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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

Welcome to the School

St. Patrick’s Ikonyero Secondary School is located in Ikonyero Village, Shiyunzu sub-location, Butsotso, Lurambi of Kakamega County. It began at St. Augustine Parish in the early 90s. As the students gradually increased, they had to move to grass-thatched classrooms donated by Ikonyero Primary School.

It was officially registered in 1995. They later managed to build four classrooms of their own on a new piece of land. Enrollment was only 16 students at that point! An exponential increase in enrollment began after one of their students excelled and entered university. Since then, the institution has grown to reach a population of 765 students: 333 girls and 432 boys. It has a staff of 24 males and 18 females, bringing the overall school population to 807 people. However, the population will rise even more once the new form one students join high school this term. The deputy principal predicts that there will be at least 200 form one students, confident that there will be over 1,000 people at the school this term.

(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 arrive at 6:45AM to start morning study hall that goes from 7 to 8AM every Tuesday and Thursday, with assembly meetings every Monday and Friday. Being an institution strongly anchored in Christian values, a church service for students and staff is held every Wednesday morning. There are normal classes until lunch with two breaks for drinking tea that helps ease hunger.

A mixture of maize and beans is served for lunch every Monday, Tuesday and Friday. The students eat rice and beans every Wednesday, then they end the week with ugali, kale, and meat. Students play games after class on Monday and Tuesday, clubs every Wednesday, societies every Thursday, and cleaning activities on Friday.

There are no boarding facilities in this institution, but its students come from many distant places. These children stay with their relatives until the national examinations. Boys from impoverished families have sleepovers in the classrooms since their parents or guardians cannot afford extra kerosene for the lamps to be used for studies at night. They take advantage of the electricity in the school to stay in classrooms reading or having group discussions. “Sometimes they sleep on the desks for a short time and then wake up to proceed with studies, and then rush home between 5 and 6AM to bathe and get breakfast before returning for the morning preps in school,” the deputy principal said. Teachers cannot allow girls to sleep at school because of fear that the students will be tempted to indulge in sexual activities at night. “Moreover, going back home to shower very early in the morning is extremely risky for girls in this area where a lot of rape cases committed early in the morning and very late in the evening have been reported,” he added as he explained why the situation never allows for girls to do homework from school.

Most of the parents undertake casual labor to earn a living. Some are peasant farmers and others are motorists who depend on commission, all of who do not earn much by the close of each day. “People that keep this school running are able parents whose children perform poorly in the national examinations. Therefore, the only good performing day school they can get around is Ikonyero,” said the deputy headteacher. “Otherwise, capable parents cannot bring their children here, they take them to those good and developed boarding schools,” he continued. Despite challenges, the school has attracted many students because it has earned a special place in the hearts of many parents that are proud to identify with it as an academic giant in the region. The students have been trained to obey the rigorous learning schedule that leaves them no room to wander around and lose direction in life. The administration has upped their game by providing meals that can accommodate students from different sociocultural and economic classes.

Mark Ashikuku heard about this school and paid it a visit to see if his relative could attend. When he got there, students were running out the gate with plastic containers to fetch water from the primary section. He recently had a spring in his community transformed into a clean water source, and thus reached out to staff for help once again.

Water Situation

The school spent a good amount of money to tap water from the Lake Victoria North Water Service Board, but it never serves them: the taps are always dry, and they assume that the pipes were tampered with. All of the school and Board’s attempts to rectify the problem have failed terribly. All the same, even if the taps were in good condition, there would still be a water shortage because it is rare for water to flow through the taps on any given day. Kakamega is known to go without tapped water for two weeks at a time! A 10,000-liter plastic tank was bought to help alleviate the water shortage, but its capacity is much too small to serve the large student population. Therefore, the administration requested they be allowed to draw water from a borehole in the primary section.

The primary section couldn’t turn the older students away, but this kindness has caused them problems. Students wait in long lines to get water. Moreover, the primary section is quite a distance from the secondary school. A lot of study time is thus wasted, and academic performance has decreased.

Sanitation Situation

The male students have eight latrines with a urinal outside. Part of their latrine block has collapsed, rightly making them fear using the others. Girls have eleven latrines of which two are missing doors. “We have been paying for the exhauster to empty these latrines frequently but now the best we can do is help these children get new ones because the ones we have started sinking. I think they have served their purpose, please help us,” said the deputy principal.

There is only one place for students and staff to wash their hands. Imagine the line if everybody actually washed their hands! The garbage here is thrown all around, and the compost is eaten by dogs.

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: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 50,000-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. Once construction wraps up, the tank will begin collecting valuable rainwater that we will disinfect with chlorine; water that is safe for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that students need! Students will no longer waste class time walking to and waiting in line at a shared borehole. And with proper monitoring and repairs, we’ll make sure the rainwater catchment tank is an adequate safe water source.

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. And with a rainwater catchment tank nearby, there will be enough water to keep them clean.

Deputy Principal Fredrick Muhani left us with a picture of the great need here. “We need more water and latrines here, water is life and therefore a school without enough of it suffers a lot due to poor sanitation and hygiene in the school. Many of the students suffer from diarrhea because they do not wash their hands after visiting the toilets and also the food that students take is not hygienically prepared due to the staffs who prepare it do not take hygiene seriously thus cause harm to the students. We shall really appreciate if you help us,” he said.

Recent Project Updates

06/27/2017: Clean Hands at Ikonyero Secondary 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: Ikonyero Secondary School Project Complete

Ikonyero Secondary 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 on school grounds outside of the classrooms, since the headteacher wanted all 521 form one and two students to attend! There were also two teachers in attendance. They were attentive through both days of training, taking notes on and asking questions about each topic.

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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.

6 kenya4639 training

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.

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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! These have come just in time to replace the latrines that had dangerously started sinking.

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Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

We and the school administration informed parents of the project, and requested any support they could offer. We most needed help with the manual labor, but parents refused to help for free. They said if they did so, they wouldn’t be able to put food on the table that night. Thus, school administration met and decided that they would hire parents to help and pay them wages for the day.

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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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The school was really in need of the water tank. Now, it is in a better position with water on school grounds. The students will have ample time to study! A student named Dancan Aswan said, “I really appreciate you enabling the school get the sanitation facilities and most importantly the rainwater harvesting tank. Initially we had to go to the primary section to get water to the school, but right now we shall get access to water right from our school. May God bless you!”

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02/03/2017: Ikonyero Secondary School Project Underway

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, Ikonyero Secondary School in Kenya is building 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 all about the school, and thanks for your help!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kakamega, Lurambi, Butsotso, Shiyunzu, Ikonyero
ProjectID: 4639
Install Date:  04/19/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 10/19/2017

Visit History:
05/05/2017 — Functional
05/16/2017 — Functional
08/17/2017 — Functional
10/19/2017 — Functional


Project Underwriter - New Church
Marcia and Philip Rothblum Foundation, Inc.
South Pontotoc Elementary School

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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.