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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 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 from Kenya (edited for clarity, as needed):

Welcome to the School

Mahanga Primary provides classes for 750 students of which 316 are boys and 434 are girls. The school employs 17 teachers and four support staff.

(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 community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Students wake up no later than 5:30AM to prepare for school. Their walk to school includes stops to fetch water from different sources along the way. The more water a student can carry to school, the more time is saved for studying.

After morning exercises from 6AM to 7AM, students immediately start their cleaning routine. This involves sweeping classrooms and washing latrines.

Normal classes begin at 8AM until lunch at 12:45PM. When students return from lunch, students from upper classes are asked to carry water back to school in the same jerrycans they used in the morning. This is to help them clean their classrooms again in the evening before they go home.

The headmaster of Mahanga Primary witnessed the project that took place last year at Cheptulu Primary School. He brought an application letter directly to our office in Kakamega to invite us for a visit.

Water Situation

The school obviously doesn’t have its own water source, nor does it have a place to store water that students fetch. Each student must fill a five or 10-liter with water each morning and afternoon to provide enough water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning. Most of the sources that students walk to are unprotected from outside contamination. One of these sources is Isaiah Magumba Spring, which can be seen in the “See Photos & Video” section.

After using this water, students complain of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, while many others have runny stomachs. These students miss class for days at a time.

Other students, though healthy, prefer to skip school to avoid continuous trips to fetch water.

Headmaster John Musalia said, “Since I came to this school, water has been a challenge and it’s really interfering with studies. This is because water is life, and we cannot do without it. Many children have suffered from waterborne diseases as a result of taking contaminated water. On average, 10 pupils miss classes per day.”

Sanitation Situation

There are six latrines for girls, six for boys, and two reserved for teaching staff. This means that there’s one latrine for every 72 girls and one for every 53 boys! This shortage leads to long lines during break, discomfort, and tardiness returning to class.

Four latrines are totally full, but some students are forced to use them when they can’t wait any longer in line.

There are no hand-washing stations for students or staff to use, but either way, there wouldn’t be enough water to keep them full.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

Training will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school. This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as hand-washing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

Plans: VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will be given to girls, while the other three will be given to the boys.

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will help gather the needed construction materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer have to leave their school in search of water!

We’re excited for this project to become a reality so that students and staff can focus on education. There will be an adequate source of clean water at Mahanga Primary School! We expect that health will improve and absences will decrease.

Recent Project Updates

06/27/2017: Clean Hands at Mahanga Primary School

We just received new pictures of students using the hand-washing stations that you provided for them. And because of the training students and staff received, they know that hand-washing isn’t complete without soap and the ten steps. The student health club at school will take responsibility for supplying soap, filling the tanks with water, and safely storing them overnight. Thank you!

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05/08/2017: Mahanga Primary School Project Complete

Mahanga Primary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your generous donation. 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held in one of the classrooms. The headteacher helped us by inviting students from each grade, teachers, and the board of management. All those in attendance on those two days were excited and engaged with each topic by asking questions.

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We taught an entire lesson on management and maintenance of the new tank and latrine facilities. Regular checking and cleaning of the gutter system is a must! It’s also important to treat the water while it is still in the tank. We also covered topics including but 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

We used a number of different ways to teach the above topics, while demonstrations were used for hand-washing and tooth-brushing. We facilitated group discussions and presentations. The girls and boys also received handouts which will help them teach hygiene and sanitation to their peers.

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.

As soon as we dismissed on the second day of training, we were able to see the student leaders take over and schedule their next meeting. They agreed to lead by example in cleaning their school compound. “Mahanga Primary School we are going to educate our community members starting with our family members on good hygiene by practically doing it as they learn from us,” said Collins Kipendi, one of the student members of the health club.

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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. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them! The CTC students even want to make their own hand-washing stations to give every student the opportunity to wash their hands.

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!

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Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

We always ask the parents, teachers, and students to help us gather some of the construction materials we need for the tank first. However, the headmaster informed us that the government had recently told all schools that they’re not allowed to ask parents for any contributions beyond school fees. Since the school was in such great need, they decided to approach the government for help gathering these materials instead. After some delays, the government stepped up and delivered sand and stones to our artisans. Students were also a huge help in preparing these materials for our use! Everyone was so excited about this rainwater tank.

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Once our artisan arrived, the location for the tank was decided on with the input 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 two weeks. Once dry, we could remove the supportive beams and then install the gutter system. The school now has the opportunity to collect 50,000 liters of water!

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01/26/2017: Mahanga Primary School Project Underway

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

Click on the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for your generosity that unlocks potential at Mahanga Primary School!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Vihiga, Mahanga
ProjectID: 4638
Install Date:  04/19/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 07/06/2017

Visit History:
07/06/2017 — 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.