Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2024

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

It’s a Monday morning as the sun shines through the trees. At exactly 7 am, pupils start streaming through the gate in groups of three and five while others come alone. They are seen carrying their school bags on their backs with small water containers in their hands. As they enter the school gate, the school prefect checks them to ensure that they all have enough water. The prefect then allows them to take their water to the kitchen. Those who have no water are made to pick up rubbish as a punishment.

There are 1,901 students enrolled at Mumias Central. They are taught by 68 teachers and supported by 13 staff members. (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 school would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

This school was started in 1988 to provide a schooling option for the children of Mumias Sugar Company employees. The sugar factory built all of the infrastructure and then handed it over to the government.

Most people within this community are still sugarcane farmers who earn a living by selling sugarcane to the factory.

Water Situation

The school has two plastic water tanks of 1,200 liters each, which are not sufficient to serve such a massive population. Water is such a precious commodity within this school, and no one takes the task of fetching water lightly. The prefect knows that if a student doesn't bring their required water, the school won't have enough water to stay in session.

During the rainy season the pupils use 20-liter containers to fetch water directly from the storage tanks for cleaning and washing.
When they're thirsty, they bring their drinking cups to the tank.

During the dry season, students are required to carry containers of water from home. The school must also hire water tankers that cost 6,000 shillings each, which are emptied into the plastic water tanks. Between these two sources, the school barely gets by.

The school spends 6,000 Kenyan shillings for one tanker each week that it doesn't rain. This amounts to 24,000 shillings per month and a 72,000 shillings average per term (or about $700 USD) just to get enough water. This amount of money could have otherwise been used to improve the old infrastructure. When pupils are asked to come with a daily water supply, they often arrive late for morning preps - and this has affected their overall performance. At times students are sent out to get more water from nearby sources with poor water quality, and cases of diarrhea, headaches and stomachaches are not uncommon.

"My name is Mr. Francis Omwamu. I am the headteacher of Mumias Central Primary School. My greatest challenge has been to get safe and clean water for this great population of 1901 pupils. We've spent a lot of money that would otherwise have improved our school infrastructure. On many occasions we send pupils to get water from homes as they come, and at times we are not sure about the quality."

Sanitation Situation

There are 12 fully functional pit latrines for these 1,901 students. There are another eight that are falling apart and almost full though still being used by students. There are no hand-washing stations here, though there is a dish rack near the kitchen for the students to dry their drinking cups.

Though all of these facilities are heavily overused, they school does their best to keep them clean.

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: 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. The school will no longer have to rely on the small amounts of (often contaminated) water carried by students, nor will they have to spend so much to have water delivered by tankers.

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

November, 2018: A Year Later: Mumias Central Primary School

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

November, 2017: Mumias Central Primary School Project Complete

Mumias Central 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 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

The day for the training was eagerly awaited by the pupils and even the teachers. The training was scheduled for the afternoons to allow students to attend their most important morning classes. Pupils, teachers in charge if sanitation, and the board of management all attended.

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

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.

Students participated in role plays to learn about how to prevent the spread of germs.

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.

Perhaps owing to her confident composure and well-spokenness, 10-year-old Esther Wandabwa's peers refer to her as a future leader. Her words are strong, as is her position on the urgent need to protect the environment. Even at her young age, she has started to write poetry, and though her themes are varied, among them her commitment to environmental hygiene awareness in her school and amongst the village community is dominant. "I have learned a lot about how to keep the environment safe at school. Now, whenever I meet a child who doesn’t take care of the environment, I feel sorry for him and I try and tell him ways to change his habits," she shared. And because of the close-knit nature of the communities in Mumias Town, the impact of this school project has been  profound.

Esther Wandabwa

The program has taken a holistic, participatory approach that goes a long way in explaining its success. The teachers received training on how to effectively deliver messages relating to the environment, sanitation and hygiene to their pupils, both within the context of the subjects they teach and beyond. The teachers who received training then went out to involve other members of school staff by informing them on how to implement these important messages as well.

One such trained teacher is John. "I agreed to be a teacher in charge of sanitation as I love a clean environment. I am not paid for this extra task; however, my desire is to see the pupils change their hygiene behaviors and improve their health. This is my commitment," he exclaimed.

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 the 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 even helped our artisans with their manual labor. The students themselves were particularly helpful, sacrificing their break time to run and fetch water needed to mix cement. They also moved bricks to the latrine construction site.

Happy to help!

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.

Excavation begins

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.

Almost done!

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 Mumias Central Primary School. It already has some water in it!

It was a Friday at 9am when the school community of Mumias saw water flowing form the tap for the first time. They couldn't hide their joy as water flowed. Song and dance broke out. The school administration, board of management, pupils and even the area chief came to witness this.

Headteacher Mr. Francis Okwamu said, "Firstly, I am grateful to you for considering this school. This population demanded for water that was not available. In the past, learners wasted time going to the river. We have really suffered wasting a lot of money to buy water. We are happy that our pupils will no longer go to fetch water at the stream. The school has started a boarding section, and with water now on the compound the boarders will have time to study and hygiene standards shall be maintained."

August, 2017: Mumias Central Primary School Project Underway

Mumias Central 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.

Thank You for your care and generosity that unlocks potential at Mumias Central Primary School!

Project Videos

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: Mumias Central Primary School

November, 2018

Students spend less time fetching water and more time studying. As a result, the school had its best performance in the national exams.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mumias Central 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 Mumias Central 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 Karen Maruti with you.

Initially, Mumias Central Primary School wasted a lot of money buying water to meet its needs. But now there is a reliable supply of water on the school grounds. We noticed there was a new building at the school during our recent visit. The administrators said it was constructed as a result of the savings made from no longer purchasing water.

"Many students left the school because the environment was not friendly. Now we have increased the student population from 1,500 students before the project to more than 1,800 today," Headteacher Francis Owamu said during our visit.

Francis Owamu and Field Officer Karen Maruti

The school also looked cleaner and pupils were seen washing their hands after toilet use. In the past, they did not wash their hands because there were no handwashing facilities.

"The school is a much more peaceful environment. There is minimal commotion searching for water. The time saved is being used by the pupils to study. We were the best in the zonal, divisional and national examinations," Mr. Owamu continued.

"And as I stand before these many trophies I am grateful that the project led to improved performance."

These immense changes could only be the result of the the water, sanitation, and hygiene project implemented in the school last year.

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 tank in Mumias Central Primary School is changing many lives.

"Thank you for this clean and safe water! Now we can quench our thirst any time..." 13-year-old student John Barasa.

John Barasa

He also added that classes can now carry out activities, such as lab experiments, now that there is water on the school grounds.

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 Mumias Central 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 Mumias Central 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 - Sipco Bioengineering Inc.