Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 478 Served

Project Phase:  Canceled/Re-Allocated
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Project Features

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When it doesn't rain at St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School, the 463 students and 15 staff members don't have water. This is a major problem for a school in a region that only experiences rain for half of the year.

The school has two smaller rain tanks (30,000-liters each), but only one functions properly and it simply is not enough to meet the demand. Students have been forced to carry water with them to school every day once the rain tank empties (which it does quickly after the rains stop). Yet, even when every student brings a heavy jug full of water to school with them, there is never enough for cooking, cleaning, or washing utensils, let alone drinking.

The functioning rain tank does work, but when we asked the school administration when the inside of the tank was last cleaned or chlorinated, no one knew. This, coupled with the fact that learners bring water from dubious sources along their daily routes, has led to high instances of water-related illness among teachers and students alike. The most common complaint is typhoid, though coughing, stomachaches, and headaches have also been blamed on drinking contaminated water.

"[At] the moment, we use water carried by pupils from their homes," explained Denis Ouma, the school's Head Teacher (pictured above). "We then experience health problems like coughing and even stomachache because children, when told to come with water, fetch water from any water point so long as it is called water, without minding water safety."

With all the issues around water, students' morale is perilously low, with high levels of absenteeism due to illnesses and the fact that students have come to see fetching water before school and during class time as a punishment.

"For me, I have to wake up early in the morning to go and fetch water to carry it to school at the protected spring or at times fetched it on a shallow well in our neighbor's home," said 10-year-old Velma. "During those morning hours, it is so cold, hectic, and tiresome to carry water to the school each morning."

A new source of water will boost students' health as well as their spirits. Along with feeling better, they will have more time and energy to devote to their studies. Hopefully, without the dreaded chore of lugging water along to school each morning, learners will once again come to view school as a place of opportunity and fun.

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

December, 2022: St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School Project Canceled

Thank you for your generous contribution towards the two rain tanks, latrines, and handwashing stations at St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School in Kenya.

We regrettably report that after working with the school and community for many months to devise a solution to their water issues, we determined that they cannot contribute the needed materials for the rain tank project, so it cannot go forward.

Thankfully, the students are already benefiting from new latrines and handwashing stations, but we are saddened by this news, as we always desire to provide the best solution to serve a community with reliable water. Unfortunately, sometimes unforeseen circumstances make it impossible.

Your contributions will now benefit another school community, Muchanja Primary School, which you can read more about here. The school's 665 students have no water source on campus and rely on contaminated water they collect from a local spring each day, but the water is putting their health at risk and causing them to miss valuable learning time and expend all their energy fetching water.

One thing is for sure. Your donation will benefit a community in need with a water project that will provide water for a very long time. For that, we are incredibly thankful!

If you have questions, please know we are happy to discuss this change further.

August, 2022: St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School Project Delayed

In these times of inflation, high fuel costs, and supply insecurity, everyone is having issues getting what they need at a reasonable price. The same is true in Kenya, where the staff and parents of St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School are hard at work mobilizing the (many) construction materials needed to construct two rain tanks.

While we provide the tools, expertise, and specialized parts, we also ask for each community's help so we can build their water project in a partnership. This way, St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School students and administration can be just as proud of the rain tanks once they're built as we will be.

We can't wait for the day this happens. We thank you for your patience as we await the completion of a water solution for St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School together.

Fortunately, the students are currently enjoying their new latrines and are equipped with knowledge from our hygiene and sanitation training to improve their health in the meantime.

We're always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer your questions. 

June, 2022: St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School Project Update!

The students and staff at St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School are getting excited!

As we promised, we wanted to keep you up to date on the project's progress. The school's new latrines are finished and operational. Their two rain tanks are in progress, and we expect them to be complete in August.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to sharing more exciting news soon!

April, 2022: An Update on St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School

The students and staff at St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School are excited to have important water and sanitation facilities soon.

When we work within a community, there are always surprises along the way. For St. Matthew's, we recently learned that even though we had performed a hydrogeological survey, our drilling efforts still came up dry. This setback gave us a chance to reevaluate, so instead of a borehole well, St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School will soon be the recipient of two rainwater catchment tanks.

Naturally, this change caused a slight delay in the project schedule. However, we'll be sure to update you as soon as we can with a report on the rain tanks' completion.

We believe communication is important at The Water Project. That means constant conversation with our teams as well as with supporters like you. And, if you get a notice like this – it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.

If you have any questions, please give us a call!

February, 2022: St. Matthew's Hamisi Primary School Borehole Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Matthew's Hamisi 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!


Trisha's Campaign for Water
3 individual donor(s)