Friends Mukhonje Secondary School

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.27
Longitude 34.75

244 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

Friends School Mukhonje Secondary is a mixed day school and boarding school, sponsored by a local church. The day scholars report to school in the morning at 6:30am and return home at 5:30pm. The boarders wake up at 5:30am and prepare for class. At 6am the boarders have their morning tea. All the students start morning exercises at 6:40am, and normal lessons start at 8:00am. The students will then have three lessons before break. After break, the students attend two lessons and are then dismissed for lunch. All students have a common lunch in the school dining hall. After lunch break, they have two more lessons and then are free for games. After games, the day scholars go back home while the boarders wait for supper to be served at 6pm. After supper, the boarders do evening exercises from 7pm to 9:30pm.

Since the school was established in 1976, enrollment has been fairly stable. But as of late, enrollment has decreased from 450 students to only 215. This is due to poor management and inadequate water and facilities.

Water Situation

Over the course of the day, when there is no electricity, students are sent to fetch water from a stream located 800 meters away from school. On average the students make at least two water trips for both personal and school use. It is evident that the stream’s water is contaminated; farming takes place extremely near the water point, so fertilizers and pesticides are often washed into the stream’s water. Most local women also wash their clothes directly in the running water, and motor-bikers often rinse their bikes in this same water.

The students’ schedules depend on electricity because there is a borehole on campus, but its not an ordinary borehole. The underground water is pumped up into a small plastic tank using electricity.

Either way, students and teachers alike often report waterborne disease after drinking this water.

Sanitation Situation

The school used to have a total of 15 VIP latrines, but now only seven are in use. Of this total, two are for female teachers, two for male teachers, and the remaining three for boys. The other eight latrines were closed by Kakamega County Public Health Department, which visited the school earlier this year. This team gave the school a three-month notice sharing that closure of the school is imminent if it does not improve sanitation conditions.

Most of the girls in this school have dropped out altogether, while others have opted to look for other schools with better facilities. “The rate of girls dropping out of school is very alarming. We are really saddened by the turn of events. We urgently need support so that we can retain our girls in school. I want to spearhead change in the school!” Madam Marina faces all of these challenges only two months into her new role as school principal.

“I have run around looking for emergency assistance that will help solve the situation before time elapse,” says school principal Madam Marina. Girls are forced to share the two latrines set aside for female teachers because all of their latrines were among the eight closed by the health team. “The coming of this project to our school is a miracle from heaven. Our school was about to be closed but because of the support from The Water Project, we will have water and good VIP latrines and our school will stay open. More girls will be encouraged to attend school,” rejoices Madam Marina.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Teachers, students, and members of the school board will be trained for two days on hygiene and sanitation practices. The training facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CTC (Child-to-Child), group discussions, handouts, role-plays, and demonstrations. CTC will be invaluable as they encourage child leaders’ critical role in leading and promoting positive change in their communities.  This training will also result in the formation of a CTC club that will be charged with overseeing and maintaining the sanitation facilities on campus.

Plans: Construction

Constructing a rainwater catchment tank will help the school store enough water so that when the electrical power is off, students can still access clean, safe drinking water. Construction of VIP latrines will save the school from closure and will also give girls dignity, encouraging them to attend and remain in school. The tank should also catch enough water to fill the two hand-washing stations being delivered to the school.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/15/2017: A Year Later: Friends Mukhonje Secondary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater harvesting tank and latrines for the Friends Mukhonje Secondary School in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and support from our monthly donors, 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 to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our WEWASAFO partner, Jonathan Mutai, with you.

The Water Project : 4610_yar_1

09/26/2016: Friends School Mukhonje Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Friends School Mukhonje 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held in the school compound, outside under a tree. The school administration decided the most convenient dates for training, and then encouraged their students and staff to attend. Total attendance was 52 people, of which 48 were students and four were teachers. We covered topics on community involvement, project participation, forming a child to child club, hand-washing, waterborne disease and its prevention, and operation and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities.

