Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 467 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

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

St. Micheal Irenji Primary School was started in the year 2013 by its sponsor, the Catholic Church. Their aim was to give children something productive to do during the day; children would often spend the days playing at the stream, and were prone to drowning without proper supervision.

The school now has 378 students and employs 12 teachers and three support staff.

A normal day for students starts at home, where they work to complete chores for their families. When finished, they rush to make it to school on time for morning lessons. The first thing they do upon reaching school is rush back out to the stream to fetch water. When they've fetched what they need, they proceed clean classrooms and school grounds. Students and staff assemble at 8am for morning announcements, and then break off for their regular classes.

Rental houses in Kakamega are becoming too expensive due to rapid growth. The field officer actually came across this school in looking for a house to rent. They bumped into a landlady, who also happened to be the headteacher at St. Micheal Irenji Primary School. During their discussion, our staff mentioned what they do for a living and the headteacher was amazed, saying that she had been searching for just such an organization to help alleviate suffering at her school.

Water Situation

The school does not have a water source or proper water storage. The pupils are forced to go out and collect water from passing streams, and sometimes they are requested to carry water from home too. A lot of time is wasted as pupils are forced to leave their classes and go get water for drinking and for the school cook to make lunch.

So much time is wasted as students leave class for water, but it gets worse - most also suffer from waterborne illnesses like typhoid after drinking that water. After our meeting right when we were about to leave the school, we witnessed a student arriving at the head office to ask the headteacher for permission to go home. He had a severe stomachache and diarrhea. This was because of drinking dirty water from the stream.

Teacher Madam Regina said, "Children are very fragile, thus when exposed to hard conditions in life they find it hard to cope and thus suffer a lot. Water shortage is a major concern in this school, thus most pupils are affected and this has also contributed negatively to the school performance."

Sanitation Situation

During the our first visit to the school, it became clear that the sanitation level need to be addressed. There are only four pit latrine doors for girls, three doors for boys, and only two doors for teachers. And because there isn't enough water, the sanitation of these latrines is entirely ignored.

In addition, the school has improvised two hand-washing facilities to try and improve hygiene among the students. But still, these pupils have not learned the importance of washing their hands properly - from a distance you could see how hurriedly they dipped their hands under the water.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

Training will be held for three 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 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

December, 2018: A Year Later: Irenji Primary School

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

January, 2018: Irenji Primary School Project Complete

Irenji 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 young students!

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

This project was done in late 2017, making hygiene and sanitation training difficult to schedule. In fact, with final exams going on, the school couldn't find any free time. We spoke with parents and they actually allowed their students to come back for training during break. There were 32 students, two teachers, and two parents in attendance.

The training participants posing for a group picture.

We taught that hygiene entails personal hygiene, water hygiene, and environmental hygiene. Attention needs to be given to each facet of hygiene to enjoy a healthy life.

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

– Cleaning self and clean environment

– 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 training officer demonstrating the 10 steps of hand-washing.

Even though it was their holiday vacation, students were eager to participate. When it came to using the hand-washing stations, they were actually arguing about who got to practice hand-washing next!

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.

Teacher Mildred Andati told us, "Most of our children suffer from attacks by jiggers and this can be attributed to poor standards of hygiene. We thank God because soon this problem will come to an end. Our pupils and the school have been empowered through the topics that have been handled in the training. The training was not only important to the pupils, but to all of us."

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!

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 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.

A little girl getting soap to scrub her hands with before rinsing at the new hand-washing station.

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 and women even helped our artisans with their manual labor.

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.

Clearing a solid, level foundation for the rainwater catchment 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. The catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed.

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.

Drainage was set up there, and then the tank was given three to four weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Irenji Primary School. It already has some water in it!

Headteacher Regina Amalemba was integral in making this happen. She convinced parents to let their children attend training during break, and she supported the workers in any way possible. She and her students met us at the tank to witness the clean water it had collected. "Since the school began, we have been fetching water from a nearby stream. This water is never treated before consumption. The stream is far and the students spend a lot of time that would have been spent to cover class work. The new water tank will help the school greatly since the pupils will now access clean and safe water within the school compound. This will reduce cases of waterborne diseases and also help in saving time meant for syllabus coverage," said Mrs. Amalemba.

November, 2017: Irenji Primary School Project Underway

Irenji 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: Irenji Primary School

December, 2018

“Currently, we are experiencing nothing but the best,” said Deputy Headteacher Rodah Muhati.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Irenji 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 Irenji 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 Jacklyne Chelagat with you.

The students at Irenji Primary School arrive early each day and carry out a thorough cleaning of the school grounds. When they play in the afternoon, they take breaks to drink water from the rainwater tank on the school grounds. And when they have to use the bathroom, they enjoy the clean latrines and do not have to wait in line to use them. In addition, cases of absenteeism have reduced as a notable amount as pupils no longer get sick as a result of consuming dirty water from the stream.

All this is attributed to construction of the rainwater tank and latrines a year ago.

"I want to sincerely thank you for such a noble job done in my school," said Deputy Headteacher Rodah Muhati.

Rodah Muhati and Field Officer Jacklyne Chelegat

"As a school, we have suffered enough for not having clean and safe water for consumption, sufficient latrines, good handwashing facilities, and adequate information on water, sanitation and hygiene. As I speak, all of the fore-mentioned issues have been fully addressed, and currently we are experiencing nothing but the best.

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 project in Irenji Primary School is changing many lives.

"My academic performance has improved and this is attributed to the ability to attend 100% of class lessons," said Venus Muhonje.

Venus Muhonje

"I am experiencing good health courtesy of your work. May God bless you."

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 Irenji 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 Irenji 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.


3 individual donor(s)