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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 443 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

Simboyi Primary School was started in 1957 as a community school under the Roman Catholic Church, only to be closed in 1963 due to logistical challenges. It reopened in 1964 because the community again saw the need to give their children a proper education. The school has evolved through time, and now has a total population of 443; comprised of 220 boys, 210 girls, seven female teachers, four male teachers and two support staff. This history-rich school is located in Simboyi Village, Kigama sub-location, North Maragoli location, Sabatia Sub-County of Vihiga County, Kenya.

The school’s program begins at 6:30am and ends at 5pm.

Mr. Moses Kavehere, a beneficiary of the Hedwe Spring Protection Project, also happens to be a board member of Simboyi Primary School. He saw the need of his school and how it could benefit from a water and sanitation project, and immediately sent in an application for help. Upon receipt of his application, we paid a visit to his school.

Water Situation

The school currently depends on a seasonal well dug within the compound. Since it’s seasonal, it dries up for almost half of a year, so the school must find an alternative. Students are sent to Imburizi Spring to fetch water, located two kilometers away. “Because of the high water demand during dry seasons,” says the deputy headteacher Madam Anne Mudengeya, “the community members hardly give our pupils an opportunity to fetch water from the named spring. We have resorted to asking them to carry drinking water in five-liter jerrycans from home.” The spring is unprotected and open to contamination, and there’s no way of knowing the condition of water brought from home. Students are sent to the unprotected spring so often that they miss a great deal of class and study time. Not to mention the sickness that results from drinking Imburizi Spring’s water!

Sanitation Situation

The school has four latrines for boys and six latrines for girls. These latrines are almost full and yet are being shared between pupils and staff. “We have been served with a closure notice due to poor states of our sanitation facilities. Parents have been overburdened to give toward the construction of new latrines because just a few months ago they did a fundraiser to salvage other development agendas,” says Mr. Moses Kavehere, a school board member who connected us with school administration. “Our school has never been in shortages of open defecation problems,” admits Mr. Job Chanzu, the school’s headteacher. “Since even the available sanitation facilities can narrowly meet the needs of half the entire pupils’ population. Any support from TWP and WEWASAFO is welcomed with open hands because the school still lags behind most of the health and hygiene standards required of it.”

There was a compost pit, eight old classrooms and one hand-washing facility used only by the pupils who are registered for the school lunch feeding program. The school kitchen was full of soot and in a sorry state of hygiene, lacking enough dish racks for proper storage of the utensils used by students. “We are so eager, willing and positive to get the best, but our efforts are handicapped by fund inadequacy,” the cook comments. “Any support from the donors will be a blessing for the school because the school population keeps swelling despite these challenges. The good performance the school keeps recording yearly in national examinations has been a pull factor for many more pupils from our neighboring schools.” The good teachers may draw more and more students to Simboyi Primary School, but the water and sanitation situations will get exponentially worse without an intervention.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

Teachers, students, and surrounding community members will be trained for two days at the school compound. The facilitator will use the CHAST (Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method and CTC (child to child) method to help students discern between good and bad hygiene habits. Students will be taught how disease is spread at home and at school, and how to prevent this. An entire session will be devoted to teaching students when to wash hands and how to do it properly. Students and staff need to be aware of how dirty hands are spreading illness. Two hand-washing stations will be delivered to Simboyi Primary School so that students can practice what they learned!

Training will also result in the formation of a water user committee and a CTC (child to child) club that promotes good health and oversees the school’s sanitation facilities. These group of students and staff will teach their peers about easy and effective practices to reduce disease. They will also be responsible for delegating cleaning tasks like sweeping classrooms, cleaning latrines, and picking up garbage around school. They will fill the hand-washing stations with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent like soap or ash available.

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 30,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will be constructed on school grounds. Teachers, students, and parents will gather the local 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.

With a large water reservoir on school grounds, students should no longer have to make the long walk to and from the unprotected spring, or risk their health from drinking its water.

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.

These new latrines will ease the burden on existing facilities, and will remain clean because of water from the new rainwater catchment tank.

Thank You for noticing Simboyi Primary School’s need for clean water and new facilities that will drastically reduce disease among students and their families.

Recent Project Updates

11/20/2017: A Year Later: Simboyi Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and latrines for Simboyi Primary School in Kenya. 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 Erick Wagaka with you.

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12/19/2016: Simboyi Primary School Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the students and staff of Simboyi Primary School in Kenya have a new source of safe, clean water: A new rainwater catchment system has been built, and there are now six new latrines being used. 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 one of the school’s classrooms. It was a bright, clear day as students, parents, and teachers came together to fill the classroom. Before training began, there were at least 150 parents who responded to an invitation from school management. The headteacher briefed this huge group of parents on the water, sanitation, and hygiene project and let them know what they could do to help. Parents agreed to help collect the local materials needed for construction. After this informational session, six individuals were selected to join the students for hygiene and sanitation training. Not all parents were chosen to attend in order to keep overall attendance manageable; after all, training at the school was meant to reach students and staff. Students will have the opportunity to teach their own parents when they return home after class.

