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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 501 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

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 Saint Michael Emakwale Secondary School is located in Mumias East Dividion, Mumias Constituency of Kakamega County. The school has a population of 501 pupils, composed of 240 boys and 261 girls. (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.)

The school was started in 2012, curving off of the Emakwale Primary School already at that location. The teachers and community saw the need to offer classes beyond the primary level. The secondary school had 50 students in attendance on its opening day. Since the primary section loaned some of its classrooms to the budding secondary school, space was very limited. Emakwale Secondary School eventually bought its own land to host its facilities, students, and staff.

A normal day begins at 6:30am, as studens begin arriving for exercises and class preps. These preps begin at 7am and last for 45 minutes. Morning preps close out with a prayer and school announcements. Regular classes run from 8am to 5pm, with lunch in between.

We were introduced to this school by the Environment Minister of Kakamega County. His department assessed St. Michael Emakwale Secondary of a school in great need of improved facilities.

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, farming and watering animals. Students know this water source is contaminated, and fear drinking it directly.

The school has a 1000-liter container kept in the school kitchen. When students or staff fetch water, they can return to school and pour it in the container. Though many choose to boil this water before drinking, there are still cases of waterborne disease reported within the school community.

Sanitation Situation

The school currently has 10 ventilated pit latrines (VIP latrines). Four latrines are for boys, four for girls, and two for staff. These latrines are made of brick and were roofed with iron sheets. The doors are in bad condition, so are warped and can’t even close. Students, especially girls, need the privacy and dignity a working door gives!

The school does not have any hand-washing stations for students or staff to use.

Despite the difficult situations faced, the school’s attitude towards sanitation and hygiene is very positive. Each morning, cleaning is done by non-teaching staff. Though oftentimes this isn’t enough cleaning, everybody is willing to be trained on these topics to help bring about healthy changes. School board member Rober John Sumbi says that “This project will go along way in improving hygiene and sanitation in our young school that is growing very fast. We shall do all it takes to ensure that we own and support the project for its success and sustainability.”

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. Training will also result in the formation of a child to child (CTC) club which will be responsible for demonstrating and promoting good hygiene and sanitation in St. Michael Emakwale Secondary School.

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 50,000-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 VIP 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 child to child (CTC) club will be responsible for filling the hand-washing containers on a daily basis.

The school is in great need of water and sanitation facilities so that it can manage the growing number of students arriving from nearby communities. Since it is still a young school, this support can go a long way in enhancing student lives and improving academic performance.

Recent Project Updates

07/27/2016: St. Michael Emakwale Secondary School Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of St. Michael Emakwale Secondary 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 and Hand-Washing Stations

We held training in one of the classrooms at the school. Since construction of the rainwater catchment tank and VIP latrines was almost complete, the training facilitator was able to give students and staff onsite instructions about how to operate and maintain their new facilities. Training dates were chosen ahead of time with the help of the headteacher, who also mobilized students and staff to attend. We ended up with 34 total participants, out of which 28 were students and six were 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

All the students at training were very excited, and showed great participation particularly when we practiced washing hands. 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. They will also be responsible for taking care of the new hand-washing stations, making sure they are always filled with water and that a cleaning agent like soap or ash is available. Faith Noel, a teacher at the school, has taken the titled of CTC leader. On behalf of her club she shared, “We shall at all times ensure that the water tank and other sanitation facilities are functional and secure.”

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Project Result: VIP Latrines

Construction of the two triple-door VIP latrines is also complete, and they are ready to be used. The pupils say that the additional latrines are very nice and easy to use, without the problems of bad odor and urine on the floors. Additional latrines have also shortened the lines during class break, easing the discomfort of a long wait. And thanks to the water tank, the latrines will also be cleaned regularly.

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Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank began in May.

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.

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School board member and father John Sumbi said, “This project will go along way in improving hygiene and sanitation in our young school that is growing very fast. We shall do all it takes to ensure that we own and support the project for its success and sustainability.” Since the initiation of this water and sanitation project, student enrollment has increased from 501 to 535! With safe water and clean sanitation facilities, this growing student body can focus on seizing the potential you have unlocked for them. Thank You!

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06/01/2016: St. Michael Emakwale Secondary School Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your generosity, St. Michael Emakwale Secondary 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!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kakamega County, Mumias Constituency, Mumias East Division
ProjectID: 4608
Install Date:  07/27/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 10/17/2017

Visit History:
09/28/2016 — Functional
11/03/2016 — Functional
04/04/2017 — Functional
06/05/2017 — Needs Attention
09/15/2017 — Functional
10/17/2017 — Functional


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.