Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2018

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

St. Albert Shanjero Primary School was started in the year 1980 by a man known as Albert. The first classes were held in a mud house. He began this school because pupils were traveling long distance to Shibuye Primary School. Before this school started, Shanjero was a center for local brew pubs where children would stay the entire day drinking instead of walking to Shibuye.

So Albert worked hard for the school to start - And finally, the parents supported him too. The school began with just 12 pupils and has since grown to a high enrollment of 849. It is located in Shanjero Village of Kakamega County, Kenya. The school also employs 17 teachers and four support 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. To learn more, click here.)

Students wake up by 6am to look for water to carry to school, which will be used for drinking, cleaning, and cooking. They start with morning study hall from 6:30am to 7:30am and then do some cleaning activities until normal classes at 8am. The school cooks prepare lunch for all students to be eaten at 12:45pm. Before they are dismissed in the late afternoon, students must stay to participate in clubs for an hour.

Water Situation

Students have to carry as much water as they can every morning, because there's no water source anywhere near the school. If there isn't enough, they have to wait until the following day.

They are connected to the Lake Victoria pipe system, which is not reliable because it comes on once a week for a short time. There is no nearby spring which pupils can fetch water from, so pupils carry water from home to school every day. A tank was seen as we entered the school, but it is only 4,000 liters. As the headteacher reports, they have been harvesting water but she says it barely scratches the surface of their overall need.

This has made pupils perform poorly because they waste a lot of time looking for water. Because they bring water from unknown sources to school, students are subjected to typhoid and other complications. We traveled with them to one of the springs they fetch water from, which was an eye-opening experience (see pictures).

Sanitation Situation

There is inadequate access to sanitation facilities in the school; there are a total of 20 latrines, some of which are already full. 10 doors are available for girls with the 10 others for the boys. This is still far below the agreed ratio of having one door to serve 25 girls and one door to serve 30 boys.

At Shanjero Primary School, long lines are witnessed during breaks, with waits that cut into class and precious study time. Some students cannot bear the wait, and find another private place to relieve themselves. An even worse challenge is that due to road construction, all the latrines have to be demolished.

There are no hand-washing stations for students to wash their hands after using the latrines, nor before they eat lunch.

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 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

January, 2018: Shanjero Primary School Project Complete

Shanjero 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

We trained 15 students, three school board members, and a teacher on hygiene and sanitation practices. We met in the school's Information, Communication and Technology lab. (Editor's Note: While schools in Kenya can access government funding for buildings and at times even computer technology, the government does not subsidize water infrastructure.)

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.

An entire lesson was 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 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.

The CTC club is already planning to meet every Wednesday night. Headteacher Ogutu said, "We are happy that the students are now aware of how to maintain the tank and clean the latrines using improvised material like tree branches for brooms. We were not aware that we needed to have a CTC club that will increase awareness of hygiene and sanitation in the entire school."

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.

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.

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

December, 2017: Shanjero Primary School Project Underway

Shanjero 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. But for now, please enjoy the new stories, pictures, and maps of this school.

Thank You for partnering with us to unlock the potential of these young students!

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!


Project Sponsor - St. Thomas The Apostle Church