Project Overview

Clean Water for Schools is a five-year programme carried out by our partners WaterAid UK. This programme addresses the urgent need to improve poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions common to many schools in sub-Saharan Africa. With the help of Project Waterfall funding from 2017, our delivery partner WaterAid has provided 120,000 children attending 170 schools throughout Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda with access to safe water,toilets and hygiene education.


Project Stats

Start date: 2017

Status: Completed 2017

Community: 170 schools across Kenya, Uganda & Ethiopia

People reached: 2,462

Delivery Partner: WaterAid

Children could gain up to 443 million school days through safe water and sanitation facilities, and reduced illness

IMG_7406 - Degan Secondary School Kalu District Ethiopia (Credit Jessica Jabbour).JPG

education for girls

Equally important is the construction and/or rehabilitation of safe, clean and private school toilets at all 20 schools, which will include urinals for boys and private washing rooms for girls. The lack of safe, clean and separate toilet facilities in schools in one of the prime reasons many young girls miss school. In many schools boys and girls share toilet facilities which often lack doors needed for privacy. This is a prime concern as many girls chose to miss school once a month due to menstruation.

Health Club Fort Portal.JPG

More time to learn

Without access to clean water in schools, children will often spend 1-2 hours of each school day walking to collect water, which is often unsafe to drink. Access to a clean water source in schools means children can spend more time focusing on education, and improved hygiene leads to less disease, increased attendance and increased performance. Combined, this leads to economic growth and a brighter future for whole communities.


Local Knowledge

To help ensure our initiatives offered the most appropriate responses, we partnered with eight locally-based organisations. Their knowledge of the specific communities and their respect and reputation within those communities gave us powerful allies in getting the projects going and in the effort to change behaviours and assure lasting impacts after we’ve completed the physical side of our projects.

How we did this

For children and teachers who often arrive at school already with some level of dehydration, simply having readily accessible and clean water to drink throughout the school day can have a very positive effect on learning. The aim of this project was to rectify this issue through through installation of necessary infrastructure, such as ;

  • We built pipeline extensions to the existing municipal water lines and installed water storage tanks to ensure a constant and adequate water supply. Three of these water lines and storage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and two in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • To take advantage of the rainy season in Uganda, rainwater harvesting tanks were the answer at many of the schools. Similar rainwater harvesting facilities were installed at all three rural Kenyan schools and one in Kalu, Ethiopia.

  • For the three schools based in Woliso, Ethiopia, we were able to drill boreholes and build wells fitted with hand pumps. In Alelalo village in Kalu, Ethiopia, where a natural spring was located near the school, we built a 1.2km pipe line extension to bring the spring water to the school. The piping connects the water supply to the shower room,

    the handwashing facilities and to the water tap stand.

“Now that we have two new rain water harvesting tanks, life at school is easy because we no longer have to miss classes or risk crossing the main road to collect water from the community borehole.
— Kengaaju Shakila, 14

Sustainability and education

In many cultures menstruation is a taboo subject and has negative connotations attached to traditional beliefs. The resulting stigma affects women’s self esteem and ability to participate in society. The School Health Clubs that were established as part of the programme are playing a critical role in breaking the silence and promoting open discussion of menstrual hygiene, replacing the shame of menstruation with pride and confidence. In this project we aimed to normalise this subject so the benefits of the project could be accessed by girls in education too.

For the most effective use of available water, earlier this year, as part of the programme, we installed a 10,000L tank which allows the school to store up water in the evenings and during the weekends and use it during the day when the water grid runs dry. This assures the community a fallback reserve of water in the case of a drought.

the future

Ensuring children in the developing world have access to a safe education is one of Project Waterfall’s top priorities and we look forward to continuing our work with rural communities to provide a bright future for children in education.

WaterAid - Uganda - Rwentuuha Primary School (10).jpg