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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 215 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

At the center of the Maragoli Community of Western Kenya in Matsigulu Village of Chango sub-location, North Maragoli of Sabatia of Vihiga County, Matsigulu Friends Secondary School takes pride in the beautiful Mother Nature surrounding her. Just from the school gate, one can’t miss seeing the large field full of spectacular rocks on which students play during break. There are mushroom-shaped igneous rocks protruding from the other end of the field on which students especially like to play.

Matsigulu Friends School was founded as a community institution in 2010, and it now has a total population of 200 students, 10 teachers and five support staff. Since its beginning, enrollment growth has been at a snail’s pace. The slow growth is due to the impoverished condition of parents who struggle to put food on the table at the end of each day, let alone to pay school fees. “Most students still have arrears. However, when we continuously send them home, some end up as school dropouts since the parents are too poor to afford this little amount we ask them to pay here,” the school principal, Mrs. Lydia Eunice Amara, explained. Despite these hurdles, the school has evolved to be what it is today: “We have three classrooms, but one has been partitioned into offices and a laboratory. The remaining two classes serve form three and four students while the form one and two students use borrowed classes in Matsigulu Primary School to cater for the shortage,” she added.

The government through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is currently building a multilevel building to help make room for a library, offices and classrooms since the entire school only owns 0.12 acres. There is a temporary kitchen where meals are prepared for teachers and students. This wood-walled facility needs expansion and improvement, as it is not meeting the standards required by the ministry of education. Despite her humble beginnings, the institution is already competing with well-established, large schools. For instance, the Matsigulus (as her students are commonly known) are respected in athletics, making the kids popular in this region. “Our children are hardened to excel beyond the sky due to problems and poor terrain, which makes them  flexible and fit. Climbing hills, rough roads and having to work on their small farms over the weekends and holidays makes them so strong to the extent that competing in athletics becomes like a hobby to our students. They can also do well in other games, but we lack coaches,” said the principal.

Water Situation

The school depends on Wandigu Spring, a half kilometer away. “Sending our students to the spring has come along with challenges. For instance, boy-girl relationships and several immorality cases have been reported. Even parents and other outsiders have complained a lot about deterioration of our students’ character observed at the spring and along the way as they go for water,” commented Miss Anjere Ruth, a teacher at the school.

The walk to the spring also wastes much of the students’ class time, which has a sustained effect on academic performance. In an attempt to solve the problem, the school bought a 4,000-liter plastic water tank to help keep students in school throughout the day, but this has not made a tangible difference. Therefore, students still fetch water from the spring to add to what is available in the tank.

The path to the spring gets very slippery when it drizzles, making students slip and fall. A trip to the spring revealed it all: the way to the spring is so steep that students have to literally stop themselves from running as they approach the water point. The reverse way is so tiresome that the boys have to work in turns to carry the 20-liter jerrycans, and then pass them to girls who ferry it back to school. Mr. Patrick, a utility teacher on board, observed the struggle that these students go through and was moved. “I sympathize with our students so much. Teachers have complained a lot about students taking much time to collect water from here but today I have witnessed for myself that these students do donkey work indeed,” he shared. He also shared sad stories of students who were sent to fetch water but because of the bad terrain, they fell while carrying water on their shoulders back to school. They ended up sustaining injuries and the containers were destroyed.

Sanitation Situation

Matsigulu Friends Secondary School does not have latrines of her own, save for two doors serving the teachers. The secondary students here must cross over to the primary section to share their simple pit latrines. And yet the primary school alone has 500 pupils! Queues at the latrines during breaks waste much time, as students are often much later than the 15-minute break will allow. With these combined populations using the same latrines, it is obvious Matsigulu Friends Secondary School is in dire need of new facilities.

Teachers have one hand-washing facility for themselves, and a more temporary water container solution has been improvised by students. The sanitation standards in the school are still low.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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. With these latrines of their own, secondary students won’t have to share with primary students.

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. In fact, they’ve already begun the process. The principal said, “Please help us; we brought here these materials to show you how serious and ready we are to partner with you to help our school. We are already looking for the remaining materials.” 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 make the treacherous walk to Wandigu Spring.

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 Matsigulu Friends Secondary School! We expect that health will improve and absences will decrease.

Recent Project Updates

05/03/2017: Matsigulu Friends Secondary School Project Complete

Matsigulu Friends 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 outside at the school next to their field, since there were no classrooms available at the time. The principal was the one responsible for inviting (requiring) student leaders to attend. The sessions were attended by a total of 50 participants, including teachers, parents, and students. Everyone actively participated, especially when they had the chance to talk freely in discussions groups.

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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.

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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. Livingstone Isagi was one of the teachers who attended. “Knowledge is expensive but they have fed us with so much that it will be shameful if we remain the same. I believe our health status should change with respect to hand hugiene, water handling and disposal of both liquid and solid wastes,” he said.

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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.

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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!

The only challenge for this part of the project was the pit excavation. The diggers were stopped by a hard, impenetrable rock that forced them to look for a different place to dig. This was after 10 feet of digging!

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Everyone persevered through these kinds of challenges, and in fact were so motivated that they went above and beyond what was planned. Under the guidance of our artisan, they were able to collect enough materials and lend enough helping hands to build three extra latrines and a urinal.

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Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction on this 50,000-liter tank began in February.

Each section of the school community helped us in ways worthy of recognition. Students tirelessly lent their helping hands to carry water from Wandingu Spring to be used for construction. Parents provided the local materials such as sand, ballast, sugar sacks, propping poles, and others. The school cook also cooked food for those working so tirelessly.

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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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Deputy Principal Gimode Whyce expressed his appreciation on behalf of the entire school. “This water tank has come at the right time. Our pupils have labored to get water for doing daily cleaning at the school. They used to walk into the villages to fetch water from Wandigu Spring, this will happen no more,” he said.

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01/26/2017: Matsigulu Friends Secondary School Project Underway

We are excited to report that thanks to your willingness to help, Matsigulu Friends Secondary 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 Matsigulu Friends Secondary School!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Vihiga, Matsigulu
ProjectID: 4640
Install Date:  05/03/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 08/30/2017

Visit History:
06/29/2017 — Functional
08/30/2017 — Functional


Project Underwriter - Elizabeth Crowell
The Rockwood Trust/Gregory Lee
2 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.