Matende Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.26
Longitude 34.75

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

Matende COG (Church of God) Primary School was established in the year 1936 by the Church of God missionaries who were also concerned about the need of education for African children in the area. They partnered with the community and established the school in the heart of Kakamega Municipality. Today, the school sits on 2.4 hectares of land and has a total enrollment of 409 pupils out of which 203 are boys and 206 are girls. There are also 60 early education children out of which 25 are girls and 35 are boys. The school also provides for 28 students with special needs. During our first visit to the school, we noticed that even one of the teachers is physically impaired and has to use crutches for support. This teacher is a great role model and encouragement for the students, so that they can believe that disability does not equal inability! Everyone can learn.

The school employs 22 teachers; 20 are employed by the Teacher’s Service Commission (TSC) and the two early education teachers are employed by the school’s Board of Management (BOM). The school employs three support staff throughout the week; one cook and two guards. (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 school and their community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so that adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Since this area is in the busiest municipality, many pupils live in rented homesteads with none to little field land to practice agricultural activities.

Students wake up early and go straight to school. Lessons here begin at 7:30am and run up to the lunch hour at a quarter past noon. There are two short breaks before lunch, and during these breaks, pupils rush to the small plastic water tank to get a drink. After lunch, pupils return to their classes to learn until 4pm after which they have about an hour to play sports and games. This routine is the normal Monday to Friday schedule.

Water Situation

The school lacks a proper water source, and only has a plastic water tank that can hold at the most 1000 liters. 1000 liters is not nearly enough for the student population, let alone the staff. There’s another small plastic reservoir, but it’s worn out and nonfunctional. A full tank does not last long, so if there is little or no rain, the school has no water. This forces the students to go fetch water from a river that is 2km away. Other students don’t want to make the 2km trek and instead carry water from their homes. In the pictures, you’ll see that some teachers supplement the water supply by buying bottled water.

Sanitation Situation

We also noticed that the school’s sanitation needs to be addressed, since it only has four latrine stalls for boys and four for girls. And just because they have these four bathroom stalls doesn’t mean they should be used! They are all very old, and most of them don’t even have doors for privacy. Four other doors can’t be used at all, since cracks in the floor pose great danger to users.

The school only has one hand-washing station that is used by the teachers. Since students have no way to wash their hands, they are at a high risk of contracting communicable diseases. This, paired with waterborne disease, has caused this school to have a high rate of absenteeism. Students are often too sick to attend school, and their families are forced to spend their meager funds on medical treatment.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Teachers and students will be trained on hygiene and sanitation practices for two days. This will equip them with relevant skills on how to operate and maintain the new rainwater catchment tank. It will also 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.

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

This rainwater catchment tank will have a 30,000-liter capacity. The school will be involved in making sure that all the needed local materials are on site, such as sand, ballast, and hard core. They will also supervise and monitor the project.

Plans: VIP Latrines

Six new VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines will be dug and built for these students. This will help shorten the bathroom lines and ease the rate of open defecation on campus. With a water tank, the students will have more water to use, giving them a chance to keep their latrines and classrooms cleaner.

Plans: Hand-Washing Stations

Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to school grounds. They are large, plastic containers that come with stands and are fitted with taps. The students that are members of the CTC club will be responsible for ensuring the tanks always have water and a cleaning agent available.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Matende Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and latrines for Matende Primary School in Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from 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 our partner, Joan Were, with you.


The Water Project : 4619_yar_3

10/05/2016: Matende Primary School Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Matende Primary 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 inside a classroom at school. The head teacher was instrumental in organizing the participants, making sure that representatives from classes four thru six were in attendance. Students were not pulled from the highest level since they are graduating so soon. There was a total of 16 students and one teacher.

The girls seemed much more invested in lessons than the boys. The girls asked more questions and volunteered answers.  The students voted for one of these girls, Wilbrodah Libuku, to be president of the CTC (child to child) health club.

Wilbroda Libuku

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.

7 kenya4619 training

During our final review, the students reflected their understanding and excitement about what they learned. They have dedicated themselves to sharing this new knowledge with their peers and families at home.