There were 22 students, six parents, and four teachers at training, with an equal amount of each gender. These sessions taught teachers and parents the best way to maintain water and sanitation facilities both at school and at home. It also taught participants how simple hygiene practices can greatly decrease the amount of disease and greatly improve living standards. This group was able to participate in discussions, demonstrations, and presentations to learn about these new concepts.

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Students formed a child to child (CTC) club that 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.

Students learned a lot and agreed to share this important knowledge with others. Together, they made a tangible commitment to train at least three other people per week. These three people will then be asked to train three others. Even the adults learned a lot. Heston Kindangu, a local father and farmer, was selected to attend the sessions. He said, “Today I am shocked to discover that diarrhea infections are attributed to unsafe water and the lack of safe hygiene practices and basic sanitation infrastructure. This training has opened my eyes!”

Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered to school and handed over to the CTC club. These even arrived in time for the above training so that students could learn how to use them. The trained students will then teach their peers how to properly wash their hands at these stations, and will make sure there is always soap or ash available.

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Project Result: VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new 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 are almost full.

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Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction on this 30,000-liter tank began on August 8th.

irst, 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 five-inch-thick wall, built 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 three weeks. Once dry, we could remove supportive beams and then install the gutter system.

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There was such a great level of teamwork to get this project done. All of the parents agreed to collect local materials like stone, and found all they needed on their own property. They collected all of the stones they could find around their fields, and then delivered them to the side of the main road. Then, as students walked to school each morning, they would bring the stones their parents found. The only challenge faced was rainy weather, forcing artisans to take a break while it poured.

The Simboyi Community worked tirelessly to make sure their dreams became a reality. Students even took their August vacation to stay on campus and help with construction. When the facilities were all completed, the headteacher wrote us a letter of thanks and promised to maintain the facilities for future classes. Farmer and mother Mercy Masia also shared her gratefulness. “We really appreciate you for the noble support you have given us. Our children can now access water from a safe source that is within our control and management,” she said.

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12/07/2016: Simboyi Primary School Project Underway

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, Simboyi 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 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.

Check out the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for your generosity that is unlocking potential for students in Kenya!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kenya, Vihiga, Simboyi
ProjectID: 4622
Install Date:  12/19/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 07/26/2017

Visit History:
11/01/2016 — Functional
02/08/2017 — Functional
06/30/2017 — Functional
07/20/2017 — Functional
07/26/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Simboyi Primary School

September, 2017

Simboyi Primary School has greatly benefited from the project ranging from reduced cases of absenteeism to improved class performance by pupils.  The students have also embraced the art of maintaining good hygiene both within and outside of their classrooms.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment system and latrines for Simboyi Primary School in Kenya. 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 Erick Wagaka with you.

The water project at Simboyi Primary School has resulted in improved discipline, high retention of pupils at school, reduction in sicknesses and diseases among pupils and rise in academic performance due to saving of study time. Besides, it has help to solve the issues of accidents. The former latrines were dilapidated, full, and had big squat holes; there was constant risk of young children falling into the pit. These changes are attributed to the new rainwater tank at the school plus the new clean, conducive latrines that have reduce out-of-school movement by pupils.


Joseph Wanyonyi, project teacher, mentioned that the rainwater catchment project helped in creating peace between the school and its neighbors who used to complain of the foul smell from the old latrine pits. “When it rained, the storm water used to sweep the contents from the overflowing, old pit latrines to the neighbors. This was a regular cause of contention.”  It has also helped solve the issues of accidents and missed school days. “The former latrines posted risks of young children falling into the pit. Bad toilets in school lead to chronic absenteeism. Some kids used to go back home to relieve themselves. Thus, some failed to report back again till the next day. This rough learning environment breeds rough pupils who only think of rough solutions. As a result, discipline was an issue that this water project helped to sort out.”


Delvine Kibandei, a 13-year-old student at Simboyi Primary says it’s been a big change to have access to water within the school compound. The tank water is used to cooking, drinking, washing and mopping the classrooms. “As pupils, we no longer carry water from home nor are we being sent to Imbiru spring between lessons. The salvaged time is used to do homework at school before going home. Before the water project was implemented we used to slide on the way when going to the spring and get drenched with water. It was so shameful to see school girls cry when they got wet when water spilled on them or they slid into the water. The project has also attracted 15 new pupils in class 7, where I belong, and improved academic performance in various subjects because we no longer waste time going to fetch water from springs.”

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In addition to improved safety and academic performance, the students have also embraced the art of maintaining good hygiene both within and outside of their classrooms. We will continue to monitor and check in with Simboyi Primary School to ensure this water project succeeds.

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.


Commonwealth Club of the Riviera
Grant High School's Fundraising Page
9 individual donor(s)

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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.