Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/02/2022

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 (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the School

Illiteracy was the norm, and nobody in Musabwali Village bothered to take their children to school until the Church of God together with community members decided to start Essaba Primary School. They began encouraging other families in this area to embrace formal education. This institution began with a very small number of pupils, who are now great grandparents and many have since died of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and ulcers.

Even now, parents are the greatest supporters of this school. Unlike many other primary schools, students' parents attend meetings and pay impromptu visits just to check on the performance and progress of both teachers and their pupils. They may not be rich, but they are always available. This is one of the only institutions where parents regard teachers with the highest level of respect, and the same has been passed to their children who listen to and obey their teachers.

The number of students started increasing slowly over time. When we visited in the beginning of this year, school population was at 1287: 512 boys, 744 girls, 27 teachers three security guards and one cook. (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.)

A lunch program was started to keep classes seven and eight in school throughout the day, but the administration desires to have all children eat lunch at school to avoid the time wasted returning home. Most of the old classrooms have been renovated, but they are not nearly enough. The nursery school has three classes (baby class, middle class, and pre-unit) but they study in the same room.

Children start trickling into school as the day breaks. Every child must take part in general cleaning, thereafter settling into class by 7 AM. Latecomers are whipped with a cane.

There are no morning lessons between 7 and 8 every Monday and Friday, as these are the days for morning assembly to raise the Kenyan flag, give updates and make announcements.

At 4 PM every afternoon, students are sent to the field to enjoy various games chosen by the teacher on duty. Every child is released to go home at 6 PM as two security guards arrive to safeguard the school at night.

Water Situation

A 3,000-liter plastic tank was bought by parents to prevent children from have to travel to the spring. As the student population grew, this became less and less adequate. Another plastic tank of 5,000 liters was bought, but it leaks and can’t hold water for more than a day.

It is important to note that a day cannot end before classes are interrupted to send children for water from Mulwanda Spring. This spring is situated a half kilometer from the school. It is also shared by Essaba Secondary School and the community living in the neighborhood.

Mulwanda is protected and produces safe water. However, water is often contaminated by the way students transport it back to the school. A large number of students have suffered from typhoid and diarrhea. "Pupils waste a lot of time in the spring, and I believe if we have a bigger tank in the school our performance will increase," shared the deputy headteacher.

Sanitation Situation

A bell rings at 10 AM for break, when all children start running towards the latrines that are filthy with feces and wet with urine. Most of these young ones do not have shoes, nor do they wash their hands after answering the call of nature; therefore using those facilities in such a pathetic state is not just perturbing, but could be deadly.

Boys and girls each have nine doors of pit latrines. They are cleaned every morning but are filthy by the time children have their second break. All male members of staff have one door of pit latrines, while females also have one. Teachers share their latrines with any visitors who come to school; no wonder the pits are almost full.

This institution has no compost pit, and rubbish is disposed on the ground near one of the classes next to the boys’ latrines. Most children here have suffered diarrheal diseases, and Madam Diana attributes it to poor hygiene practices. Unlike other schools, even the teachers of Essaba do not have hand-washing facilities.

"Our village is suffering because of ignorance. We have suffered because of poor hygiene but it seems some people do not understand it. The day all of us will understand how to practice good hygiene to prevent diseases, no time and money will be wasted looking for treatment and that will increase productivity of community members and also increase performance of children in national examinations," said Deputy Headteacher John Amukowa.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

On the day of our visit, all pupils together with their teachers gathered on the football field to select student leaders through a democratic election process as required by the ministry of education. Every child cast their votes and anxiously waited for the leaders to be officially announced 50 minutes later. Shouts of applause filled the air as the senior teacher read out the names of winners, these children will be in charge of sanitation and hygiene for their campus.

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 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.

With adequate clean water, the school will have water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and hand-washing. The school will no longer have to rely on the small amounts of (often contaminated) water fetched by students. So much time will be reallocated to these students’ education!

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.

School administration and parents are positive that with these new facilities and training, their students’ academic performance will improve. Students will be healthy and empowered to focus on what’s important!

Project Updates

11/13/2018: A Year Later: Essaba Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to construct a rainwater catchment tank for Essaba Primary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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...

09/13/2017: Essaba Primary School Project Complete

Essaba Primary 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 students have received training in sanitation and hygiene. Just imagine the difference these resources will make in the lives of these children!

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

Our hygiene and sanitation officers requested that the deputy headteacher pick two student leaders from each grade, one boy and girl. A local father and mother with students attending the school were also asked to attend so that they could teach the other parents in the community. There were also three teachers in attendance.

Training was held in one of the classrooms, because they were all free at the time; coincidentally the school was holding an athletics competition outside.