Wilbrodah Libuku is a young lady from class six who attended all the training sessions. She said, “It is amazing how ignorant pupils in primary schools are, especially in matters concerning water, sanitation, and hygiene. I have personally learnt a lot from the topics covered by the facilitator and I believe my colleagues too are going to be the change agents that we need so as to have a clean and healthy society. Having been elected as the CTC club president by my peers in the training, I will use that opportunity together with my deputy and the rest of the cabinet to champion for better use of the facilities and resources that will finally grant us good health, hence good class performance. We are so happy and proud to be part of this institution that cares for our well being as pupils of Matende Primary School. We were shocked to find a tank and latrines in the school when we opened after the holidays. God bless you!”

1 kenya4619 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.

21 kenya4619 finished project

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.

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 30,000-liter tank began on August 1st.

The scheduling for this project posed the biggest challenge. Schools were closed for August holiday, so the collection of local materials needed for both the tank and latrines was difficult. School leadership and parents had agreed to find all of these materials, but they didn’t expect it to be vacation when they were needed. This delayed the project, but leadership and parents rallied together and came through. When our artisans arrived, the teachers even carried food to school for their meals.

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.

15 kenya4619 construction

One of the teachers on the CTC Club, Mr. Okumu Ferdinand, was extremely involved in each phase of the project. He was one of the happiest at the tank’s completion! He said, “This is a great project and a facelift to this school since we are now a water reliable institution. I doubt if there will be situations where pupils will have to carry water from home anymore. We will longer be called an old place station in two as the rest of the schools call us. There is going to be a massive and intensive campaign for proper maintenance of the facilities. I am extremely excited with the 30,000-liter tank. It is amazing, and I am sure it will serve us well!”

We can already see the impact of these improvements. Just two weeks after completion, enrollment is up by 12 pupils. They expect even more as word of the improvements get around. The headteacher said, “We expect a very big percentage of growth in terms of population now that parents were involved and am sure have passed on this information to others in different schools, and that’s why they’re bringing their pupils here! I can too you for sure that come January, we may not be able to enroll and accommodate everyone here.”

The Water Project : 17-kenya4619-finished-project

08/29/2016: Matende Primary School Project Underway

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, Matende Primary 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 delivered, and the school is being trained in proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Imagine the impact this will have on these students! If you haven’t yet checked out the information under the tabs above, make sure to do so! It includes information about the school, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Thank You for your help! This project at Matende Primary School wouldn’t be possible without you.

The Water Project : 2-kenya4619-classroom

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kakamega, Matende Village
ProjectID: 4619
Install Date:  10/05/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 04/09/2018

Visit History:
11/01/2016 — Functional
02/09/2017 — Functional
05/16/2017 — Functional
07/26/2017 — Functional
01/14/2018 — Functional
04/09/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Matende Primary School

December, 2017

Before its construction, we used to fetch water from a nearby river to clean our toilets and classrooms. Now, we have access to clean water for drinking and we no longer waste studying time going to the river.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and latrines for Matende Primary School in Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from 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 our partner, Joan Were, with you.

The students now understand the importance of washing hands with soap after visiting the toilets and before handling food. This can be attributed to the provision of hand washing facilities and hygiene education that encourage healthy behavior. Being a primary school with playful children, the school has managed to keep the tank and sanitation facilities in good condition.

“Since the tank was constructed, we have seen a great improvement in the general school cleanliness,” teacher Decirious Shimba shares. “The students now study in a clean environment as they are able to clean their classrooms regularly due to water availability.”

“The health of the students has also improved because now we record only a few cases of absenteeism due to stomachache and diarrhea,” he continues. “This improvement on health can be attributed to introduction of hand washing facilities that are placed near the toilets. The hand washing facilities are also functional since they can be refilled with water from the tank. The school is lively, especially during break time and one cannot miss the students crowding at the tank washing hands and fetching drinking water. Our kitchen staffs also have clean water to prepare meals for teachers.”

The tank has really helped us as students,” shares 14-year-old Valary Andayi. “Before its construction, we used to fetch water from a nearby river to clean our toilets and classrooms. Now, we have access to clean water for drinking and we no longer waste studying time going to the river.”

We will continue visiting this school every three months to treat the water tank. We will also do regular follow ups with the management to ensure that the tank is cleaned.

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.


Project Underwriter - Mary Molloy
Pfizer Foundation - Mary Molloy
3 individual donor(s)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

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.