Cheptulu Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.01
Longitude 34.86

500 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and Community Profile

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

Welcome to the School

The Cheptulu Primary School is located in Shaviringa location, Cheptulu sub-location, Shiru Ward of Vihiga County. The school has a population of 647 pupils, composed of 312 boys and 335 girls. The school also employs 13 teachers, out of which four are female and nine are male. (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 location for a second project. To learn more, click here.)

A normal day entails reporting to school very early in the morning, when pupils arrive with water in their small 5-liter jerrycans to clean their classrooms in preparation for class. When they are finished with cleaning, they do morning preps and exercises for 40 minutes as teachers arrive to start their lessons. The lessons begin exactly at 8am and go to 10am when they take a short break and then return for more lessons. They take another break for lunch that lasts for one hour. They continue with lessons at 2pm until 3:45pm, when they stop for games as they wait for dismissal.

The headmaster of Cheptulu Primary School highly values education. He hates to waste time that could otherwise be spent in the classroom. He dislikes that in the course of the day, pupils must fetch water from an unprotected spring for cooking because what they carry from home is not enough. This takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how many people are already waiting at the spring to fetch water. The spring is 1km away from the school.

The school was selected for a project because the principal of Ebwiranyi Secondary School is a friend to the Cheptulu headmaster. The principal invited this headmaster to see what WEWASAFO had done through TWP at his own school, and the headmaster was very impressed. Cheptulu Primary School was then given the proper contact information, contacted WEWASAFO, and then the WEWASAFO team went to the school to assess the need.

Water Situation

The school has no reliable, protected source of water. Students get water from a nearby unprotected spring which is also used by local households. The spring is open to contamination, since a lot of activities are carried out around it which include: washing clothes, bathing children, and watering animals. There are even those who are in the carwash business who wash a lot of equipment in the spring. This exposes the children to many water-related diseases!

The only visible water storage equipment as one enters the school is a tank that is old and not in use. As the head teacher reports, the tank has been there for quite some time, sitting idle. The school is in desperate need of a rainwater catchment system that actually works!

Sanitation Situation

The school currently has 15 ventilated pit latrines (VIP latrines). Ten are for girls, though two of them are full. Five are for boys. This leaves the school with far fewer latrines than the WHO would recommend (1 latrine per 25 girls and 1 latrine per 30 boys). For the case of Cheptulu Primary School, one door is serving about 33 girls, and one door is serving 62 boys. Therefore, long queues are witnessed during break times, leading to a loss of precious study time! This tremendous overuse is also a health risk to the children.

The school does not have any hand-washing stations for students or staff to use. “We have been affected so much, and every now and then with waterborne diseases resulting in stomachaches and typhoid among our pupils who are always absent, which leads to poor performance. We also have inadequate facilities at which our pupils queue, wasting a lot of time for when they are to be in class,” said Head Teacher John Isatia.

Despite this difficult situation, the school’s attitude towards sanitation and hygiene is positive. They are willing to be trained on different topics to bring about healthy changes.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Students and staff will be trained over three days using Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), and Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) methods. Training will include group discussions, lectures, presentations, handouts, a transect walk, and demonstrations.

Based on the initial survey conducted at the school, topics covered will include but not be limited to sensitizing the community against open defecation and empowering them to properly operate and maintain their new water and sanitation facilities.

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will be constructed on school grounds. Teachers, students, and parents will gather the materials needed for this project, including sand, ballast, bricks, and hardcore. This contribution will fuel a sense of responsibility for the school and community to take care of their new facilities. Once materials are mobilized, the WEWASAFO team will arrive to lead the construction effort.

Plans: VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed, providing three new latrines for each gender. Latrine materials will be mobilized the same way as the tank, ensuring the school feels these facilities are truly theirs.

Plans: Hand-Washing Stations

Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school before training. These come in the form of two 60-liter containers fitted with a tap. The training facilitator will demonstrate how to properly wash hands, and then students will have a chance to practice in groups. The CTC club will be responsible for filling the hand-washing containers on a daily basis.

With the challenges being faced by pupils in the school, this project is ideal. The students will soon be able to collect and store a lot of rain water with the 30,000 liter tank, especially entering the rainy season. The tank will serve as a good, safe storage facility for the pupils. The girls will also have an additional three latrines, as will the boys. With the enthusiasm that we were welcomed with, it is obvious this school will be delighted to have these new facilities. The school administration is also willing to meet their end of the bargain, hosting training, mobilizing students and staff, notifying parents; we have no doubt this project will be a success.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/14/2017: A Year Later: Cheptulu Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and new latrines for Cheptulu Primary School. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from partner Janet Kayi, with you.

