Water and wealth for schools
1 location in Kenya
Focus: Rainwater Harvesting; Capacity Building
Implementation dates: November 11, 2013 to June 30, 2014
Planned impact: 2,160 people
Status: Approved - Needs Funding
$19,842 estimated project cost
$17,042 requested
$0 funded to date
Peer Review Average Score: 6.86
7 reviews submitted
7 discussion participants


Clean water to drink and abundant water to grow food can change the lives of the impoverished poor in the Kisii, Kenya region. By capturing the rain, schools can provide clean water, a nutritious feeding program for children and income for parents.


Kisii is located in the densely populated region of southwest Kenya. Land has been subdivided so often that there's not enough available for the poor to farm. Children lack nutritious food and are susceptible to water borne diseases and malnutrition. Yet most schools have large plots of land that sit idle. By making school property available to self help groups within the school community, businesses can be created and profits can be shared enabling schools to provide clean water and create a nutritious feeding program for their students. All that we need to do is capture the rain.


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Water and wealth for schools

multiple schools, Kenya



Primary focus:
Rainwater Harvesting
Secondary focus:
Capacity Building

People Getting Safe Drinking Water


Teachers and administrative personnel at 4 schools

People Getting Sanitation


These schools are training sites for 36 other schools that are participants in SCOPE's Economically Sustainable Schools Program. The four schools will be the site of workshops to train trainers on WASH, tree nurseries, tree farming, high yield vegetable farming and animal husbandry. The development of income producing projects and health related seminars will impact 2,000 children women and families within the four school communities.

Schoolchildren Getting Water


People Getting Other Benefits

A group of 10 unemployed youth are being trained to install rainwater harvesting and storage systems.

Four people will be trained to be part of a 'circuit rider' team to monitor, train, and repair this and other projects to enhance project sustainability.


Application type:
Start date:
November 11, 2013
Completion date:
June 30, 2014

Technology Used

SCOPE (School Communities Offering Projects that Empower) and the Kisii Rotary club are the implementing organizations for the Economically Sustainable Schools program. SCOPE has a field agent assigned to each of the four schools participating in the project. A group of youth, ages 19 to 35, from one of the school communities (Gesure Primary) are being trained by AQUA CLARA, a partner organization also doing RWH projects, on how to install rain water harvesting systems. They will be supervised by the SCOPE field agent and a water engineer from the Kenya Water Resource Management Authority. The installation will include high quality gutters, brackets, and water storage tanks. There will be a first flush system and screening to prevent debris from entering the tank(s). The water will be treated by either chemical means or bio sand filters. Overflow from the heavy rains will be directed to an open storage area, a fish farming pond, and spigots will be erected in the vicinity of agriculture projects. The installation will be a model for other schools to replicate. I've been involved with rain harvesting and other water projects for Rotary in Uganda and Kenya. The RWH systems will be similar at each school. The many problems I've observed in failed RWH systems have been the result of the use of low quality materials, faulty installation, and lack of knowledge on how to repair broken systems. Training youth to start a RWH company and having skilled people as part of a circuit rider team will insure sustainability. Furthermore, SCOPE has assisted communities in establishing a 15 member leadership team representing widows, orphans, disabled and other community segments. SCOPE field agents will assist the leadership teams in resolving any problems that are encountered.


Phase one: installation of gutters and storage, water treatment, and hand washing stations with soap.
Phase two: installation of distribution system to fish farm, greenhouse, and agriculture projects.

Community Organization

SCOPE began assisting school communities to empower themselves two years ago. Leadership teams were formed and asked to create and prioritize their most urgent needs. They then created a plan to address their needs using local resources and identifying areas where they needed help. They have begun forming self help groups and registering with the government. SCOPE has partnered with Equity Bank to provide training on business development and micro finance. Income generating projects have begun. The communities realize that increasing the quantity and quality of water is essential for economic sustainability and improved health.

