Kavumbu Secondary School

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude -1.58
Longitude 37.74

237 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the School

Kavumbu Secondary School is located in a area where water shortage is persistently an issue. Lack of water has affected school enrollment as students reportedly drop out of school due to the lack of sanitation and basic facilities. The girl child is affected the most, as basic sanitation issues greatly affect her personal hygiene. Various organizations have tried to implement hygiene programs in the community, and the government has contributed finances to channel water from the area’s main river sources. However, frequent breakdowns make these systems unreliable.

The school was selected by parents and self-help group members who are doing other projects with ASDF. Consultations with the school management committee resulted in our decision to build the school a rainwater catchment tank. With the tank, the school hopes to boost academic performance and student enrollment.

Water Situation

Since Kavumbu Secondary doesn’t have a reliable water source on school grounds, they are forced to seek other solutions. The school has boarding facilities for 176 students; 92 girls and 84 boys. The school must buy water from a borehole which is 14 kilometers away from the school! The school incurs a bill of 5000 Kenyan shillings per water-fetching trip. Such a large water bill results in raised tuition fees.

The school is also connected to a water pipeline that sources from one of the area’s main rivers. Even though the pipeline is unreliable, the school is still charged 10,000 shillings. Alternatively, the school can hire donkeys to go fetch water directly from the river. All of these options incur extra costs that have pushed school fees to an all-time high. Households that scrape together funds to pay for their children’s education are suffering.

The school has a 10,000-liter plastic reservoir tank used to store water meant for cooking and drinking. In a day, the school needs an average of 2000 liters of water. Due to these strains, the school has challenges in maintaining a clean environment.

Children report cases of stomachache and diarrhea during the dry periods when the school has to rely on various different water sources. Since there is only a limited amount of water, the school has to ration the amount of water each student consumes per day. The low water rations have affected personal hygiene, especially the hygiene of boarders. With these conditions, the health and academic performance of all students are poor.

Sanitation Situation

Kavumbu Secondary School has 14 pit latrines that teachers and students try their best to keep clean. However, this is difficult without enough water to do the job well. There are six bathing rooms for the boarders, but no hand-washing stations. There are a few clotheslines and dish racks for boarders to dry their belongings. The school has an open pit for disposing of garbage. School attendants burn the pit’s contents to keep it from overflowing.

All of the teaching and emphasis on hygiene happens in the classroom. There is minimal practice or enforcement of hygiene and sanitation outside the classroom. We believe this all results from a lack of water.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

That’s why students and teachers will greatly benefit from hygiene and sanitation training. The facilitator will hold training for one day at the school compound. This will involve students, teachers, and parents. CHAST (Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Training) will be used to teach personal hygiene and how to handle the new rainwater catchment tank. A highlight of the training session will be how to wash hands the right way!

The school will also be trained on how to form a school health club which will be responsible for in promoting hygiene and sanitation in the school. The school will also be expected to periodically clean the tank to prevent water contamination. The school management will ensure that water treatment is enforced.

Plans: Tank Construction

We are planning for a 105,000-liter rainwater catchment tank on school grounds. Parents have already begun gathering local materials that can be used in tank construction!

We also plan to deliver hand-washing stations before training so that they can be used for demonstrations and practice.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Kavumbu Secondary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment tank and latrines for the Kavumbu Secondary School in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and the contributions of our monthly donors, our partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partners Titus Mbithi and Joe Kioko with you.

The Water Project : asdf_kavumbu-secondary-school_yar_rebecca-mwikali-titus-kaunga-2

09/12/2016: Kavumbu Secondary School Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Kavumbu Secondary School in Kenya have a new source of safe, clean water: A new rainwater catchment system has been built. Two hand-washing stations have been installed, and the entire student body has received training in sanitation and hygiene. Just imagine the difference these resources will make in the lives of these students!

You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and many other projects.

The report below from our partner gives the latest details of the project. We also just updated the project page with new pictures. Make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab to check them out!

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held on school grounds. We worked with school leadership to schedule the most appropriate dates and times to ensure the best student turnout. A total of 44 students from classes nine through 12 attended.

