Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

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

Emmabwi Primary School was founded in 1961 by the Church of God. It faced challenge from the start, and closed down in 1962 for an entire decade. Emmabwi Primary School now has a massive population of 1240 students, 36 teachers, and four support staff. Its growth is thanks to the quality education teachers are providing at a low fee. Pupils from lower class families who live up to four kilometers away attend Emmabwi. Student Janet Anene told us, "Even though our school is poor, teachers do a great work in class. They teach us well and that is why we compete on the same level with those other big schools. No wonder we became position one in Emuhaya Sub-County in 2015!"

Entering Emmabwi Primary School at 7:10AM, the compound is quiet with no trace of life until you step into a classroom or office.

After general cleaning between 6:45AM and 6:59AM, students settle behind their desks for morning private studies until 7:45AM when they attend morning announcements. The first two lessons take 40 minutes each before students get a 10 minute break. These children flock around their old latrines to answer the call of nature, lined up waiting their turn.

Two more lessons are attended before lunch at noon. Form eight students eat sugarless porridge at school while the other children rush home to eat lunch and return by 2PM. Those that come long distances instead carry packed food or fruits while others carry five to 10 shillings to buy snacks sold by food vendors at the gate.

A few children remain in the classroom during a lunch. This handful of students rely on two meals a day and therefore stay hungry at lunchtime. When interviewed, a few of these students explained that they eat posho in the morning, which is so heavy that they don't feel hungry the entire day.

Under the scorching afternoon sun, pupils are seen running out the gate with jerrycans in their hands, as if in a competition. Their forms shrink until they disappear, only to return later, one by one or in small groups of two or three - carrying water for the rest of the day.

Classes pick back up until 4PM when students begin to play games until they are released at 5PM.

A local parent heard about a project completed at Esibila Primary School, and told the headteacher at Emmabwi Primary about the opportunity. The headteacher was new at that time and hadn't even met the board members yet. He feared committing himself to do a project that would require the cooperation of the board and parents. "This school is in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and your idea is good, but I cannot accept a project before talking to the board, I don't even know whether I'm welcome here," he explained. This was back in the beginning of 2016. By the middle of the year, the headteacher had rallied support and was ready for a project.

(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.)

We then set up a time to meet with Mr. Victor Kutayi so he could give us a tour of his school.

Water Situation

The school only has a 3,000-liter plastic tank that when full, can provide enough water for two days. This is why students must bring water to school in their jerrycans when they return from lunch. When this is used up, the students are sent back to fetch more water from Mukangu Spring, a protected water source that is shared with the neighboring community.

The senior teacher said that congestion at the spring is extremely high during these dry seasons. He said, "Congestion witnessed in that place when there are no rains leads to wrangles with the villagers telling those from other villages to wait until locals fill their jerrycans. Our children also stay there for so long. They have to show respect to their elders by allowing them to fetch water first. This wastes their class time and by the end, lowers performance."

The plastic jerrycans students use appear to be dirty, and none of them have covers to protect water during transportation. The road back to school is extremely dusty, and there's no doubt that the water is contaminated by poor handling and storage.

Sanitation Situation

There are only 12 pit latrines, and many of these are wrecked to the extent that they can longer be used. Some don't have doors, and others are practically full of waste. Even if all 12 were in perfect condition, it's not enough for a huge population of over 1000 students. Unfortunately, many of the students can't wait their turn in the long line and end up running behind the latrine building to relieve themselves.

According to a staff member who visited the school, "Having a glance inside the latrines could make one puke." One is met with a strong, disgusting stench, for many of the students seemed to have missed the pit. A closer look inside reveals that waste has almost reached the opening, proving what the headteacher told us on phone, "Our latrines are full, please we need your support to build new ones."

Not only is there a latrine shortage, but there is no opportunity to wash hands after. If there were hand-washing stations, there wouldn't be enough water to keep them filled.

Rubbish is collected by pupils every morning and thrown into an area at the edge of campus. However, wind carries it back to school grounds.

The senior teacher said "We have had many cases of diarrhea among our children, and I attribute that to poor hygiene. That training will be an eyeopener to this community because the representatives of parents, teachers and pupils to be trained will share that knowledge with the rest." Many people in Emmabwi Villge itself haven't heard how practicing hygiene has a huge impact on health. Clothes are spread out on the dirty ground to dry, people suffer from jiggers, and students attend class without having bathed.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

The students' are in great need of knowledge about hygiene and sanitation. During our visit, students were observed leaving the latrine and walking straight to the school gate to buy snacks. They were unaware of the germs carried on their hands and into their mouths. Even the women selling the snacks would take the money and then handle the food.

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.

These hand-washing stations are in the form of 50-liter buckets fitted with taps. These also have metal stands. Two of these 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. These new latrines will supplement the extreme shortage that would force students to resort to open defecation.

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 Emmabwi Primary School! We expect that academics will improve as students have more time to stay in class without worrying about water.

Project Updates

October, 2018: A Year Later: Emmabwi Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a rainwater catchment tank for Emmabwi Primary 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: Emmabwi Primary School

October, 2018

Final exams are coming soon for Raphael Nyangweso. The water provided by the rain tank allows him to concentrate on his studies, not worry about where to get water, or miss classes due to waterborne diseases.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emmabwi Primary 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 catchment tank for Emmabwi Primary 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 Lillian Achieng with you.

This water and sanitation project has made students much happier than before. Their faces shine with joy as they draw water from the tank. Knowing that there is water whenever they need it has given them peace of mind and enabled them to concentrate in class.

"I am in class eight which is my final year in primary school, and so I have to concentrate for the final exam," 15-year-old Raphael Nyangweso said.

"Having water in school has enabled me to concentrate in my studies and so I am hopeful of doing well in my final exam."

Raphael Nyangweso

Raphael had to carry water to school each day before the construction of the tank. He no longer has to balance a full container of water with his books because there is water available for all the students. It is also making the students healthier.

"Health among the pupils has improved tremendously. Previously, they could complain of stomachaches and diarrhea but that has now subsided," Deputy Headmaster Victor Kutai said.

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.

Joyce Nyagoa

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 Emmabwi Primary School is changing many lives.

The latrines that were constructed have eased the crowds of waiting pupils. As we conducted the interviews, we watched one girl confidently walk into one of the latrines, come out, and wash her hands at a handwashing stand stationed just a few meters from the latrines. This indicates that the habit of handwashing has been embraced.

Victor Kutai

"I have safe and clean drinking water in school," Raphael said.

"I can comfortably wash my hands after visiting the latrine, something that was not common before."

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 Emmabwi Primary 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 Emmabwi Primary 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 Sponsor - John Ligon and Ixtla Malagon