Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 950 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

The large population of 837 students and 20 teachers at Kuvsali Primary School makes it difficult to operate without water. There is not enough drinking water, leading to students regularly becoming dehydrated. And if there isn't enough water for drinking, then there definitely isn't enough for cleaning and cooking.

Mr. Javan Kaka Msambayi, the school's Head Teacher, shared, "We are suffering a lot because as a teacher and a parent too, I feel bad when I see the children lacking the basic thing that they need for survival. Lack of enough water, especially during this pandemic, has made life in school unbearable for children and the staff."

Currently, pupils carry water from their homes every day because the water sources at the school are not reliable, and they do not want to risk going the whole day without water.

Mr. Msambayi continued, "Sometimes I release the pupils to go home early because some are thirsty, dirty due to lack of water in school, and this has affected the school performance. Sometimes it's hard to keep the children who are dehydrated in school because they can get water back home."

The standpipe at the school, the primary source of water, is not consistent. The water from the county is only available two days a week. On the other days, the tap is dry. It can also run dry for three months at a time.

There is an 8,000-liter rainwater tank at the school, but it is empty for months during the dry season. When the tank fills with rainwater, it helps, but it runs dry by the end of the day. At times, pupils end up fighting while they wait in line because they fear there will not be enough water to go around.

The lack of water has an impact on students' ability to study and make academic progress. Peninah, a 14-year-old student, commented, "Sometimes I carry drinking water from home to school, but it's not enough because sometimes I share with my classmates who also need water. This has affected my studies a lot because I know drinking water helps a person to be alert, but here in school, without water, I always feel sleepy. I miss what the teacher is saying."

The lack of water also affects the school's sanitation and hygiene situation. The classrooms are dusty, making students with asthma uncomfortable and sick, and the latrines are dirty.

A new, larger rain tank is the best solution because of the large school population. It will allow students to have access to water throughout the entire school day so they can focus on learning.

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

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

We will hold a 1-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

April, 2022: Kuvasali Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Kuvasali Primary School in Kenya now has access to safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank! We also installed new latrines and handwashing stations and trained on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"Reliable water will save time for my studies due to [a] lack of congestion at the water point," said 13-year-old student Faith M.

"During dry seasons, it will also save time since I won't go far away from school to fetch water. I will save most of the time I spent fetching water from home to school, especially during the dry seasons. I would spend the saved time on books to improve my studies. I won't contract communicable diseases such as typhoid."

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

Betty is second from the left in this photo.

"Access to reliable, safe water from the water point will largely help in reducing the harmful effects of contamination on myself and people who use water from this water point," said Betty Manyasa, the school's deputy headteacher.

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 community provided meals and accommodations for the tank’s artisans. Locals helped our artisans with manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration scouting around the school compound for the best rain tank location. The site needs 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 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 the frame to the foundation's edges so we could start the Ferro-cementing process. The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first two layers of cement. We layered the cement until six layers were in place, ensuring long-lasting construction.

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 and roughcast the outer walls.

We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside the tank, installing a short staircase. We constructed a soak pit in front of the access area where spilled water will drain from the access area through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Dome construction began after the tank walls settled. We attached a skeleton of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering, using similar techniques to the wall construction. We included a small manhole cover to allow access for future cleanings, water treatments, and repairs. 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 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. We removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tank.

Finally, we handed over the rain tank to the school. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus.

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 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

We set up two handwashing stations and handed them over to the school’s newly formed student health club. These were placed outside 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, fill the stations with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent available.

New Knowledge

We coordinated with the school's staff to schedule our hygiene and sanitation training. When the training day arrived, facilitators Joel, Amos, Erick, and Beverly deployed to the site to lead the event. 45 students and teachers attended the training, which we held on the school grounds.

We focused on personal hygiene, 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 school's water, sanitation, and hygiene project management. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

Friday collecting water.

"I was very, very much thankful for the training. I learned a lot of new things such as soap-making, which will help me in my house chores," said 12-year-old Friday S, who was elected as secretary of the new student health club. "Also the correct way of washing hands, which was very much important. This will reduce the spread of diseases to both myself and my family members."

Friday's favorite topic, though, was dental hygiene. "[It] will prevent common diseases such as tooth decay, tooth cavities, and bleeding gums."

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!

March, 2022: Kuvasali Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kuvasali 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: "Safe and Secure!"

July, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kuvasali 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!

Naliaka R., 16, recalled what life was like at Kuvasali Primary School before her school’s rainwater catchment was implemented last year.

"We used to go for water from a nearby stream, and the path to the spring was bad. Whenever it rained, the path was slippery, and this made it so hectic to go for water from the spring," Naliaka shared.

But life is much simpler for Naliaka and the other students at Kuvasali Primary School now.

"The only task I have currently is to get to school. Once [I] am in school, I no longer have to go and fetch water from the stream. Our classes and toilets are now clean, making the school more friendly. [I] am safe and secure in the school compound," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the rainwater catchment has made a difference for Naliaka, allowing her to focus on school and not worry about her safety.

"[I] am planning to work hard to get the best [grades] in this school and achieve my academic goals," Naliaka concluded.

Thank you for helping Naliaka access clean water so she can put all her energy into chasing her academic dreams.

Right now, there are others just like her 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.

Happy for clean 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 Kuvasali 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 Kuvasali 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 - New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Mainstay Technologies Fund