1 kenya4658 training

Students participated well in all of our activities. 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

Demonstrations were used for hand-washing, tooth-brushing, solar disinfection, and many other topics. We facilitated group discussions and presentations, and students took part in role-plays. The students also received handouts which will help them teach hygiene and sanitation to their peers.

2 kenya4658 training

A student tries to remember all 10 of the hand-washing steps the trainer just demonstrated!

The CTC 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 managing hand-washing stations, cleaning latrines, and keeping the school environment tidy. A water user committee has also been formed by parents and school administration, which will be responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new facilities.

5 kenya4658 training

Students learn about the proper way to treat their tank so that it lasts a long time.

After the final session, Teacher Amukowa said, "I’m so happy that a thing that was once a dream has turned into reality... You were brought here by God. I only thought of the tank and latrines as a great way to help us, but I’m amazed at the kind of knowledge you have given us today; it was timely and it will not only help us, but also our family members and other people that we interact with. This training was so rich and I know everyone here will never remain the same again."

7 kenya4658 Teacher Amukowa

Teacher Amukowa

The students in the CTC club have already heeded a lot of what they learned, digging a compost pit and sweeping the school grounds.

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. Members of the club also asked us how to improvise some more hand-washing stations of their own so that more students have the opportunity to wash their hands. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them!

18 kenya4658 hand-washing station

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!

16 kenya4658 finished latrines

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, women cooked meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work.

Rainwater tank construction began with clearance of the site: excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast by laying hardcore on a level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

8 kenya4658 clearing and leveling the ground

Preparing the ground for a solid rainwater catchment tank foundation.

As the foundation was being lain, both the drawing pipe as well as the washout pipe were affixed. The wall was built with ferro-cement techniques through six layers. The inner wall was plastered while rough casting was done on the outer part.

After the superstructure had been given enough time to settle, the dome construction followed. The manhole cover was fitted, inlet pipes were connected to the roof gutters, inlet screens, ventilation pipes (breathers) and overflow pipes were all done to standards.

10 kenya4658 tank construction

Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed. Drainage was set up there, and then the tank was allowed three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Essaba Primary School. It already has some water in it!

26 kenya4658 clean water

Students, teachers, and staff gathered together to get their first sips of clean water from the tank. Mr. Elijah Aring, a security guard who reports to school grounds every day, was there to celebrate. "This water is clean and safe from contamination. I used to carry water from home in a bottle everyday as I reported to duty. Anytime my water could get finished I would persevere with thirst because I knew how much I had wasted time and money in the hospital last year when I suffered from typhoid and I did not want the same to repeat since water brought by children to school was contaminated. But now I just come here with my jacket and a walking stick because I know we have clean and plenty of safe water in school. I drink eight glasses daily as we were advised in the training and I know that I am more healthy than I was before the project," he shared.

Project Photos

Project Type

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.

I only thought of the tank and latrines as a great way to help us, but I’m amazed at the kind of knowledge you have given us today; it was timely and it will not only help us, but also our family members and other people that we interact with.

Deputy Headteacher John Amukowa

A Year Later: Essaba Primary School

November, 2018

“Our pupils no longer go out of the school to fetch water now that safe, clean water is available within the school.” – Deputy Headteacher John Amukowa

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Essaba 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, your generous donation enabled us to construct a rainwater catchment tank for Essaba Primary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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 local team member Wilson Kipchoge with you.

Upon entering the compound of Essaba Primary School, you are welcomed by the presence of a big water tank which stores water for the students to draw and use for various chores. They are happy that there is a known source of water that they can consume without fear of getting sick.

The compound looks clean with handwashing stations installed at strategic positions to enable the pupils wash their hands after visiting the latrine and before touching any food.

"Our pupils no longer go out of the school to fetch water now that safe, clean water is available within the school," Deputy Headteacher John Amukowa told us during a recent visit to the school.

Deputy Headteacher John Amukowa and Magret Anyona

"This has enabled the pupils to concentrate more in their classrooms and improve on their academic performance."

The whole school is benefiting, he added. Parents see their school's improved results and new facilities, and are choosing to send their children to this school. This has caused the student population to grow from 800 to over 1,000 in this last year.

All these facts are attributed to the construction of the 50,000-liter water tank, building of six VIP latrines and the provision of two handwashing stations.

Construction 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 Essaba Primary School is changing many lives.

"Since last year, I no longer have to carry water from home everyday when I go to school," 12-year-old student Margret Anyona said.

Magret Anyona

"Our studies are always conducted in clean classrooms because of the availability of water from the tank. The water is used for cooking in the kitchen and drinking by both the pupils and the staff. I always like staying in school because of the availability of water from the tank."

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 Essaba 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 Essaba 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!