The Water Project : 4607_yar_1

08/17/2016: Cheptulu Primary School Rainwater Catchment Tank Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Cheptulu Primary School in Kenya have a new source of safe, clean water. A new rainwater catchment 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.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 at the Cheptulu Primary School’s compound. The headteacher of the school selected the most convenient dates for training, and then sent a letter informing students and staff of these plans. Because of the headteacher’s preparation, training attendance was very good. Many students from grades five, six, and seven participated, as well as members of the school management board and various teachers.

Training topics included but were not limited to:

  • Gathering local material for construction
  • Leadership and governance
  • Group dynamics
  • Primary healthcare
  • Operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities
  • Disease transmission routes
  • Local diseases and their prevention
  • Water treatment
  • Forming a child health club

The child health club will include both students and teachers who want to take responsibility for spreading the message of good health and hygiene among their peers.

5 kenya4607 training

Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

Students were also taught about the steps of proper hand-washing, and know when to do so. The two hand-washing stations were delivered to the school and installed outside of the latrines. After training, we were pleased to witness students washing their hands after using the latrine.

Project Result: VIP Latrines

Construction of the two triple-door VIP latrines is also complete and are ready to be used. The pupils said that the additional latrines are very nice and easy to use, without the problems of bad odor and urine on the floors. Thanks to the water tank, the latrines will also be cleaned regularly. “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 said.

16 kenya4607 finished latrines

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank began on May 7th.

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 community provided many materials that were used to build the structure, such as bricks, sand, hardcore, ballast, sugar sacks, and poles. The school also made sure that the construction team was taken care of well, providing both meals and accommodation.

13 kenya4607 construction

Completion of this project created a lot of enthusiasm among students, teachers, and parents. Housewife and mother Diminah Fwani said, “Completion of water and sanitation facilities in the school has changed the face of the school and [is] going to help our pupils to concentrate more on studies for them to perform well in exams.” The school is confidence that they are now drawing safe drinking water from the tank instead of contaminated water from the unprotected spring.

Cases of waterborne disease are expected to decrease drastically, giving students the chance to stay healthy and thus focus on academics. The headteacher shared that “Completion of the 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 Vihiga 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 face the threat of closure.”

The Water Project : 23-kenya4607-finished-tank

06/01/2016: Cheptulu Primary School Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your generosity, Cheptulu Primary School will soon have new latrines, hand-washing stations, and a source of safe, clean water. A rainwater catchment tank is being constructed which will gather water in rainy seasons for use throughout the year. The school will also receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Together these resources will go a long way toward stopping the spread of disease in the area, and allow these students to concentrate on learning and life! We just posted an initial report including information about the school, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : 1-kenya4607-students

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Vihiga County, Chetpulu Village
ProjectID: 4607
Install Date:  07/26/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 04/02/2018

Visit History:
08/12/2016 — Functional
10/12/2016 — Functional
02/13/2017 — Functional
05/07/2017 — Functional
07/06/2017 — Functional
02/19/2018 — Functional
04/02/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Cheptulu Primary School

October, 2017

“Performance of the pupils has greatly improved,” says headteacher Wycliff Isatia, “and no absenteeism due to water borne diseases which used to affect the pupils. Proper hygiene is being practiced.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and new latrines for Cheptulu Primary School. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from partner Janet Kayi, with you.

The results of the water project and training were evident in a number of aspects immediately as you enter the gate of school: good hygiene is practiced, the compound is very clean, pupils are seen washing hands after visiting toilets as they run back to continue with their lessons and hand washing facilities are placed at a strategic points where pupils are able to access them.


“Performance of the pupils has greatly improved,” says headteacher Wycliff Isatia, “and no absenteeism due to water borne diseases which used to affect the pupils. Proper hygiene is being practiced within the school. That is evident in the school and it has become a routine by pupils who wash hands before going back to class after visiting the toilet.”


“Cheptulu Primary School’s population is increasing day after day because of good performance and the WASH facilities in school. Considering the school is located along Chavakali – Kapsabet road, the facilities can be seen so easily, attracting parents to bring their children in the school. As we speak, the school enrollment has increased,” he notes.

Derrick Muyanzi, a 14-year-old student at the school talks about the benefits of the water project: “The rain water harvesting tank has helped us to access clean, safe drinking water in the school compound and now we can use it for cleaning our classrooms and toilets, too. Also, our performance is improving gradually. Recently, we were ranked as one of the best school in the county (Vihiga County).”


You can feel the gratefulness from both the teachers and pupils for the support given to them and the change it has brought in the school. Generally, there is excitement in the school over the new facilities. Due to population increase in the school, there could be more hand washing stations, so we will help and ask the institution to create leaky tins to serve the pupils and the teachers. This will be done and monitored during our regular monitoring and evaluation schedule.


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 four 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.