Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/11/2023

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

Mukhombe Primary School is a double streamed, full day school that runs a program from 6:45 AM to 5:30 PM. Since 1996, it has grown through the hands of four Kenyan government regimes with various politicians funding the building of infrastructure. Some of those buildings have now become so old that they can only survive with constant renovations.

This school draws students from long distances because of its positive national examination results year after year. The school has a total of 373 boys, 389 girls, 19 teachers and three support staff; a total population of 784 people besides the family chaplain stationed by the sponsor, the Salvation Army.

(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.)

Water Situation

There was a water well installed many years ago, but it has since dried up and ceased to serve this school.

This school is now subject to severe water shortage. There is no water source on school grounds, so they must rely on the closest source that is one kilometer away.

In response to the water shortage, the school asks children to carry water from home every day. These students fill their 5-liter plastic containers with water from the most convenient source on their way to school. There is no way to verify that the water they bring is safe for drinking. Luckily, some LifeStraw containers have been delivered to the school, and the water is poured through this filter before consumption.

But this isn't the big issue at this school, because the water students carry cannot meet the institution's water needs. Classes follow a daily rotation to collect water from Muluwanda Spring, sending students one kilometer each way to fill their jerrycans.

Sanitation Situation

There are 11 doors of pit latrines, if they can be called "doors" when they're missing their actual doors! Door or not, the usable latrines are dirty and foul-smelling. Because there are not enough latrines for such a large student population, and because they are in such poor condition, open defecation is an issue here.

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: 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.

This water will be treated with chlorine and rock alum as the tank fills during the rainy season. With adequate clean water, the school will have enough water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and hand-washing. Most importantly, students will no longer be sent to the stream to fetch water throughout the day! This time will be devoted to studies.

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

10/02/2018: A Year Later: Mukhombe Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a rainwater catchment tank for Mukhombe Primary Schooly 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...

08/24/2017: Mukhombe Primary School Project Complete

Mukhombe 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 the entire student body has 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was organized in collaboration with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the school board. Teachers picked out students with strong leadership skills and asked them to attend and join a CTC (child to child) club being formed on campus. Everyone was so excited about this project; we asked for at least two people in administration roles to attend, but we got even more!

1 kenya4663 training

There were 11 students, two teachers, and the chairwoman of the PTA. They all asked questions and joined in the discussions.

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 students also received handouts which will help them teach hygiene and sanitation to their peers.

3 kenya4663 hand-washing

Practicing hand-washing like the trainer demonstrated!

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.

After the training on hand hygiene, pupils learnt that soap isn't the only useful agent for hand-washing, but ash is just as effective. They have thus improvised a tin at the hand-washing stations in which ash is stored.

17-year-old Valari Achando was one of the students who attended. She said, "The brainchild behind this initiative is indeed blessed, because very important contents have been unpacked for us and these will transform our lives. Initially, we had issues with our latrines getting filled up very fast - some smelling foul while others have doors that could hardly serve for long. However, this session has not only rebuked us but it has also provided ways out out these dilemma. Thanks be to God that it was organized for us!"

5 kenya4663 water treatment

Teaching about different ways to treat water.

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!

12 kenya4663 hand-washing station

A happy hand-washer!

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!

13 kenya4663 latrines

Three new latrine doors were installed for each gender.

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank began at the end of April.

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 kenya4663 field officer inspecting foundation work

The field officer stops by to inspect the progress on this tank's 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 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 kenya4663 community members helped

Community members help carry fresh cement to plaster the tank.

Finally, the catchment area was done by building a staircase. Drainage was set up there, and then the tank was allowed 14 days to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Mukhombe Primary School. It already has some water in it!

Things didn't get off without a hitch, though. The rainy season had already begun, and the dirt roads leading to the school became very muddy and slippery. Personally, I was rained on several times on the way there. The artisan also reported that he got rained on several times, and that same rain washed away the concrete work he had just done. Rinse and repeat! One of the latrine pits even caved in during these heavy rains, and the school had to help us dig another. But perseverance really paid off!

Teacher Phenehas Julius told us, "The pupils will have a breath of relief during rainy season because they will not be sent to walk through the muddy paths in search of water for drinking and for doing basic sanitation needs. The tank is a big relief on parents; if they were to put it up by themselves, it would have taken ages to be realized. As a community we are so humbled because teachers are now going to easily account for the quality of water taken by the pupils, unlike before, when each kid would bring water from various sources."

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.

A Year Later: Mukhombe Primary School

October, 2018

Sheila Alili, a standard six pupil, tells us that she is a “professional handwasher” since she applies the lessons she learned from the sanitation training and has regular access to water at the school.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukhombe 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 Mukhombe Primary Schooly 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 school community has embraced the practice of handwashing as a result of the training and handwashing stations that we provided last year. Sheila Alili, a standard six pupil tells us that she is a "professional handwasher." She is using the ten-point handwashing skills to wash her hands at all the important times.

"I am a happy girl in school now," Sheila said.

In addition to improved sanitation and hygiene, she and the rest of the students have a reliable water source to meet their daily needs. This is having a profound impact on the school, including a steadily increasing student population as a result of this project.

Sheila Alili

"Our school staff use this water to cook their meals and we also drink it and use it to wash our classrooms and toilets. We no longer fetch water from home for school."

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 Mukhombe Primary School is changing many lives.

"Previously, we experienced water-related diseases, especially among the pupils. But now, that has stopped since the construction of the tank which provides us with clean and safe drinking water," Teacher Julius Phenehas said.

Julius Phenehas and Sheila Alili

"The pupils are doing better than before since they can now concentrate in class."

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 Mukhombe 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 Mukhombe 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!