Ebwambwa Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.31
Longitude 34.77

271 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

Ebwambwa Secondary School was started by the Ebwambwa Baptist Church. The church met this need when they realized children had to walk to the neighboring Mwiyala Village for school. Ebwambwa Secondary School is located next to Ebwambwa Primary School: 1.5 km from Kakamega-Webuye road in Ebwambwa Village, Sichirayi sub-location, Shieywe location of Lurambi Constituency within Kakamega County.

Ebwambwa Secondary School has a total of 252 students, of which 103 are boys and 149 are girls. The school employs 14 teachers and five supplementary staff.

A normal day in Ebwambwa Community begins when the mothers and daughters wake up to fetch water. The first thing they do with the water is brew tea for the rest of the family. Then, the remaining water is used for domestic chores like cleaning. Children of school-going age are prepared to leave; bathed, dressed and fed. The man of the house leaves to work on the family farm. When a woman is finished with her household chores, she will join her husband on the farm.

Water Situation

At the end of last year, Ebwambwa Primary School received a water project resulting in a rainwater catchment tank and new latrines. The secondary school does not yet have its own water source, and so students often run over and fetch water from their neighbor. There is also a stream nearby, so if the rainwater catchment tank is too busy with primary students, secondary students will fetch water from this alternative.

Using the alternative source is a sacrifice for these older students. The stream is unprotected and open to contamination from surface runoff, human and animal activity, nearby farming and latrines, and open defecation. The impact is huge; secondary students are often absent because they ail from common waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. A lot of time which would have been spent to improve the academic performance of students is instead wasted on numerous trips to the spring in search of water.

Once in a while, a suffering student never makes it back to school. Ebwambwa Secondary School is in great need of their own source of safe water.

Sanitation Situation

There are seven usable pit latrines, but they are not clean. Without enough drinking water, students cannot be expected to maintain a high level of sanitation and hygiene.

There is only one hand-washing station available for students. When the headmistress heard that a project was being implemented in the neighboring primary section, she immediately sent in her own application for help. She explained the dire need of her students in the areas of sanitation and water, and after our assessment, we agreed to this water project. Our initial visit to the school established that the school sanitation levels need to be addressed, since it only has two latrine doors for boys, three doors for girls, and two for teachers and staff.

Project Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Teachers, students, and three members of the school management board will be present for two days of training sessions. This training is meant to equip participants with the skills needed to practice good hygiene, and to promote these practices among peers and the greater community. The end goal is to eliminate water and hygiene-related diseases!

The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training), CTC (child to child), discussions, lectures, and demonstrations to teach topics including but not limited to disease transmission, hand-washing, and water treatment. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.

Project Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will be built on Ebwambwa Secondary School’s grounds, so that students no longer have to borrow from the primary children, or even worse, travel to the unprotected spring. Local parents and school administration will work together with our construction teams, and will also ensure that all local materials are available at the work site. These materials include sand, ballast, hard core, sugar sacks… and food fuel for our artisans!

Project Plans: VIP Latrines

Two triple-door VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines will be constructed, three doors for each gender. Once students have their own water source, they will have the ability to keep their new latrines clean.

Project Plans: Hand-Washing Stations

Two 60-liter containers with stands will be delivered to the secondary school. This will give students and staff a total of three usable hand-washing stations. The CTC club will be responsible for filling these stations and making sure they remain clean.

The entire Ebwambwa Secondary School fraternity is appealing to the donor to consider their situation and assist them by constructing a proper rainwater catchment tank and VIP toilets. They believe that with these facilities, health will improve significantly, and this will translate to better performance amongst students. Better performance will provide greater opportunity!

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

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

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a rainwater harvesting tank and latrines at the Ebwambwa Secondary School  in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and the contributions of 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 partner, Jonathan Kipkirui Mutai, with you.

The Water Project : 4615_yar_3

10/05/2016: Ebwambwa Secondary School Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Ebwambwa 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 rainwater catchment tank 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 in the school compound. We worked with staff to decide the best two days to conduct training. To have the most impact here, we pulled students from the first three grades of high school. A total of 13 students attended. When we arrived, teachers were already waiting in the classroom to help us train.

This was one of the most active forums we’ve ever held. Students were actively involved making eye contact, nodding their heads, and asking questions. They were so inquisitive that they’d ask one question after the other.

3 kenya4615 training

Every topic covered was meant to equip students and staff with sufficient knowledge and skills to address the health problems at school. We also prepared them to adequately clean and maintain their new sanitation facilities. Some other topics we covered included but were not limited to:

– Water pollution and water treatment

– Personal and environmental hygiene

– Group dynamics, leadership, and governance

– Forming an effective CTC (child to child) club

– Hand-washing

The child to child 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. A water user committee has also been formed by parents and school administration, which will be responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new facilities.

