Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Program: Kenyan Rainwater Harvesting

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/10/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile


Background Information

Mahiakalo Primary school is located about 1.5 km away from Kakamega town, Kakamega County head quarters along Kakamega - Webuye road. The school is situated within Kakamega Central Sub-county, Municipality Division, Bukhungu location, Mahiakalo sub-Location in Mahiakalo village.

The Mill Hill Catholic Missionaries started Mahiakalo Primary School in the year 1954 as a primary school. The school has a total population of 1522 pupils; 800 boys and 722 girls in primary level while those in early childhood Education (ECD) are 182 pupils of which 97 are boys and 75 are girls. The school has 38 teachers of which 33 are TSC, 5 PTA teachers and 5 support staffs. The School has a Special unit of a total population of 68 pupils with mental and physical disability. Out of these, 5 are visited at home by the schoolteachers.

(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 has no reliable source of safe water as there is a borehole which is not in use at the moment since installation of the pump has not been done by the contractor. Piped water from Lake Victoria North Water services is available in the school, although it is not consistently supplied. (At best once a week water is flowing) A plastic tank of 5000 litres in capacity donated by Catholic Church does not have the ability to collect rain water as it has no gathers, so it does not harvest any water during the rainy season. With all this in mind, the school has no sufficient water to serve a population of 1560 for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. A newly constructed tank of 30,000 litres will sufficiently supply water to the children while at school, as the rains are plentiful and frequent in Western Kenya.

The pupils therefore, waste a lot of their precious time in search of safe water when the available sources are not reliable or available.

"We are really appealing for help from development partners and the government to help us construct an EcoSan latrine," he said. The teachers on the other have 5 doors of pit latrines that are in poor condition and almost full.The sanitation situation in the school is also in need of an upgrade, as the school has a total of 18 doors, 9 for girls, 9 doors for boys and one urinal pit for boys, which is in a very poor state. The headmaster Mr. Alfred Otieno admitted that the latrines get filled up faster since they cannot sink the pits deep enough since the soil is loose. Recently, one double door VIP latrine sunk due to the loose soils. Please refer to the pictures for reference.  The School has been seeking the assistance of the CDF offices and Ministry of Health with no success.

Due to high population in the school, the hygiene practices are very poor as there is only one hand washing facility in the school serving 1560 pupils and teachers. The compost pit in the school is almost full. Though the school has  a health club which is sensitizing the pupils on matter of hygiene practices -e.g hand washing the pupils cannot wash their hands effectively  due to lack of adequate hand washing facilities.

Some of the infrastructures within the school on the other hand, are also overstretched as each class has three classrooms composing of 68 pupils per room. The Head teacher stated the school has been cutting down on the number of admissions due to lack of facilities. This general situation cannot give learners a conducive environment for learning therefore it poor academic performance.

The school management committee, staff, pupils and the community at large are appealing to TWP and other development partners to support them in any way possible in addressing the water and sanitation problems.

Mobilization process of the community

After the baseline information was conducted in and around Mahiakalo Primary School by the WASH team, it was evident that the schools lacked safe water. Sanitation in most of the schools on the other hand was also a challenge. Therefore there was urgent need  to help the schools so that the pupils can access safe drinking water and better sanitation facilities.

The mobilization process was then conducted in the project area and in attendance were the community members including parents, school board of management, local administration and WEWASAFO staff. During the mobilization process, PRA representatives were selected. Material mobilization was conducted and local materials required for construction in terms of sand, ballast, hard core, and locally made bricks were collected.  Allowing community members to contribute a small amount of materials allows for community buy-in, ownership of the projects and helps ensure sustainability and care of water point by community members.

The Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) process

The process was conducted with an aim of ensuring that the resource people had relevant skills of appraising the projects in the community. This is in terms of good leadership,  participatory monitoring and evaluation. Mapping of the community resources was done to assist the community members identify the locally available resources within their community and contribute the same towards the project.The school and community calendar was also done in order to effectively plan for the project implementation.

Ground breaking

The construction of RWHT in Mahiakalo began on the 1st week of June, 2015 with the Ground breaking Ceremony by the Minister for Gender, youth, sports and social servises (Kakamega County) Retired Major. Sumba. The parents, teachers, pupils, local adminisration and the member of County assembly participated

Progress of the construction work  June 2 2015 (tank, Ecosan Latrine)

The foundation has already been laid, BRC set and the construction work is going on well without any problem. Regarding the Ecosan latrine, foundation has been laid and construction for the same is ongoing. Construction of the tank is at 20% completion stage while the construction for the Ecosan toilet is at 15%.

June 6 2015

The foundation has already been laid, BRC set and the construction work is going on well without any problem. Regarding the Ecosan latrine, foundation has been laid and construction for the same is ongoing.

Construction of the tank is at 75% completion stage while the construction for the Ecosan toilet is at 35%.

June 15 2015

The EcoSan latrine construction at Mahiakalo primary school is at 90 % progress stage of construction.

June 25 2015

The construction for both the Ecosan and the tank are now complete.

Challenges: Painting of the latrines was stalled due to much rainfall

Implementation of the WASH trainings

The school health and hygiene training has been conducted in Mahiakalo Primary using the Child to Child (CTC) and Children Health and sanitation training (CHAST) methodologies.The concept of community led total sanitation was also introduced.

Training on operation and maintenance of the ferro cement water tank and VIP was also done.

The main objective of the school health trainings was to equip the participants with relevant skills on establishment of Child to Child health and hygiene clubs in schools. These clubs will be charged with responsibility of promoting good health and hygiene practices in the school and entire community.

A  total number 15 people attended, with representation of the deputy head teacher and his 3 teachers (2 female and 1 male) 2 school management committee representatives, 6 pupils (3boys and 3 girls) and 3 WASH staff.

Participants included a school head, school management committee representatives, teachers in charge of school health, hygiene and water and pupils representing the child health clubs and WASH staff. They received skills on establishment of Child-to-Child health and hygiene clubs in schools using CTC, CLTS and CHAST approaches

The EcoSan sensitization training was conducted at Mahiakalo This was done with an objective of equipping the committees with skills on setting up of the EcoSan latrine and also received relevant skills on management and maintenance.

After trainings the committees are to establish proper structures of management and maintenance of the water points by conserving the environment and contribute funds monthly for maintenance. The committee was urged to raise funds for spring maintenance and registration with the Ministry of Social services.

Stay tuned, as we will have completion photos coming soon for you to see. Thank you for all your support!!

We're just getting started, check back soon!

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!