Government Interaction

SCOPE is partnering with government entities provide training, advice and. in some cases, material support for projects. For example, the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute is sending their scientist to train communities at SCOPE workshops on how to increase their crop yields and protect their animals. Ministry of Water personnel have assisted by surveying schools to determine water storage needs, identifying the amount of guttering needed to create adequate storage, and will monitor the construction of water projects. Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation is training Community Health Workers appointed by school communities.

Ancillary Activities

Water harvesting and storage is part of a larger 3 year community and school development plan. Students are benefitting by working with teachers and parents to create high yield gardens and assuming responsibility for caring for the animals. They are learning how to be entrepreneurs as they tend to their own garden and cell in the market to earn money. Many of the curriculum skills can be taught in a practical way, something missing in the lecture driven method of teaching and learning. Parents and community members are forming self help groups and doing income generating projects on school grounds. Schools will be planting a minimum of 500 trees annually thereby improving the environment and creating a sustainable source of income as the trees are harvested when mature. 50-75 banana trees planted as part of tree farming will provide food for the students and income for the schools. Calliandra trees will provide wood for fires, leaves for feeding animals and nutrients for the soil.

Other Issues

Kenya schools are given a small sum per child by the government. The amount isn't close to what's needed to operate a school so head teachers/principals depend on well wishers, fund raisers and appeals to parents most of whom are living in extreme poverty. By using idle land, schools can benefit the community and create a steady flow of income to be used on projects that benefit the children. The plan will only work if clean water is available for children to drink and sufficient water is available for projects.


Maintenance Revenue

Long term sustainability is inherent in the way the community has organized to implement the sustainable school plan. The leadership team will have a WASH committee and community health worker to oversee water and health initiatives. SCOPE will have a representative visiting the schools monthly. The 'circuit rider team will make quarterly visits to check on water and other projects. They will also be available for repairs that are beyond the capability of the school to handle

Maintenance Cost



% of project completion at each school

Quarterly visit evaluation by circuit rider team
School attendance figures
Identification of diseases causing absences
Number of children fed




Project Cost:

Storage tanks (8 10,000 ltr) $6,305
Gutter components (80meters per school) 2,823
Base construction (8) 470
Screws, taps, pipes 90
Tools 400
Transportation of materials 1880
Labor (supervisor + 3 workers x 3 days/sch) 620
Water Engineer (Site plans and transport) 352
Water treatment dispensers (4) 800
Hand washing stations and soap(16) 320
WASH and soap workshops 4,000
Maintenance fund 1,782

Total Cost $19,842



Arvada Sunrise Rotary

Community Contribution


Site preparation, sand and stones for storage tank bases, non skilled labor and Kisii Rotary Clubs project oversight

Funds Requested



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Specifics on the RWH Systems to be Built?
It would be helpful for reviewers if you could supply more information on the design and construction of the RWH systems anticipated for each school system. Can all components of these systems be produced in Kenya and if not, what needs to be imported?

There will certainly be more questions, but these can start the dialogue.
Best regards,
Posted by Michael Williamson, Bank-On-Rain, on August 21, 2013 at 9:04pm
The RWH design will vary from school to school. We are being assisted in the design phase by government water engineer and are seeking additional help from engineers abroad. During phase one, where the objective is to provide clean water to students, the designs call for sufficient gutter and storage space for student needs and additional gutter and storage capacity to begin agriculture projects. Phase two will greatly expand the storage capacity by using overflow to create fish farm and a distribution system that would bring water closer to the school communities agriculture projects, all of which are on school grounds. Materials required are readily available in Kenya. The main distributor of the materials, Doshi Hardware Group, has offered to assist in the project by providing discounted prices and transparent accountability for all purchases.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 2, 2013 at 11:53am Submitter Comment
Sustainability / Metrics
You have mentioned the Leadership Team will also have a WASH Committee. Is the WASH Committee already in existence, or will the leadership team need to establish these WASH Committees?

Your circuit rider team will be responsible for repairs, it appears. Will the school be responsible for payment of the repairs or SCOPE? If the school, then how will they fund the necessary maintenance?

