Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 215 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

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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 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.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Matsigulu Friends Secondary School

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a rainwater catchment tank for Matsigulu Friends Secondary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

Project Photos

Project Type

For a rainwater collection system, we build gutters around a building with good, clean roofing to channel rain where we want it. From there, the water falls through a filtered inlet pipe into a high-capacity storage tank, the size of which is based on population and average rainfall patterns. In the tank, water can be stored for months, where it is easily treated and accessed. Learn more here!

A Year Later: Matsigulu Friends Secondary School

September, 2018

The tank is providing reliable water, meaning students no longer have to travel to the community spring to fetch water for their daily needs.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Matsigulu Friends Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Matsigulu Friends Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a rainwater catchement tank for Matsigulu Friends Secondary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from Erick Wagaka with you.

There is a great improvement in students' academic performance due to improved retention in class and a strong, peaceful relationship between the school and the neighborhood. Initially, students shared Wandingu Spring with community members, something that would spark sharp disagreements and quarrels as some of the students were ridiculed by villagers. The school administration was forced to spend time settling scores between the students and some villagers at the expense of academic work.

Those problems are in the past.

"As students, our safety has improved because we no longer have to go to fetch water outside the school, it was risky crossing the busy road to the spring," 16-year-old student Violet Achieng said.

Violet Achieng

The school has embraced the project wholeheartedly and has reaped fruits from the project. They have managed to keep their latrines neat and clean and also provided locks to the tank so that water use can be controlled.

"The new latrines have improved our privacy because of the buffer wall unlike the ones that we used to share with the primary pupils," Violet continued.

"As girls, water has helped us a great deal to improve on personal hygiene because handwashing and being in good shape is so key to us."

Installation of the tank is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This tank in Matsigulu Friends Secondary School is changing many lives.

"There is an increased student enrollment because the project has attracted sharp students who initially could not consider Matsigulu High school for lack of water and sanitation facilities," water and sanitation teacher Edward Odali said.

"The project has improved the school image and helped to boost academic excellence since students spend ample time with their books without being disturbed to go for water."

Edward Odali and Violet

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Matsigulu Friends Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Matsigulu Friends Secondary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Underwriter - Elizabeth Crowell
The Rockwood Trust/Gregory Lee
2 individual donor(s)