Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 963 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

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The 963 students at Ikoli Primary School say that their chests ache from having to carry 40 lb. (18.14 kg) jerrycans for such a long and grueling distance every day.

The road to get to the once-protected spring is long, twisting, hilly, and often rife with reckless motorcycle taxi drivers. A teacher must accompany them to the water point for security purposes, especially for the girls. And when students must fetch water multiple times a day, the trip becomes daunting.

"I have to go to bring water to be used at school at least twice a day, sometimes even more times than that," said Valencia I., 12. "I'm required to carry a 20-liter jerrycan for this. At the end of the day, I end up taking painkillers to relieve the aches in my body that come from the carrying of the heavy water."

While at the spring, students sometimes must queue behind community members. Fights break out because no one wants to wait, and students lose these more often than not. The area around the water point is flooded, which is unsafe when children have to step in the stagnant water to fill their containers. Sometimes, students disappear at the water point rather than trekking the long way back to school.

"As a teacher, I have been a victim of having my lessons interrupted so that the learners can go and fetch water for various uses within the school," said Madam Laura, 47 (pictured below at the spring, waiting for students to fill their jerrycans).

"This has, in turn, ended up affecting both me and the learners, especially at the end of the year when they have to compete with other learners," Laura continued. "They end up posting very dismal results."

The effects on the students' mental health and academic performance would be cause enough for them to receive a water source of their own. However, since the spring was protected in 2006, it has fallen into disrepair; the catchment area has been compromised. This has led to rampant health issues in the school, including typhoid, amoeba, and bilharzia, among others. These infections are augmented by the poor hygiene at the school due to water scarcity. The school doesn't have the water to spare for regular cleaning of classrooms and latrines, especially when students dread fetching water as much as they do.

With two rainwater catchment tanks on school grounds, students' mental and physical health will improve. They will be in class longer and will be able to focus on learning in a cleaner, safer environment.

What We Can Do:

Rain Tanks

Two 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tanks 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, these tanks 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 lead to better student academic performance and 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—one block for girls and one for boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and clean. And with two rain tanks 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 and teachers. 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 tanks, 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, like 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

April, 2022: Ikoli Primary School Rain Tanks Complete!

Ikoli Primary School in Kenya now has access to safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tanks! 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.

Happy for clean water!

Student Olphen M., 16, said, "I no longer have to carry my big container which was heavy to school. This was a very tiring process. I will have more time on my hands to be able to cover the syllabus as required. This will, in turn, help improve my performance and also [give me the] time to engage in other activities that I like, such as football and debates."

Olphen with clean water to drink.

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

Teacher Emily Kipkuto, said, "With access to reliable and safe water, [I] am now sure the water [I] am drinking is from a safe source. Before the project learners would have to bring water from home and from different sources. This water would at times make me sick, but now [I] am assured of the source and its safety."

Teacher Emily Kipkuto with clean water.

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

Construction of the two 75,000-liter rain tanks 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.

Site measurements while students watch.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to determine the best location for the new rain tanks. This needed to be the best site with enough land and nearby buildings with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Laying stone for the foundation.

Then, we cleared the site by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundations. We cast the foundations by laying big stones on the level ground and reinforcing them using steel wire, concrete, and waterproof cement. We affixed both drawing pipes and drainage pipes as we laid the foundations.

Wire wall framework with sugar sacks attached.

Next, we formed the walls using skeletons of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outsides as backing. We attached these 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 sides until six cement layers were in place. (The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first two layers of cement.)

Pouring cement for pillars.

Inside the tanks, we cast one central and four support pillars to ensure the domes do not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner walls while roughcasting the outer walls. We dug and plastered the access areas to the taps outside the tanks, installing short staircases. In front of the access areas, we constructed soak pits where spilled water can drain from the access areas through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap areas dry and tidy.

Students help put the dome framework in place.

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls settled. We attached dome skeletons of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering them using similar techniques as the wall construction. We included small manhole covers in the domes to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

Cementing the tank dome.

We propped long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside each tank to support the domes while they cured. Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting lockable covers over the tap areas, affixing the gutters to the roof and tanks, and setting overflow pipes in place at the edge of the domes for when the tanks reach capacity.

The tank curing.

Once finished, we gave the rain tanks three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. Finally, we removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tanks.

We officially handed over the rain tanks to the school. 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. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Students collect water from a tank.

VIP Latrines

Girls at their 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 rain tanks 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, facilitators Patience Njeri, Samuel Simidi, David Machanja, and Dominic Mang'ong'o deployed to the site to lead the event. 17 students and teachers attended the training, which took place outside, under a tree, in front of the staff room.

Training materials were handed out to students.

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 tanks, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Students take notes while learning.

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

Boys handwashing station.

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.

Students practice soapmaking.

Soapmaking was the most memorable topic. The participants were very excited to learn about how to make soap as none of them had ever participated in such an activity. During the whole soapmaking procedure, they sang and danced as they took turns helping.

Olphen, the student quoted earlier, said, "I got to learn many things during this training which included but not limited to, soapmaking, personal hygiene, sex, and teenage pregnancy, among others. This new knowledge will help change the way I have been doing things and help me make better decisions for my future."

Students receive a bible.

We asked Olphen 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.

He said, "During this season I had to stay at home. This meant that most of the time I would be out helping my family. I got very little time to study because most of my time was spent helping with chores around the house."

He continued, "I am happy [I] am back at school now. I can comfortably study and be able to manage my work within the time available with no outside distractions."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2022: Ikoli Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ikoli 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: "The future is going to be brighter."

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ikoli Primary School 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ikoli Primary School 2 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!

John M., 11, recalled what life was like at Ikoli Primary School before his school’s rain tanks were installed last year.

"Accessing clean water in this school was very difficult. I felt tortured whenever I was told to fetch water from home and bring it to school. I used to get so tired carrying water together with my books," said John.

But life is much more enjoyable and not as exhausting for John and the other students at Ikoli now.

"[I] am a happy school-going pupil. Life in this school is easy and enjoyable. I [have] access [to] water so easily, without any struggle. I no longer get tired unless it is during drought season and there are no rains," John said.

Having ready access to water from the rain tanks has made a difference for John, allowing him to save his energy for other things like learning.

"I anticipate to perform better this year and [in] the years to come. The future is going to be brighter," concluded John.

Thank you for helping John access clean water and dream about a more hopeful future.

Right now, there are others just like him in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can’t wait to introduce you to the next person you’ll help.

John (center) with his teacher and TWP staff member.

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 Ikoli Primary School 2 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 Ikoli Primary School 2 – 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.


Sandcastle Giving Fund
Aldie Volunteer Fire Dept
23 individual donor(s)