"I was missing lessons in class to go and fetch drinking water. Getting water was a problem before this water point was implemented," said Juliet.

But since the rain tank was installed, things are different for Juliet and her classmates. And the school garden is prospering, providing the needed food for teachers and students to eat lunch every day.

"Getting clean drinking water was made easier for us. No lesson is missed because water is in school. It is easier to quench thirst, unlike before. We have planted sukuma wiki (collard greens) in school. Watering our plants in school doesn't require me to go home to fetch water," shared Juliet.

Juliet (far right) and her classmates 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 St. Peter's Ebunga'le 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 St. Peter's Ebunga'le 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 Underwriter - G2 Foundation
Pfizer Foundation Employee Match
6 individual donor(s)