Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/10/2024

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

Back before 1997, children living in Emusonga used to have to walk long distances to attend school. Community members were spurred to open a school in their own village because this long journey was so dangerous for their young children. When news of a little local girl's harassment and violation reached community members' ears, they could stomach it no longer. They began with just two rooms lent out by an Indian man for a small fee. This later became the community's property, and Chief Mutsembi Primary officially opened in 1997 with an enrollment of 10 students.

The school currently has a population of 531 primary pupils and 65 early childhood education pupils both. It employs 20 teaching staff and three support staff.

A normal day in this school is unique when compared to other schools in this county. Students report to school very early in the morning at 6am, when pupils sit for study hall. Before starting normal classes, they leave school again to fetch water from a spring in order to clean their classrooms. The lessons begin exactly at 8am and go until lunch. Students leave to eat lunch with their families and then return by 2pm for afternoon lessons until 3:45. They are required to stay for games until dismissal.

Water Situation

Kakamega County Water connected Chief Mutsembe to their piped water system, but it hasn't worked since the start. The school has reported this issue to the company, but absolutely nothing has been done to help.

That's why students have to walk to the spring to fetch water. This spring has been protected by the community, but our staff noted that some repairs need to be made to ensure the water remains safe for drinking. There are cracks in the walls and floors that need to be patched with concrete. Students often miss school because of bad stomachaches and diarrhea.

Both the community and school rely on this spring. After speaking with community leadership and neighboring families, we've decided that it's best to have a separate water source for the school to use. This will keep these 531 students within the school compound, and alleviate the strain on this community water source. The community looks forward to taking full ownership of this spring, and we've encouraged them to repair the cracks in order to prevent contamination.

Sanitation Situation

Chief Mutsembi Primary School only has five doors of VIP latrines, three doors for boys and two doors for girls. All of these are not in good condition; two of these latrines are almost full, but pupils are still using them!

They have 10 ecosan latrines which they refuse to use because of the culture's view of waste. The waste in these latrines would need recycling, but there isn't a soul who would even consider this job. These latrines were constructed by a company known as OPEC, but their efforts were in vain. The latrines just sit there and have been vandalized.

There aren't even any hand-washing stations for students after they use the latrine. Headteacher Joseph Aruba said, "Sanitation in this school has been an issue, but God has answered our prayers by bringing WEWASAFO in our institution."

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: Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will be constructed on school grounds. Teachers, students, and parents will gather the materials needed for this project, including sand, ballast, bricks, and hardcore. This contribution will fuel a sense of responsibility for the school and community to take care of their new facilities. Once materials are mobilized, the WEWASAFO team will arrive to lead the construction effort.

With adequate clean water, the school will have water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and hand-washing.

Plans: VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed, providing three new latrines for each gender. Latrine materials will be mobilized the same way as the tank, ensuring the school feels these facilities are truly theirs. And with a rainwater catchment tank nearby, there will be enough water to keep them clean.

School administration and parents are positive that with these new facilities and training, their students’ academic performance will improve. Students will be healthy and empowered to focus on what’s important!

Project Updates

July, 2019: New Latrines at Chief Mutsembe Primary School

We are excited to share that Chief Mutsembe Primary School now has more latrines to meet the growing population of students at their school!

The newest latrines were constructed for boys and the previous ones we constructed have been left for girls. This is because the previous latrine blocks were close to each other and the school management saw it wise to move the boys' latrines further away from the girls' latrines.

Handwashing stations were also delivered to Chief Mutsembe so that the boys have a convenient place to clean up after using the latrines.

These latrines were previously planned for Green Mount Primary School, but over the course of our visits we found that Green Mount was already undertaking a latrine project of their own. This discovery allowed us to move the sanitation portion of the project to where it was most needed: Chief Mutsembe Primary School. We could install these latrines thanks to your generosity, the transparency of the teams we work with, and the cooperation of both school administrations. Thank you!

October, 2018: A Year Later: Chief Mutsembe Primary School

A year ago, generous donors helped install a rainwater catchment tank for Chief Mutsembe Primary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow 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...

August, 2017: Chief Mutsembe Primary School Project Complete

Chief Mutsembe 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 the entire student body has 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 organized in conjunction with the headteacher. When he received the news about two days of training, he was very excited to invite teachers, students, and board members to attend. He also selected the dates that would work best for all involved, and arranged for a classroom to be available.

Attendance and participation were encouraging, given the fact that these students and teachers will form a club to promote good hygiene and sanitation on campus.

4 kenya4828 training

Participants pose for a group pictures after 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

We used a number of different ways to teach the above topics, while demonstrations were used for hand-washing and tooth-brushing. 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.

3 kenya4828 training

The trainer pours water as a student tries to recall all 10 steps of hand-washing.

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.

Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

The two hand-washing stations were delivered to school and handed over to the CTC club. They will teach other students how to properly wash their hands at these stations, and will make sure there is always soap or ash available. Members of the club also asked us how to improvise some more hand-washing stations of their own so that more students have the opportunity to wash their hands. Now the school has the stations they need, and they have the water to fill them!

10 kenya4828 hand-washing stations

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!

The only challenge to this process was the weather - it rained heavily immediately after the two new latrine pits were dug. As they filled up with water, the sides broke away and the hole collapsed. There was no choice but to dig new ones!

13-year-old Vallary Ankoso told us, "We have really suffered in this school because we are not having enough facilities. Concentrating on our studies has become a big challenge to us pupils, especially girls. There is no privacy in sharing the two [latrine] doors with teachers... We are really happy and appreciate so much for the support, because this is going to help us!"

11 kenya4828 new latrines

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.

5 kenya4828 cement work

Mixing cement

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.

6 kenya4828 clearing for foundation

Leveling the ground to make room for a stone, wire mesh and concrete foundation.

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.

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 Chief Mutsembe Primary School. It already has some water in it!

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: Chief Mutsembe Primary School

October, 2018

“Construction of the water tank greatly contributed to accessing clean and safe water for the school’s community.” – Doreen Muchalwa

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chief Mutsembe 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, generous donors helped install a rainwater catchment tank for Chief Mutsembe Primary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow 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 Mary Afandi with you.

The pupils at Chief Mutsembi Primary School used to carry water from their homes to school every morning. The water was used for cooking and cleaning at the school. After the completion of the water project, the school now has access to safe, quality water. This saves the children valuable time and energy, enabling them to concentrate on their studies.

"Construction of the water tank greatly contributed to accessing clean and safe water for the school’s community. The classes are clean because there is enough water in the tank," Doreen Muchalwa, the teacher in charge of sanitation, said.

Initially, the school did not have enough latrines. Most of the latrines were in poor conditions and posed a health hazard to the students. In addition, the toilets were not enough for the school community. Some of the toilets had even collapsed during the rainy season.

The new latrines constructed during the project are safe, clean, and stable. The handwashing facilities make it possible for students to wash their hands after visiting the toilets. The school has been transformed over the past year.

"The toilets have reduced congestion when the pupils want to use them," Ms. Muchalwa said.

"The handwashing facilities have assisted the pupils to wash their hands after visiting the toilets. The pupils now have sufficient time for their academic programs."

Installation 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 Chief Mutsembe Primary School is changing many lives.

"Absenteeism among the pupils has greatly reduced as compared to previous years," 13-year-old student Chatex Kavere said.

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 Chief Mutsembe 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 Chief Mutsembe 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 - Imago Dei Community
1 individual donor(s)