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The Water Project : 18-kenya4674-tank-construction
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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 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

Essunza Primary School was founded in 1961 by the community members. It had a humble beginning with makeshift classrooms made of mud floors and walls, and grass-thatched roofs. It has now grown into a full-fledged primary school that even has an Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) section. The primary and the ECDE have 810 and 134 pupils respectively. There are also 25 teachers plus three support staff members employed, making the total school population stand at 972 people.

Students report to school by 7AM with a full jerrycan of water. This is put straight to use while students clean their classrooms for the first 20 minutes of the day. The rest of the day is spent in normal classes but for an hour lunch break at 1PM. Afternoon classes stretch until game time at the end of the day.

The majority of parents here are peasant farmers, but for the small percent engaged in business.

Water Situation

There is one 3,000-liter plastic tank on school grounds, but when full can barely serve the 972 people for one day. That is why school administration must require students’ help in fetching water each morning.

Because each child brings their own water, it’s impossible to ensure that any of it is clean. It comes from a multitude of sources. Once delivered to school, most water is kept in its container in the classroom. Other containers are sent to the kitchen for their use. A lot of the water students bring is turbid (muddy).

One of the ECDE teachers, Mrs. Mary Amisi, said “We do a lot of active learning with kids; singing, dancing, running and jumping. By the end of it, all children need nothing short of drinking water to pace down the heartbeat and cool the body. Unfortunately, there is no water that can serve the 134 kids we have. This torments us teachers!”

Sanitation Situation

There are 14 pit latrines on school grounds. Most of these have old wooden doors with holes large enough to destroy privacy. Others are almost full, while even more had walls beginning to slant (a sure, dangerous sign that soil is giving way). There is a foul smell because many students cannot wait a long time in line to urinate. Many run behind the latrines, depositing waste that attracts flies.

There are no hand-washing stations because there’s isn’t enough water. However, students and staff do their best to keep the school compound and classrooms as clean as they can without water.

Deputy Headteacher Declan Onyino said, “We have got cases of typhoid, stomachache and diarrhea that have been witnessed among the pupils. Malaria is something we have lived with, and it is an endemic disease in this part of the lake basin. Jigger infestation and skin disease is another health issue that we suspect spread very first among the pupils as they played, and some come with the problem from homes due to the miserable status of the houses they stay in.”

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

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls while the other three serve the boys. 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. Students will no longer have to haul water to school, for they will soon have safe water at their doorstep.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better health, better academic performance, and a better quality of life.

Recent Project Updates

10/26/2017: Essunza Primary School Project Complete

Essunza 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned in coordination with school administration, who arranged the time and venue and invited all of the participants. They invited parents and student leaders from each grade and gender.

We met inside a classroom for most of the time, while certain demonstrations were taken outside. There ended up being 12 students, two teachers, and two parents in attendance. However, the outside demonstrations drew a lot more students who were curious about what was going on!

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Teacher Lorna Okonyi, pictured in the blue dress, will head up the CTC club formed during this training.

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

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A student prepares to demonstrate the 10 steps of hand-washing that she just learned about.

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. Hands-on demonstrations were the biggest hit with students; everyone wanted to participate in hand-washing, and students couldn’t believe that solar disinfection of water actually works. We assured them if done right, that water is safe to drink.

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Several more students gather around to hear about solar disinfection of drinking water.

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.

Senior Teacher Lorna Okonyi was one of the two teachers there. She said, “This training has been so educative and beneficial to us and this institution at large. Our pupils have not only been reminded of some health promotion tips but have also been introduced to life-saving behaviors that will add more value to them. Information on menstrual [times] and hand-washing hygiene have been timely and helpful to us. We thank God that we have also been introduced to solar method of water disinfection. We are so grateful!”

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Senior Teacher Okonyi addressing her students about the training’s importance.

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: Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered to school and handed over to the CTC club. These have been placed outside of the boys’ and girls’ latrines to encourage hand-washing after latrine use. CTC club members 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!

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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. Some local men even helped our artisans with their manual labor.

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Local men preparing sand for construction by sifting out rocks.

The process began with our staff and school administration moving around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a new rainwater catchment tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

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.

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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.

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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.

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 Essunza Primary School. It already has some water in it!

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Headteacher Charles Sande spoke on behalf of his staff and students, saying “We are most grateful and in a celebratory mood for this voluminous tank we have been blessed with. Our pupils, and more so the kindergarten unit, will benefit greatly from these facilities. Water problem has been an evolving issue that has crossed us many years, accompanying the school for along time. We thank God for enabling us put this to a stop for now!”

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08/29/2017: Essunza Primary School Project Underway

Essunza Primary School will soon have a source of water on school grounds thanks to your donation! A rainwater catchment tank and new latrines are being constructed, hand-washing stations provided, and the school is being trained on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Imagine the impact this will have on these students! For now, check out the report with narrative, pictures, and maps to learn more about this project. Thank you for noticing the need here, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Vihiga, Tongoi, Essunza
ProjectID: 4674
Install Date:  10/26/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional - New Project


Project Underwriter - H2O For Life
Hastings High School Feminism Club
The Oakridge Lower School
5 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.