Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,025 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/02/2024

Project Features

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Because Bulupi Friends Primary School only has two tiny rain tanks for its large 1,025-student population, the students are forced to bring water from home every day. And even with every student carrying in a jug of water, it's never enough to serve the school's many water needs.

During the rainy season, the small tanks often quickly fill, but they empty almost as fast. In the dry season, the tanks are useless.

The poor quality of the water students carry from home makes them sick. The most commonly reported consequences of drinking the water at the school are typhoid, diarrhea, and stomach problems. This has caused recurring absenteeism among the students.

"Pupils bring water from different water sources, which [I] am not sure of its safety," said Deputy Head Teacher Patmore Mosiki, 38. "So many times, [I] am forced to remain thirsty until [I] am back home. The ability to drink water from school has been so difficult."

13-year-old student James blames his poor performance on the school's water situation, and the fact that he has often been ill. "I have missed most of morning class lessons due to carrying water," he said. "It's difficult. I always get so exhausted, forcing me to doze off the entire class lesson. My parents are worried as my performance is poor."

What We Can Do:

Two 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: Bulupi Primary School Rain Tanks Complete!

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

"Accessibility of the water point will allow me [to] spend less time and effort physically collecting water," said Faith M., a 12-year-old student. "Collecting water directly in the school compound is less time-consuming, thus creating more time for studies. Cases of infections related to water will reduce drastically as our water is safe for drinking."

Before, Faith would have had to carry in a jug of water every day along with her books, which sometimes made her late for class. But now, she said, that won't be a problem anymore.

"I will be able to report to school on time, allowing me [to] enjoy ample time in my classwork," Faith explained. "Ample time for my studies will greatly affect my performance in a positive way."

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

"Access to clean water will help our pupils and teachers improve sanitation around our school," said deputy headteacher, Stephen Shitera.

"The pupils will also consume safe water and reduce on water-related diseases such as typhoid and cholera. I hope and it is my prayer that students will perform better. This water point will help minimize on time wasted on water collection and maximize on studies."

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tanks

Construction for these 75,000-liter rain tanks was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. The school community provided meals and accommodations for the tanks’ 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 locations. The sites need enough land and nearby buildings with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Students showed interest in the construction process.

Then, we cleared the sites 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 the drawing and drainage pipes as we spread the foundations.

Next, we formed the walls using skeletons of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. We attached the frames to the foundations’ edges to start the Ferro-cementing process. The sugar sacks are removed once the interiors receive their first two layers of cement. We layered the cement until six layers were in place, ensuring long-lasting construction.

Inside the tanks, we cast one central and four support pillars each to ensure the domes do not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner walls and roughcast the outer walls.

We dug and plastered the access areas to the taps outside the tanks, installing short staircases. We constructed soak pits in front of the access areas where spilled water will drain from the access areas through the ground. The pits help to keep the tap areas dry and tidy.

Dome construction began after the walls settled. We attached skeletons of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tanks’ walls before cementing and plastering, using similar techniques to the wall construction. We included small manhole covers to allow access for future cleanings, water treatments, and repairs. 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 roofs and tanks, and setting overflow pipes at the edge of the domes for when the tanks reach capacity.

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

Finally, we handed over the rain tanks 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 two rain tanks 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 Betty, Stella, and Sam deployed to the site to lead the event. 18 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside on a cool but sunny day with a nice breeze.

Facilitator teaches students about maintenance of the rain tanks.

We focused on personal hygiene, 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.

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.

In fact, leadership was the favorite topic of the day. Students enjoyed coming up with the traits and qualities that make a good leader (according to them, these are: good communication skills, being a role model, having respect and a clear vision, and being hardworking). Some students said that the election of the student health club leaders was the only fair election they had ever seen.

"Hygiene and sanitation is key in day-to-day life," said 13-year-old student Manuel S.

Manuel at the tank.

"Good hygiene and sanitation standards promote a healthy community. Today has been historical as we have been informed and equipped with the best hygiene and sanitation practices. I foresee a healthy generation in the years to come as we will be able to disseminate information gathered to the entire members of the community."

When an issue arises concerning the rain tanks, 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: Bulupi Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Bulupi 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: More Time to Learn!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bulupi 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!

Abby Z., 13, recalled what life was like at Bulupi Primary School before her school’s two rain tanks were installed last year.

"We used to come with water from home or [be] forced to go collect from a community spring which was hard and time-wasting," said Abby.

But life is much more enjoyable for Abby and the other students at Bulupi Primary School now.

"We now have sufficient water for drinking and cleaning our classes. It is good also because the lower classes can have water without disturbing others," said Abby.

Having ready access to water from the rain tanks has made a difference for Abby and her fellow students, allowing them time to focus on learning once again.

"Our teachers are trying their best to help us recover [the] time [that] used to be wasted while looking for clean water by having extra lessons, which [I] am sure will improve our scores," concluded Abby.

Thank you for helping Abby access clean water and regain time to learn and hopefully create a brighter future.

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.


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 Bulupi 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 Bulupi 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 - The Langferman Family