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: 04/03/2024

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 (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the School

Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary School is located in Shitaho Village, Kenya. The school was started in 1982 by a Roman Catholic bishop named Sulumeti, and the school was named after him. In 1998, the school introduced boarding so it became both a day and a boarding school; later in 1986 Bishop Sulumeti handed over the school to the government to be sponsored fully by the Catholic Church. This is the first year, 2017, that the school has become just a boarding school.

The school now has a total student population of 620, and they were still admitting form one students at the time of our survey. The school employs a total of 32 teachers and 25 subordinate staff.

(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.)

The girls wake up at 4 AM every morning to wash up in preparation for morning study hall that goes from 4:30 AM to 6 AM. At 6, they go to eat breakfast before chores which entail cleaning the classrooms, dorms, teacher staffrooms, principal's office and other sections of the school. At 8 AM they resume their normal classes. After lunch, afternoon lessons will go uninterrupted until 4:30 PM when students break for games. The bell for supper rings at 5. Night classes run from 6 to 9 for form one and form two classes, but the upper classes remain in class until 11 PM.

Water Situation

The school received a borehole in 2010, but it was not installed correctly and issues quickly developed. The borehole started drying up in the hottest, driest seasons, and then after another year never recharged and fully stopped serving the school.

To deal with this loss, administration started purchasing plastic tanks to capture rainwater. Over the past couple of years they've been able to install five small to medium-sized rainwater storage containers, split between the boarding section and the classrooms.

If each person uses 20 liters a day, the school would need over 90,000 liters of rainwater each week! That’s why this project is so integral to the success of Bishop Sulumeti and its students.

Sanitation Situation

The school has a total of 10 functional pit latrines at the school section and 10 others in the boarding section. Since there are over 600 girls here, there are always long lines for the latrines.

There are a couple of hand-washing stations, but not nearly enough for the number of girls here. Nor is there any soap!

The girls have partitioned bathing rooms at the boarding section, totaling 28, and a large field where many other girls use to take sponge baths.

There are six wire lines where the girls hang their clothes, but these don't provide nearly enough space. The school has two old dormitories which host 430 students, and a new building to help relieve some of the overcrowding. This new dorm was made to accommodate 360 students but right now it only has 200 students because construction is not yet finished.

The school has also a compost pit which is in a bad condition; dogs and other wild animals can access the garbage and spread it around school grounds.

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.

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 carried by students.

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.

Sister Jane Amukoye is principal of Bishop Sulumeti Girls School, and is especially excited about this project. "I really appreciate you for choosing to help this school with the latrines and rainwater tank," she said. She and the rest of the school administration 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

October, 2018: A Year Later: Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment tank for Bishop Sulumeti Girls 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...

August, 2017: Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary School Project Complete

Bishop Sulumeti Girls 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 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

The deputy principal required that the student body president attend hygiene and sanitation training, and invited one student leader from each grade. Training was held in the school laboratory, since there were no classes in there at the time.

3 kenya4664 training

Students were given new notebooks and pens to take notes with.

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.

5 kenya4664 hand-washing

Hand-washing stations were delivered before the training so they could be used in demonstrations.

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.

4 kenya4664 training

This training didn't only benefit the students, but the teachers too. Teacher Doris Ong'injo said, "This training has been a learning process to us and we thank you for the sacrifice you have made to come and train us on how to maintain the facilities. We shall try and implement what you have taught us so that the facilities can serve us well here in school!"

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!

13 kenya4664 hand-washing stations

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!

15 kenya4664 new latrines

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.

10 kenya4664 tank construction

Girls walk to lunch as the artisan lays the foundation for their tank.

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.

12 kenya4664 tank construction

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 Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary School. It already has some water in it!

The only challenge was that the school was reconstructing the gate when we wanted to deliver the construction materials. But with some extra maneuvering, we were able to get them to our artisans.

"We are thankful as a school for the project... Initially we used to have a problem on getting water for the school, but now we have the rainwater harvesting tank for the school because of the kind heart you people have," said Sister Jane Amukoye, the school principal.

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: Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary School

October, 2018

“We used to have an insufficient number of latrines, but now we have enough for the students to use and we are very grateful.” – Sister Jane Amuokye

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bishop Sulumeti Girls 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 build a rainwater catchment tank for Bishop Sulumeti Girls 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 Faith Muthama with you.

The students and the school staff members now have access to safe, clean drinking water for use in the school from their tank. Before, the school used to strain a lot to find enough water.

We spoke with school principal Sister Jane Amuokye and student Lourine Muguni about how things have changed over the year since the project was completed.

"The water tank really helps us, the students, to get safe water for drinking, water for washing our utensils after eating, bathing, and water for cleaning our classrooms," Lourine said.

Before this project, there were no reliable latrines for the girls. Now they have six high-quality latrines that are well-managed and provide a sanitary space for the girls and the staff.

"We used to have an insufficient number of latrines, but now we have enough for the students to use and we are very grateful," Sister Amuokye said.

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 Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary School is changing many lives.

"Since the project was done last year, it has brought order and also it has assisted on the grooming of the students in the school," Sister Amukoye said.

"The water from the tank really helps the boarding students during cleaning and washing of their clothes and the kitchen staff for cooking purposes."

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 Bishop Sulumeti Girls 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 Bishop Sulumeti Girls 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 Sponsor - David and Janet Brett
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School