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The Water Project : 17-kenya4641-tank-construction
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The Water Project : 3-kenya4641-sports-field
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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 326 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

Friends Makuchi Secondary is a school that was started in the late 1970s but shut down for more than a decade because of non-committal parents and the difficult culture of the Tiriki tribe. The cultural beliefs had such a negative impact, greatly encouraging indiscipline among the students. It wasn’t until 1987 that the community members, realizing how difficult it was to raise a child in the darkness of no education, made a change. They united to revive the school that same year.

The Tiriki are one of the sub-tribes of the Luhya Community in Kenya. Mrs. Leonida Anita Vuguza, the longest serving accounts clerk at the school, said that “Our culture has been a big hindrance for the school growth and development agendas to pick up effectively. The situations normally get worse during the Tiriki circumcision period when boys are radicalized against the female gender. During such seasons, pregnancy cases rise, school dropout is so rampant and many women get raped. To my surprise, the men, who pride themselves as the custodians of the culture, do so little to discourage these act of women violation, disrespect of female teachers by boys and unwanted pregnancies during and after initiation of the boy-child.”

(Editor’s Note: Our partners in Kenya work to counter negative beliefs. In fact, many women lead these water and sanitation projects. The above quote describes the rare case of a village that is still steeped in traditional outlooks and practices.)

Makuchi Secondary School now has a total of 12 teachers and 10 support staff employed, and the student population currently stands at 304. The school is located about 10 kilometers from the Kapsabet-Chavakali Road in Makuchi Village, Shaviringa, Tiriki East Division, Hamisi of Vihiga County. Due to its centrality in the region and the huge playing field, the school has been hosting tournaments and sporting events on a regular basis. “The events are hosted here at our door, and that means our sanitation facilities and water reservoirs are always used during such events,” Mr. Alex Jumba, the school deputy principal shared.

A normal school day begins at 7AM with students attending morning study hall. They assemble in the field at 8AM for morning announcements, and then have a short break to get settled in for normal classes. These go until 4PM each weekday.

Water Situation

Mrs. Alice Mugodo, 54, is the school principal. She said the inadequacy of water within the school has been one of the biggest challenges during her short period at the school. “When I was posted here from Moi Girls Vokoli High School at the beginning of 2016, it was obvious to me that I had an elephant to face in this institution. Am married to this community and am well-conversant how risky it is to send the girls in search of water at any time of the day.”

The school has one 6,000-liter plastic tank which is used for the laboratory’s practical lessons and a 30,000-liter cement tank that serves the kitchen, cleaning of classrooms, watering the two dairy cattle and drinking purposes. As pointed out by Leonida, it is a dangerous thing to send students out for water when the tank dries, especially female students. But unfortunately, the water tank can hardly serve the school for a fortnight! She told us, “We have been forced to buy water at 15 shillings per 20-liter container, and thus the school is spending at least 300 daily once our tank is depleted. This we have to do in an attempt to retain our students at school.” When listing some of the most recent consequences of water shortage, she had the following to say: “Based on our setting and the infamous culture around us, we do try to leave no stone unturned to support the girl-child’s education. However, we have had innumerable cases where students just disappear from school when sent to fetch water from streams; some choose to become house-girls and others have been victims of teenage pregnancy. Last year alone the institution was worst hit by the repercussions of the drought: A total of 13 girls got pregnant and one form one girl disappeared from school for a whole term, but she later came back.”

(Editor’s Note: Buying water from vendors isn’t like picking it up from the grocery store. These “vendors” fill containers themselves at any source they can find. Their only goal is to sell a full container, even sacrificing water quality for quantity.)

Sanitation Situation

The school has one semi-permanent kitchen that is fairly clean. This facility was hurriedly constructed to replace a grass-thatched one that was razed the middle of last year during the school’s Annual General Meeting session. This kitchen supports the school’s feeding program.

There are nine simple pit latrines serving 149 girls. These facilities were built by parents after the county public health department threatened to close down the school because it was far below the set sanitation standards. 155 boys are left without any good option. There are also four latrine doors that are full, and two others used by the staff members.

The school has one hand-washing station in the hall, but for the most part is left empty because of the water shortage.

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

Six new latrines with privacy walls will be built. As sanitation stands now, boys are badly off while girls have been relieved of pressure since new latrines were constructed for their use. It is left to the school administration to balance the equation and ensure that both genders are comfortable.

And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean!

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water from the spring for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Staff will no longer have to hire outsiders to fill water containers, nor students leave their school in search of water.

More water will strengthen the school lunch program, and the school strongly believes that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance!

Principal Mugodo also added that yes, “the village has been sick, sometimes due to bad culture that eroded social well-being of the female. However, peaceful coexistence is fast replacing the old mentality.” Clean water is a big step in improving the life of the girl-child.

Recent Project Updates

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

Friends Makuchi 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 in one of the classrooms. The principal invited students and sent notices to parents and school board members asking them to attend. The invited students were from grades one, two, and three, minus students from grade four since they’re about ready to graduate.

Training was attended by a total of 22 people; 15 students, three teachers and four parents.

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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. Both of these groups developed their own rules and work plans.

School Principal Alice Mugodo said, “This has been a wonderful discussion on various topics on health, water and hygiene. We really appreciate your effort to ensure that we not only have the full package of sanitation but also that we are enable to manage, sustain and safeguard them well. Our students have also been motivated to pursue their education with the focus it needs because premature sexual conduct is only a waste of time that degrades their health, prestige, and destroys their future…”

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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

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

Parents, staff, and students first helped our artisan gather everything needed for construction.

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Then, 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 big challenge we encountered was the heavy rains that began near the end of construction. The rain made the dirt roads muddy and slippery, and the constant drizzle made it difficult to take pictures. The artisan requested a plastic tarp be suspended over the tank to create a protected place to work. But thanks to perseverance through the rains, the school can now take advantage of the rains by collecting clean water in their tank!

Teacher Alex Jumba said, “The water tank that we have acquired will carry so much water when it is full, and we are sure our students will no longer run to the streams in search of water. Our girls will be safe from any sexual harassment from villagers who used to take advantage of them. Moreover, with this water on the school compound we are looking forward to seeing the grades of our students soaring to the north in the near future!”

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02/10/2017: Friends Makuchi Secondary School Project Underway

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

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Vihiga, Makuchi
ProjectID: 4641
Install Date:  05/03/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 08/31/2017

Visit History:
05/23/2017 — Functional
07/29/2017 — Functional
08/31/2017 — Functional


Harold J Belkin Foundation
Dean B. & Cheryl J. Eggert
Hope G. Klebenov
John & Ruth Scharf
One Million Goal, Inc.
2 individual donor(s)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

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.