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: 05/01/2024

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

Namalenge Primary School was started as a nursery school in 1985, since the closest nursery school was in the neighboring village about 3.5 kilometers away. That's much too far for little ones to walk! Once the school received enough funds in 1995, they added grades to carry kids through primary school, too.

Now Namalenge Primary School is among those with the highest enrollment in Kakamega County, with about 1,000 students! Grade eight has 100 students squeezed into just one classroom. (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.)

Early in the morning, parents in Namalenge Village wake up early to prepare breakfast for their children. Once the children are off to school, the parents do what they can to earn a living: small scale farming, manual labor, or small businesses such as hawking or using a boda boda (motorbike) to taxi people around.

Water Situation

The school had some plastic tanks donated in the past, but these have a small capacity and only last a short time. To have enough water to get through the day, students have to walk to a nearby community that has a water source. Students carry the largest container they can to this protect spring, ranging from three to 10 liters in size. Since it's a community water source, students have to wait for locals to get their water first. They are then able to hold their small containers under the pipe until full.

Since the school needs water for cleaning, students' drinking, and cooking, it's not unheard of for students to have to travel to the spring for water more than once in a day.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation is a major challenge here. There are only 12 pit latrines for the entire student body: four for the boys and eight for the girls. With a shortage of water, these latrines are not cleaned as needed and are dangerously filthy by the end of the day. There would have been more latrines, but Headteacher Ywaya reports that "12 doors sunk on opening day, lucky enough no one got injured. But my concern is that due to high population of boys, sanitation is an issue because poor sanitation will lead to health problems."

Students don't wash their hands after using the pit latrines, either.

There is only one dish rack for the cook's utensils, but there's nowhere for students to store their own cups or water containers. Some Lifestraw filters were donated to the school, and they've been placed outside of the classrooms, so some of the fetched water is dumped directly in these. The rest of containers are just left out on the ground until they're needed. Even though water from the protected spring is clean, it is likely dirtied on the trip back to school and while it sits open on the ground.

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 be set aside for each gender. 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 have to leave the school whenever water is needed.

We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve - and these higher standards will translate to better academic performance for these students.

Project Updates

December, 2018: A Year Later: Namalenge Primary School

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

Namalenge 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

We informed Headteacher Ywaya of the need for hygiene and sanitation training during our first visit to the school. From there, he recruited student leaders for each class as well as their teachers. Since all of the classrooms were in use, the headteacher planned for desks to be moved outside for the training. There was a total of 21 students there.

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.

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.

Did you know that there are 10 steps to thorough 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. 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.

Talking about management, water treatment, and simple maintenance at the tank.

Teacher Makhalange said, ''I am very grateful and happy to be part of today's training. I have learned a lot on good hygiene practice and I will pass the same to other community members."

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!

Catherine, who is managing this project, shows the artisans how it's done!

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.

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.

This man is digging the soak pit, which helps drain the catchment area of too much water.

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

Farida Mukoya is a grade six student who shared her gratefulness with our team, saying "I am very happy that I will no longer have to carry water from home to school, unlike before. I will be able to access safe and clean water and sanitation facilities!" Teacher James Puba agreed, saying "Now the pupils are able to access clean and safe water for drinking as well as for cleaning purposes! Thank God for the good work you are doing in Kenya."

November, 2017: Namalenge Primary School Project Underway

Namalenge 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: Namalenge Primary School

December, 2018

The school has improved in numerous ways, report our field officers. And that is due to the tank, latrines and handwashing facilities installed here a year ago.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Namalenge 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 Namalenge 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 Jonathan Mutai with you.

The students and staff at Namalenge Primary School are accessing safe, clean water not only for drinking but also for cleaning classrooms, toilets, and washing utensils after lunch. The feeding (lunch) program within the school is now consistent due to the availability of water for cooking. Pupils no longer have to carry water from home every morning to school. And cases of absenteeism in the school have decreased due to fewer cases of waterborne diseases.

All of these improvements are attributed to the construction of the 50,000-liter rainwater tank, six latrine doors, and the two handwashing stations installed at the school a year ago.

"We are very grateful for considering our school for the project. The tank has helped our pupils to clean their classrooms and washrooms. The pupils have reduced time lost going to fetch water from a distant spring for the school," said Headteacher Alex Ywaya.

Headteacher Alex Ywaya posing with Lvenda Adeya and Owen Wanaami at the tank

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 Namalenge Primary School is changing many lives.

"I now have gotten enough time for studies," said 13-year-old student Owen Wanaami.

Lvenda Adeya and Owen Wanaami with field officer Jonathan Mutai

"Before construction of the tank, we used to waste a lot of time on fetching water from the spring."

Owen also noted the fact that students are using the handwashing facilities after going to the bathroom - something he attributes to improved hygiene awareness at the school. Mr. Ywaya echoed his comment and added that the latrines that were constructed are appreciated because students have a safe place to go to the bathroom and no longer wait in long lines.

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 Namalenge 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 Namalenge 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.


Madison Valley Baptist Church
Hebron United Methodist Church
United Way of the Capital Region
David Ballou-In honor of Jeff Dirafo
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Morgan Stanley
In Memory of Nicholas Scarangella
In Memory of Clif Connor
22 individual donor(s)