Shivakala Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.26
Longitude 34.76

500 Served

Project Status:

Take a Tour

"Now, our school will be certified again as having complied with water safety and quality standards. Our school no longer faces the threat of closure."

Head Teacher Hezbon Ambeva

Explore The Project

Stories and Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Background Information

Shivakala Primary School was started by the community as a nursery school back in 1990. Since then, it has grown into a large school with a primary section, early education wing, and a special unit that cares for pupils with physical and mental disabilities. The school is located in Shivakala Village, Shirere Sub-Location, Bukhungu Location, Kakamega Central Sub-County and hosts a total of 584 children; 501 pupils (261 girls and 240 boys) in primary section, 63 children (34 boys and 29 girls) in early education and 20 pupils (nine boys and 11 girls) in the special needs category. The school also employs a total of 18 teachers and four support staff.

(Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This site would make a great candidate for a second project. To learn more, click here.)

The Current Source

The school has a seasonal hand-pump borehole with water that cannot fully meet the need of such a large school population. The surrounding villages also depend on it as their only source of water. The borehole discharges very scanty, brown and turbid water that should only be fit for mopping floors. However, due to a lack of alternatives, this same water is unfortunately being used to provide drinking, cooking and hand-washing water to the school community. “Kakamega County Public Health Team has since condemned this water,” reported the head teacher. “They have not only threatened to close our school but have also enlisted us as having failed to comply with the water safety and quality standards.”

Sanitation Situation

The school has six latrine doors serving 283 boys and another six doors serving 301 girls while there are only four doors between teachers and staff. All latrine pits are almost full, smelly, and dirty. Some have loosely-fitted doors that make them uncomfortable to use. “We do crowd and form long queues during breaks as we compete to share these few doors of latrines,” the girls confided. “The matter is made worse when the class teacher punishes us for reporting to class late after long queues in the latrine,” said the boys, “We sometime have to urinate around the latrine area since we have no urinary points except these few latrines.” The school only has one hand-washing point serving both teachers and pupils. A huge scramble to use these is always witnessed during lunch hours or between classes.

Shortages of both water and sanitation facilities have predisposed pupils to illnesses that are stomach-related, headache-related, and jiggers and malaria. Diarrhea especially results in dehydration and a greater intake of unsafe water, more so among the early education classes. “We deal with ill-health cases almost daily. This has not only interfered with children’s retention in classes but it is also straining the few resources we have since the school is always forced to foot medical costs for emergency cases,” says the school health and sanitation teacher.


The school is in dire need of more sanitation facilities to help ease the congestion witnessed between classes and during lunch breaks. New VIP latrines will be constructed for students; and to prepare, they will work together to sink the latrine pits. Two supplementary hand-washing stations will also be installed. Constructing a rainwater catchment tank will give children an opportunity to drink water from a safe, reliable, and hygienic source. This will not only boost students’ self confidence but will also help reduce ill-health cases attributed to the intake of contaminated water from the condemned borehole. In addition, sanitation and hygiene training will empower the community in areas of resource management, personal hygiene, and environmental hygiene. This will help eliminate the cases of jiggers and diarrhea reported above.

Project Results: Training

Training was held at the school compound on March 3-4. A letter was written to the head teacher informing him that training would be held within the school compound so he could organize the training venue ahead of time. He was also requested to choose the participants for the training. Participants were drawn from the representation of pupils, teachers and management board members. For sustainability purposes, pupils were drawn from classes five, six and seven. Two facilitators were responsible for teaching, while a total of 13 students, three parents, and two teachers attended. All present participated actively throughout, responding to questions and in the same way asking questions to find out more.

A wide range of topics were covered, including:

  • Primary Healthcare
  • Local Disease Control
  • Environmental Hygiene
  • Local Resources
  • Child Rights
  • Forming a CTC Club and its Roles
  • Operation and Maintenance of the Rainwater Catchment Tank

After the CTC training in the school, pupils and teachers from Shivakala Primary School are now aware that keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

“Your visit in Shivakala primary school is a divine call, we will make sure the water tank and VIP latrines are maintained well. I have learnt a lot during this two day training workshop. We will also make sure that the entire school gets all the information. I wish you could extend the training days! It was really enjoyable,” said Teacher Wilkister Muteshi.

VIP Latrines

VIP latrine construction is now complete and in use by students. The pupils are now very happy that the additional sanitation facilities will help reduce the long queues previously witnessed during break time. “The teachers will no longer have to punish us as a result of being late during break time. I like using the newly constructed facilities since they are clean and do not smell,” one of the pupils stated.

Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered and installed and are now in use. Students were trained on proper hand-washing, and both boys and girls are happy using these facilities. They admitted that before, they would eat before washing their hands because they lacked hand-washing facilities and water was also too scarce. Now the pupils are observing good hygiene practices!

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 30,000-liter tank began on March 4th. The process began with site clearance, setting and casting the foundational slab, construction of the wall, roofing, and installation of fittings such as delivery pipes, vent pipes, and screens. Finally, good drainage was ensured.

The only challenge encountered was that it took longer than usual to mobilize the local materials needed. This was the responsibility of the community, and so construction was delayed slightly as materials were slowly delivered. This is a very poor area that struggled to support the project, but in the end, they succeeded. The head teacher is planning a meeting with all the parents so that all of them can celebrate the success that came after the struggle to provide locally available materials.

Completion created a lot of enthusiasm among pupils, teachers and parents. Pupils are very pleased with the project in their school, confident that they are drawing safe drinking water from the tank as opposed to when they were forced to drink contaminated water from the seasonal old well. Cases of water borne and water related diseases like diarrhea, typhoid and stomachache previously reported will eventually be eliminated.

“Completion of the WASH projects in my school has put a smile on my face. I am certain that our school will be removed from the list of schools who failed to comply with water safety and quality standards from Kakamega County Public Health team records. Now, our school will be certified again as having complied with water safety and quality standards. Our school no longer faces the threat of closure,” Head Teacher Hezbon Ambeva said.

Project Videos

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

11/15/2017: A Year Later: Shivakala Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system, latrines, and hand washing stations for Shivakala Primary School in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, our partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. Because of these consistent visits, we learn vital lessons and we hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one with you.

The Water Project : 4-kenya4597-meditse-khavetsa

03/24/2016: Shivakala Primary School Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Shivakala Primary School in Kenya have a new source of safe, clean water. A new rainwater harvesting system and new latrines have been built. Two hand-washing stations have been installed, and the students and community have received training in sanitation and hygiene. Just imagine the difference these resources will make in the lives of these students! We just updated the project page with the latest details, including pictures.

The Water Project and Shivakala Primary School Thank You for unlocking potential!

The Water Project : 16-kenya4597-complete

02/12/2016: Shivakala Primary School Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, Shivakala Primary 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. 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 and pictures. As soon as we have them, we will add GPS coordinates as well. We’ll keep you posted as the project continues.

Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : 4-kenya4597-hand-washing-station

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kenya, Kakamega, Bukhungu, Shirere, Shivakala Village
ProjectID: 4597
Install Date:  03/24/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/30/2018

Visit History:
03/22/2016 — Functional
10/12/2016 — Functional
01/27/2017 — Functional
04/30/2017 — Functional
01/30/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Shivakala Primary School

August, 2017

A lot has changed in our school. I now have peace in my mind that my pupils are getting safe drinking water in the school.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system, latrines, and hand washing stations for Shivakala Primary School in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, our partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. Because of these consistent visits, we learn vital lessons and we hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one with you.

“As you approach the school, you are welcomed by a clean compound with no litter,” says field officer Catherine Chepkemoi. “As I entered the staff room, I noticed the floor was clean – a clear indication that it was mopped in the morning. The latrines and classrooms were also clean. This is a clear indication that sanitation has greatly improved,” says Catherine.


“Pupils are now able to access clean safe drinking water in the school. They no longer must carry water from home to school for drinking. Instead, they carry empty bottles from home to school. At break times, they freely access water from the tank. They fill their empty bottles and take water for drinking to their classrooms and they quench their thirst whenever they feel thirsty.”
Catherine had the chance to speak with Head Teacher Hesborn Ambeva during her visit. “A lot has changed in our school. I now have peace in my mind that my pupils are getting safe drinking water in the school. We now have enough water for drinking, cleaning the classrooms and latrines on daily basis as well as water for cooking in the school. Performance has also improved. There was a great improvement of + 12 % in the 2016 end year examinations compared to previous years.”


Metrix Khavesa, a 12-year-old student at Shivakala Primary School, said, “I am happy to come to school every day from Monday to Friday knowing that I will get safe drinking water in the school. I no longer must carry water from home. Carrying a 10-liter jerry can to school was too heavy for me. I will improve my performance since I want to go a good secondary school. I know I have a bright future.”
4597_YAR_5 A year later, Shivakala Primary School has improved in so many ways thanks to accessing clean water on the school grounds. As we continue to monitor their progress and conduct refresher courses on hygiene and sanitation practices, we’re excited to share more stories from this primary school in Kenya.

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.


Country Details


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

Partner Profile

Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.