3 kenya4501 training

The main topics covered were personal hygiene, how to prevent disease, keeping the environment clean, and hand-washing. We’ve included a picture of these demonstrations below; each student had the opportunity to practice hand-washing with water and soap. The training on this has equipped students to teach others how to use the two hand-washing stations delivered to the school. The facilitator used role-plays, posters, and group discussions to teach those topics and more.

1 kenya4501 training

Training resulted in a greater awareness of the role each student has to play in both their personal health and their school’s health. They have the ability to share the important of hygiene and sanitation practices with their peers and families. Most of these students have signed up to be part of the health club that will take care of the school’s new facilities, such as the hand-washing stations, and promote health and hygiene to all.

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 105,000-liter rainwater catchment tank began on May 9th.

Construction is done in three phases:

1. Resource Mobilization: The collection of local stones, water, sand, and any other materials that can be acquired for construction.

2. Construction: Parents came together to support our artisans during this phase. It included building the frame, mixing cement, and plastering.

3. Curing and Painting: The project is left for over a week to fully dry before it is painted.

14 kenya4501 construction

When this project was complete, the gratefulness of parents, school leadership, and students was obvious. Kook Kaunga, a teacher at the school, shared that “It’s usually difficult to run the school when there is no water. We are forced to buy water and pass the costs to the children’s parents, hence hiking the school fees. The water tank is a big relief as water will be enough for various uses.” Rose Mbula, a student who attended training and joined the student health club said, “Our school used to lack water and many students did not feel good about this. With water in the school we will work hard. I am happy with my school!”

We are sure that this tank will collect enough water for the entire student body to use throughout the year. The school staff has even decided to designate certain times for fetching water, and will keep the tap locked overnight. The student health club will help keep this area clean and take responsibility of the hand-washing stations, which will be cleaned and filled with fresh water on a regular basis.

With water so easily accessible on school grounds, time will be saved, money will be saved and ultimately students will be saved; waterborne disease will decrease and and academic performance will improve.

Thank You for unlocking the potential of students and staff at Kavumbu Secondary School!

The Water Project : 18-kenya4501-finished-tank

07/13/2016: Kavumbu Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, Kavumbu Secondary School in Kenya will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A rainwater catchment system is being constructed and the community will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Three hand-washing stations will also be delivered to the school campus. Together these resources will go a long way toward stopping the spread of disease in the area. We just posted an initial report including information about the school, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the project continues.

Click the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for your generosity!

The Water Project : 13-kenya4501-students

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Machakos, Kalawa
ProjectID: 4501
Install Date:  09/12/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/21/2017

Visit History:
12/16/2016 — Functional
06/04/2017 — Functional
09/06/2017 — Functional
12/21/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Kavumbu Secondary School

December, 2017

General hygiene levels have improved, and the water tank saves the school 40,000 shillings a month in water costs. This money is now used to restock textbooks that help students perform well academically.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater harvesting tank and latrines for the Kavumbu Secondary School in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and the contributions of our monthly donors, our partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partners Titus Mbithi and Joe Kioko with you.

Students no longer have interrupted days due to the need to walk to Kwa Kalenga Earth Dam to fetch water, which is one kilometer away.

Students have enough water for drinking, while the boarding students can easily bathe and wash their clothes. Levels of hygiene at the school have improved.

Principal Kioko, Field Officer Mbithi, and Rebecca all give a thumbs up for clean water.

We met Principal Kioko at the water tank to talk about how it’s further impacted his school. He said that “students no longer leave the school during study hours. General hygiene levels have improved, and the water tank saves the school 40,000 shillings a month in water costs. This money is now used to restock textbooks that help students perform well academically.” He continued by saying that “as a result of higher enrollment of students because of water availability, sometimes the demand for water at the tank necessitates rationing for it to last through drought.”

Rebecca Mwikali filling a cup with clean water from the tank.

17-year-old Rebecca Mwikali is a boarding student echoed what her principal had to say: “We are getting enough water for drinking, showering, and washing. We no longer walk to the dam to fetch water, and we now have access to hand-washing facilities which have improved hygiene.”

Students and staff no longer have to stress about where their water is gong to come from, and can instead focus on what they’re there for.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) supports self-help groups to harvest and conserve water through construction of sand dams & shallow wells, rock catchments and school roof catchments.