Mr. Gerald Lugonzo, one of the longest-serving teachers at the school, attended training. He expressed his regret when he learned that his students had been getting sick from bad hygiene and dirty water. Though only one more year until his retirement, he was so grateful that his school was finally getting a water, sanitation and hygiene project. Mr. Lugonzo also spoke on behalf of the entire school, saying “We are very grateful for what was done for our school. This project will not only improve the hygiene standards in the school but will also contribute to the improvement of our academic performance as a school. We promise to do all that we have been taught and we believe that other neighboring schools will come and benchmark with us.”

5 kenya4615 training

Project Result: VIP Latrines

The school now has six new doors of VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines. These latrines are easy to use and easy to clean. And with a rainwater catchment tank, there should be enough water to keep them clean all the time! These new latrines will replace the old ones that could no longer be used.

15 kenya4615 finished latrines

Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered to school and handed over to the CTC club. They will teach other students how to properly wash their hands at these stations, and will make sure there is always soap or ash available. Moreover, the school has also built more hand-washing stations of their own to supplement the ones we delivered.

19 kenya4615 finished latrines

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 30,000-liter tank began on July 7th.

First, the location was chosen with the collaboration of school leadership. We had to find a place that provided enough roof for a gutter system. We then cleared the ground, set and cast the foundational slab, built the wall, roofing, and installed the fittings such as delivery pipes, vent pipes, and screens. Finally, good drainage was ensured. Before the tank could begin collecting rainwater, we had it cure for four weeks.

12 kenya4615 construction

Students, parents, and neighbors helped throughout the process. They provided accommodations for the tank artisans, and volunteered to help the artisans. They also collected all of the local materials like sand and ballast and delivered them to the site.

With the encouragement of an adequate water supply, the school also began building a dining hall before we left. This was also a bit of a stretch, since materials had to be shared between the two construction projects.

At the project’s completion, the school principal expressed his gratitude. He said, “Oh my, what a project! I lack words to express my sincerest gratitude towards the donor. You have removed the greatest shame we had when we allowed our students to go outside the school in search of water, especially girls who are so vulnerable. As a school we had been performing poorly since most of time students were out to fetch water. Due to such a wonderful project in hand with proper trainings, our school is going to emerge the best in the county. Thank you so much and God bless you abundantly!”

On our last day, we arrived at the school to conduct a handing over ceremony. We were surprised to find the new facilities decorated with white and blue ribbons! The school arranged chairs for us to sit in, and the students and teachers excitedly sang songs of celebration. Poems and stories were also read to express gratefulness. Now, the rainwater catchment tank can begin its job of providing safe, clean water to the school.

The Water Project : 21-kenya4615-finished-tank

08/22/2016: Ebwambwa Secondary School Project Underway

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, Ebwambwa Secondary School in Kenya will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A rainwater catchment tank and new latrines are being constructed, hand-washing stations provided, and the school is being trained on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Imagine the impact this will have on these students! Thank you for noticing the need here, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Thank You for your care and generosity that unlocks potential at Ebwambwa Secondary School!

The Water Project : 2-kenya4615-students

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kakamega, Ebwambwa
ProjectID: 4615
Install Date:  10/05/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/14/2018

Visit History:
11/15/2016 — Functional
02/09/2017 — Functional
05/10/2017 — Functional
08/17/2017 — Needs Attention
01/14/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Ebwambwa Secondary School

December, 2017

The lives of the students at Ebwambwa have improved due to reduced water borne diseases that initially hindered academic performance. This was because much of their time was used to seek medication rather than studies.

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a rainwater harvesting tank and latrines at the Ebwambwa Secondary School  in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and the contributions of 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 partner, Jonathan Kipkirui Mutai, with you.

The ongoing survival of many schools in Kenya is 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.

Because the responsibility for fetching water often falls primarily on the women and children in Western Kenyan communities, the women and children are the ones who often see the greatest benefit with a clean water source.

Officer Jonathan, Mrs. Jessica and two of her students at the water tank.

This is truly the case at the Ebwambwa Secondary School, where the principal, Mrs. Jessica Sikuku, raves about the impact on both student health and student performance since the installation of the rainwater harvesting tank and latrines: “The School mean score has improved and more students have been admitted to university. We are very happy since the absentee rate at the school has dropped. The school now is accessing safe drinking water unlike before.” Access to clean drinking water has literally increased the flow of students from this school into higher education at Kenyan Universities!

Benjamin washing his hands with water from the tank.

Benjamin Wafulah, age 17, describes the changes to his daily routine because of the rainwater harvesting tank at the school.  He shares, “Currently I am concentrating in studies as no more of my time is wasted fetching water from nearby rivers and streams. Again, I am happy because I no longer have to carry water from home. Water is now available in the school compound and I can access safe drinking water.” This water has even greater impact because of the hygiene and sanitation training and practices that have been integrated into the life of the students.  A clean environment and proper sanitation facilities are critical components to sustainable health impact.  WEWASAFO continues to monitor the facilities at this school and treat the water tank to ensure a high quality of clean drinking water for the students.

As you can see, clean water access creates ripples of life that extend from school to family, from family to community, and from the community to locations throughout the nation.  We are excited to stay in touch with Ebwambwa Secondary School and to report the impact 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.