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: 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

Shiyunzu Primary School is located in Shiyunzu Village of Kakamega, Kenya. It has a total enrollment of 712 students and employs 18 teachers and three 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.  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 school's program starts very early in the morning at 6 am when pupils begin making their way to school. Reporting time is 6:30 am and any pupil who arrives past 7 am is punished by the teacher on duty. Cleaning of the school compound is done in the evening.

The livelihoods of the community members neighboring the school are quarrying, making bricks, and farming. There is a lot of potential for development if the community does everything they can to get and keep their kids in school.

Shiyunzu Primary is unique because it has a classroom and teacher dedicated to special needs children from the community. The teacher's name is Madam Naomi Serenge, who is more of a mother, teacher, and friend than a social worker. This lady deals with these students just like they're her own. What touches us most is that she takes care of a lot of other children by making visits to their homes. There are four boys who cannot walk to school, so this madam makes the effort to visit them at their respective homes and teach them life skills. It is encouraging to see how she loves her work and is committed to it.

Water Situation

There is no water source on school grounds, so administration has asked students to carry their own containers to school every day. Most students get their water from a protected spring, but that has been flowing very slowly. Because of this low water quantity, students have had to draw water from open sources like streams and puddles on the way to school. Since many of these students are still very young, they can't carry more than 10 liters of water at a time.

The school doesn't have much for storage, but they've been blessed to have recently received 50-liter Life Straw filters. Once delivered to school, students pour their water in these.

Students still do not understand the importance of drinking filtered water, especially when they fetch it from the open stream. Waterborne disease is still a common reason for students to be absent from school.

Sanitation Situation

There are nine usable pit latrines on school grounds. These are in pathetic condition, with large holes that put small students at risk. Many of these don't even have doors, so students are forced to use the latrine in pairs; one stands in the doorway for privacy. Because of these bad conditions, open defecation is an issue as students look for any other private places to relieve themselves.

There are no hand-washing stations for students to use, but staff has one in their office. Headteacher John Angaya told us, "There is no day I have ever had 100% total attendance of the pupils since I came to this school. Many are absent because of stomachaches and this can be said due to poor hygiene."

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: Shiyunzu Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to construct a rainwater catchment tank for Shiyunzu 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: Shiyunzu Primary School Project Complete

Shiyunzu Primary School in Kenya now has a 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

Student leaders from each grade were selected by their teachers to attend hygiene and sanitation training for two days. We met 21 of these students outside on school grounds. Students weren't shy of asking questions or participating in every activity and demonstration.

Each participant is now a member of the newly formed CTC (child to child) club on campus, which is responsible for recruiting new members to be advocates of good hygiene and sanitation. Each member has promised to be a good role model as they demonstrate the new things they’ve learned on a daily basis. They will also be responsible for managing hand-washing stations, cleaning latrines, and keeping the school environment tidy.

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.

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 almost 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.

13-year-old Rael Nafula said, "I am very glad and grateful for the training, for it has really enlightened me about the importance of safe water, hand-washing techniques and my rights as a child. I will be able to share and also teach the other pupils and my neighbors at home about this."

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!

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.

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.

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.

Men cutting a wire grid to support the tank wall.

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

The artisan digging a soak pit for water to drain from the catchment area.

Teacher Jackline Kayesi said, "You are indeed a great blessing to this school. You have really helped us, especially the special unit and nursery pupils who most of the time feel sick due to unclean water. We could record absentees of a high number from these two groups and when you find out the reason was diarrhea and this was a result of unsafe water for drinking. We therefore say thank you so much for the facilities!"

November, 2017: Shiyunzu Primary School Project Underway

Shiyunzu 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!

A Year Later: Shiyunzu Primary School

October, 2018

Students like Emma Ayesa used to spend an hour fetching water from an unprotected source each day. Now, they have more time to study and are healthier thanks to the rainwater tank installed last year.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shiyunzu 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 catchment tank for Shiyunzu 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 Jemmimah Khasoha with you.

Shiyunzu Primary School has transformed for the better in the year since the construction of a rainwater catchment tank, new latrines and handwashing stations. Most notably, students are performing better in school thanks to the provision of clean water.

"I use my time well since we no longer waste time going to fetch water at the spring," 13-year-old Emma Ayesa told us. "We usually spent an hour each day fetching water. I am grateful for your kindness that you rescued us and we no longer need to waste that time."

Emma Ayesa and field officer Jemmimah Khasoha pose in front of the tank

That time saved for students like Emma is now spent studying. And the students are also healthier now that they drink from a safe source of water.

"Before the installation of the facilities, I used to register more than 50 pupils absent from school because of stomachaches. This was due to dirty water from the springs, but am glad and very appreciative to say that the number of absenteeism has reduced to 15," Headteacher John Angaya reported.

During the dry season, the tank has so much water stored that it is also used to irrigate the school farm. Mr. Angaya proudly said the past year he harvested vegetables and this helped him attract teachers to the school by providing them with lunch. In doing so, the teachers have displayed a renewed commitment to supporting the students' studying periods, thus improving their academics.

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.

Mr. John Angaya

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 Shiyunzu Primary School is changing many lives.

The school's sanitation and hygiene have greatly improved and this is seen just as you enter the school compound. The classes and the latrines are very clean. Emma said she now wears white socks each day to school since she no longer has to worry about dust in the classrooms soiling her socks. And Mr. Angaya noted that fewer students are coughing during the day - a likely result of less dust inhaled each day.

The pupils are also happily washing their hands using the handwashing stations which were delivered to the school along with the new latrines. These improvements are due to the tank and new facilities which were implemented in the school last year.

Emma Ayesa, field officer Jemmimah Khasoha, and Headteacher John Angaya

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 Shiyunzu 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 Shiyunzu 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.


Project Sponsor - Sean, Renee, Sutton and Collins