3 kenya4610 training

We considered a training a success, especially with how well the hand-washing sessions went. All the students got a chance to demonstrate and practice their hand-washing skills! Now, students will be able to properly use the hand-washing stations that were set up outside of latrines.

Henrika Kaika, the student who has taken charge of her school’s new child to child club, was very grateful for all she learned. “I am so happy today since I have gained a lot of knowledge from this training. Personally, I did not know how to wash my hands properly. I have always been in a hurry to wash my hands not knowing that germs are still much present in my hands. After learning the ten steps of hand-washing, I will go and teach my parents at home the same,” she said.

6 kenya4610 training

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.

16 kenya4610 finished latrines

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank began on April 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.

7 kenya4610 construction

We didn’t hesitate to hand the rainwater catchment tank over to the school once it was finished. Sometimes a school will wait to use the facilities until after an official ceremony, but the need here was just too critical.

The school principal Marina Mulama expressed her thanks saying, “On behalf of the school community, I would like to thank The Water Project through WEWASAFO for the wash facilities we now have in the school. We did not know that it will be possible but you made if possible within one month. Initially my heart was troubled when we received the closure notice from Kakamega Public Health Team due to pathetic state of the school latrines. I had sleepless nights. But now I am so happy! I know my school will not be closed. My students are now studying in peace without the fear of school closure. We are so happy!”

The Water Project : 21-kenya4610-dedication_edited

06/01/2016: Friends School Mukhonje Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your generosity, Friends School Mukhonje 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-kenya4610-school-entrance

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kakamega, Shinyalu, Ilesi, Mukhonje
ProjectID: 4610
Install Date:  07/28/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/11/2018

Visit History:
08/17/2016 — Functional
10/23/2016 — Functional
04/30/2017 — Functional
07/06/2017 — Functional
01/11/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Friends Mukhonje Secondary School

November, 2017

“As you enter the school compound, you are welcomed by a very neat and clean compound, well trimmed grass and flowers. A closer observation of the latrines and classrooms is a clear indication that cleanliness in the school is done regularly due to availability of water in the school.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater harvesting tank and latrines for the Friends Mukhonje Secondary School in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and support from our monthly donors, 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 to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our WEWASAFO partner, Jonathan Mutai, with you.

From the clean classrooms, to the flourishing gardens, to the vibrant and healthy students, Friends Mukhonje Secondary School bears the marks of an excellent project that requires the hard work of students, staff, parents, and the expertise for implementation provided by WEWASAFO.  Mrs. Marina Mulama, the school principal, recognizes the impact that improved sanitation and hygiene facilities has had on gender imbalance and the quality of work she is seeing in the school.  She reports, “The biggest change in this institution is that the population of girls which had gone down due to inadequate facilities before, is now improved. Also cases of waterborne diseases have drastically reduced as a result of project implementation, students are now accessing clean and safe water for drinking as well as for regular cleanliness of classrooms and toilets. Besides that, good performance in the school is another great change realized.”  These improvements give the school notoriety within the area and attract even more students.

The students also testify to the opportunities that emerge when they are not spending hours of the school day accessing water.  Ian Balongo, age 18, shares, “Now am accessing safe clean water for drinking at any time I need within the school compound. The time that I wasted earlier before the project was implemented has been important to me now. I have maximized it in studies which has resulted in improved performance in class.”

The ongoing survival of many schools in Kenya are threatened if they are not able to provide water and sanitary facilities for the schools, yet it is difficult for parents to pay these expenses in addition to usual school fees.  The Water Project and WEWASAFO have targeted schools just like this because of the potential that can be unlocked for both students and staff when clean water and sanitation is available.

We know that the positive changes at Friends Mukhonje Secondary School from clean water access and healthy lifestyle changes will have ripples of impact throughout their school, their community, and in the surrounding areas.  We are excited to stay in touch with this school and to report the news as they continue on their journey with clean water.

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.