Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 714 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/21/2024

Project Features

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There is no water at Mungabira Primary School for the 702 students and 12 teachers and staff who come here every day. Andrea Chesikani founded the school in 1983 when he donated land for the institution because he was concerned that local kids had to travel too far to access an education. Since then, however, little has changed at the school aside from the growing student population. In fact, since 2006, the school has actually registered declining academic performance. Teachers and staff say that their severe water shortage is directly connected to the school's poor performance.

To meet the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs, teachers have to ask students to carry water from home each morning. Then, when that water runs out in the afternoon, they send students out into the village to fetch water at a protected spring during lunch and game times.

"The students feel that they are being punished when asked to fetch water. This demoralizes them whenever they realize it's break time or games time," said teacher Judith Chebechuma.

The morning walk to school carrying water and books is cumbersome for students on the hilly terrain. Some arrive late because they had to find water at home first. Others arrive too tired to focus well.

"Climbing this slope with water is always stressful. We are always punished when we forget our water container at home," said student Charles.

At the spring, there are constant conflicts between students and community members. The adults often do not allow the students to fetch water until all community members have fetched it, sometimes forcing pupils to compete with their own parents for water. Community members say students do not adhere to the spring rules as stipulated by the water user committee, compromising the spring's structure and quality.

The school's neighboring properties also complain that the students destroy their farms on the spring path, including their valuable sugarcane and vegetable crops. Because the path goes steeply downhill to the spring and includes a bushy area, teachers are apprehensive about students' safety as they cannot be observed on their walks to fetch water. All of these walks and the long wait time at the spring further detract from students' class time and energy.

Even when some of the water students fetch is clean, their containers are not contaminating the water as it is combined for use at school. Stomachaches are common among those who drink the students' water, teachers and pupils agree. Without enough water to meet even drinking and cooking needs, cleaning the latrines and handwashing are frequently sacrificed. This perpetuates the cycle of diarrheal diseases, absenteeism, and declining academic performance.

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

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

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

We will construct two triple-door latrine blocks using local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls, while the other three 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

July, 2021: Mungabira Primary School Project Complete!

Mungabira Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which can 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.

"From this new water point, I am now able to save a lot of time that I used to go to the river to fetch water and use the time for studying since the water is now easily accessible. For the time I put into my studies, I know I will pass my exams and become a better person in the future," said Derrick.

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

"From this water point, I am confident we are going to have a reduced rate of diseases among the students which are water-related. This will ensure a hundred percent attendance of learners making the learning process swift and successful," said Sweeney Oronje, 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. Local women and men 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 directly following the training. 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.

Teachers were thrilled to watch students dancing, singing, and splashing water, thanking Da Bomb Bath Fizzers for making them achieve the dream of having a reliable source of water at their school.

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.

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.

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, facilitators Edmond Otieno, Adelaide Nasimiyu, Joyce Naliaka, and Emmah Nambuye deployed to the site to lead the event. Seventeen students and teachers attended the training, which we held under a tree in the school compound.

Participants were recruited considering their class level and gender to represent all students. The health teacher was also recruited for the training.

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.

"I have learned about the COVID-19 protocols and what COVID-19 safety entails in general. For instance, washing hands often, putting on a face mask, keeping enough physical distance, and sneezing or coughing while covering the mouth. From this knowledge, I can know how to protect myself and those around me as a way of preventing the spread of COVID-19," said Harrison.

We asked Vallery 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.

"There was a lot of time wastage since the closing of schools due to COVID-19. A whole year of learning went by doing nothing which would have been used for learning. I missed interacting with my friends and teachers in the process of learning the subjects I love. I am happy that we are back to school, for I missed school so much and am happy that I will now be able to complete my studies and move to the next level."

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 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!

June, 2021: Mungabira Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mungabira 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 Videos

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: Irrigation and Ideas!

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mungabira 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!

When we recently spoke to 46-year-old health teacher Maximilla Pamba, she said, "Students used to carry water from home, which was so time-wasting, and also the water source was not known."

But things have changed since we installed a rain tank at Mungabira Primary School last year.

"It [is] easier to get access to water being on the school compound. The students fetch water and settle in class," said Maximilla.

Now that students have easier access to water, they have more time and energy to devote to learning and helping other projects flourish. "We have a garden, and we are using the water for irrigation, especially during the dry season."

Maximilla concluded, "We have achieved forming a club, which makes it easier for the students to share ideas." With improved relationships between students and teachers, the future is brighter for everyone at Mungabira.

Students 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 Mungabira 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 Mungabira 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 - Da Bomb Bath Fizzers