Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

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

Bumini Primary School was established in 1919 by the Maryhill Missionaries. It is the oldest school in Mumias East Sub-County, and started with a student population of only 20.

It is now sponsored by St. Luke’s Catholic Church and has 1200 primary pupils and 165 early education pupils. The school employs a total of 27 teachers and six support staff. The school’s motto is "hard work pays."

(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.)

On a normal school day, pupils arrive at 7am. They carry out normal cleaning activities and then proceed to the morning assembly at 7:30am, when they listen to announcements from staff. Morning classes start at 8am and go until lunch at 12:30pm, when students return home to enjoy a meal with the rest of their family. Afternoon classes begin at 1:45pm and then there's game time and evening assembly before students are dismissed at 4:30pm.

Water Situation

The pupils are required to carry water from their respective homes, but the five to 10 liters they carry is not enough for their daily use. Thus, the students are sent out to fetch water from a spring about one kilometer away. This water shortage greatly interferes with their class time. Once the water in their small containers is used up, out they go again.

The safety of water that students fetch cannot be guaranteed, especially after the long trek back with their open containers. After drinking, there are complaints of stomachaches and diarrhea, two primary symptoms of typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

Bumini Primary School has a total of 20 VIP latrines out of which four are for teachers and visitors and the other 16 are for pupils. The 16 are split equally between boys and girls. The latrines are not nearly enough for over 1,000 students and this shortage has resulted in long lines and wasted time. And because there's a water shortage here, a handful of these latrines cannot be cleaned on a regular basis.

A good number of wooden latrine doors are infested by termites, whereas other doors have completely broken off. There is only one hand-washing station for all of these students and staff, making it impossible for everyone to wash their hands after using the latrine.

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 (students have already started helping). Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer be responsible to find enough water to carry to school every day.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance!

Project Updates

November, 2018: A Year Later: Bumini Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to construct a rainwater harvesting tank for Bumini 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...

December, 2017: Bumini Primary School Project Complete

Bumini 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

We worked with Headteacher Matala to invite student leaders to hygiene and sanitation training. Sessions were held in a classrooms, with a total attendance of 26 students. As they were learning new things, the students raised their hands when they had questions, actively involving themselves in all the activities. They were concerned with not only how to do these things at school, but how to practice them at home too.

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.

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. And since the tank was finished by the time we held training, we could take everyone to see exactly what we were talking about when it comes to caring for their new water source.

Headteacher Matala said, "I am excited that such a training could be held in my school. Thank you for teaching my pupils on the key aspects of water, hygiene and sanitation."

Students pose with their teachers after hygiene and sanitation training.

Project Result: VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines. All of these latrines are easy to use and clean. And with a rainwater catchment tank, there should be enough water to keep them clean all the time!

Teacher Margaret Amboa said, "Our girls did not have enough toilets; thus, we are so happy for the additional latrines for the girls."

The girls proudly stand in front of their new, safe, and clean latrines!

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.

Students are happy to have enough clean water to keep clean throughout the school day.

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.

Bricks delivered to the school for construction.

The process officially 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.

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.

Community members knitting together sugar sacks to line the iron mesh. This is used to support the thick cement walls.

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

September, 2017: Bumini Primary School Project Underway

Bumini Primary School in Kenya has begun building a new source of safe, clean water because of your generous 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! Thank you for noticing the need here, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

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: Bumini Primary School

November, 2018

Before this project, the school was at risk of closure due to lack of latrines. Today, the school is garnering praise from public health officials for the quality of their facilities.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bumini 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 tank for Bumini 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 Mary Afandi  with you.

One year after the project was completed, the pupils from Bumini Primary School look healthy, clean, and happy. Initially, the school had no access to safe water. This forced the pupils to carry water from home each day. With the accessibility of water now in the school, the pupils are able to clean their classrooms. Cases of absenteeism have also decreased thanks to the safe drinking water.

We recently visited the school to speak with students and teachers about the changes they experienced over the past year. Headteacher Isa Matala told us that public health officers visited the school and commented that the facilities are very good. They gave the headteacher an A+ for the facilities! The officers also said that the toilets are nice and clean.

Headteacher Isa Matala and student Florence Ongola

It is a remarkable story given that country officials gave the school a closure notice prior to the project, saying that if new latrines were not constructed, things would be shut down. Not only do they have latrines now, but the officials are complimenting them!

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 Bumini Primary School is changing many lives.

"At the moment, the pupils have enough clean and safe water within the compound," 15-year-old Florence Ongola said.

"Absenteeism among the pupils has greatly reduced as compared to previous years."

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 Bumini 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 Bumini 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.


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