You mention metrics to be measured to include school attendance and identification of diseases causing absences, as well as children being fed.
How will SCOPE monitor this, collect the data, and measure the impact the program is having?

I look forward to your response
Posted by Paul Kaufman, Aqua Clara International, on August 26, 2013 at 6:25pm
Thank you for the questions Paul and I look forward to working with Aqua Clara to help develop some of the answers. I am a strong believer in working with the government and other non profit organizations. Although we have school community leadership teams established, we do not have WASH committees at the schools that do not have a source of clean water. Part of our plan is to initiate WASH training workshops fpr the school and community, establish school fitness and health clubs, and train the Community Health Workers that each leadership team has appointed to collect data on hygiene and sanitation at the household as well as school level.

The circuit rider concept is being used extensively in the US and by some Kenyan government Water Boards. The track record for depending on communities to shoulder the responsibility of collection of funds for maintenance an repair of water systems is often ineffective. Creating circuit rider teams to do inspections and repairs will provide a clear line of communication for schools and communities to rely on when help is needed.We know that communities often delay repairs and rely on old methods of obtaining what is often contaminated water. Funding for circuit rider teams can be handled in various ways. A surcharge (10 % ?) could be charged on water projects. I believe that it would be a good investment for insuring long term sustainability of projects. School communities would be responsible for paying for circuit rider services by having a water committee collecting money and/or using profits from projects established on school grounds to create a maintenance fund. The circuit rider concept is a work in progress and I would welcome any suggestions.

We are planning to use attendance figures maintained by the schools and data collected by the Community Health Workers to track progress. The metric developed by PWX should prove helpful in presenting information. SCOPE, the implementing organization for the project, is relatively new (3 years old) and is learning about effective ways of tracking progress from other organizations. We don't believe in reinventing the wheel and welcome suggestions from more experienced organizations.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 2, 2013 at 11:53am Submitter Comment
Funding Source Concern
Is there any relationship between this request to Blue Planet via PWX and a possible similar request through Rotary International's Water and Sanitation Action Group (WASRAG) and the Start With Water web site? Is each data base accessible to both organizations in order to maximize the impact of Rotary volunteers on worthwhile projects such as this one? If not, what needs to be done to insure collaboration?
Posted by Roger Kallock, Team Blue, on August 28, 2013 at 5:09pm
Thank you for the question and information. I was not aware of the Start with Water web site and will do some research on the possibility of collaboration. More later.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 2, 2013 at 11:52am Submitter Comment
Q uestion
Are you training children , will this is part of their curriculum, will children will be working in agricultural related programme or their parents?.

What is the role of teachers in this, Have similar project examples are there?
Why school? Is not the community own the land?.
Posted by Varalakshmi VS, Aa Foundation for Community Development, on September 2, 2013 at 5:17am
Thank you for your comments. Schools were chosen for school community development for several reasons.
They are a center for learning and a location where families of different economic strata and religious beliefs gather. We start by providing books and assisting schools to create libraries. The libraries facilitate learning and often serve as the location for community meetings. The Kisii highlands are densely populated and the poor of little land for farming. Most government schools, however, have 3 to 7 acres of land, most of which is idle, particularly around the perimeter of the schools. Our plan is to use this idle land for growing trees, for lumber, food (banana trees primarily) and multi purpose trees such as the calliandra and moringa. There would also be a school farm and plots for student groups, such as girls needing to raise money to purchase sanitary pads. Students groups are taught high yield organic farming and teachers are encouraged to use the gardens for practical demonstrations on curriculum subjects ranging from measurement, math, science experiments, etc. Care and maintenance of projects are handled in different ways. Some school community leadership teams have decided to hire community members to run the projects and assist students and teachers. Other leadership teams have turned the projects over to self help groups that share profits with the school. The decisions on how to manage projects rest in the hands of the school community leadership teams and the head teachers. The closest similar example to what we are doing, and the inspiration for the project, is the 'Teach A Man to Fish' effort to make schools economically sustainable.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 2, 2013 at 11:54am Submitter Comment
What age group children and grade the school has, your programme is ideal for agricultural students who are above metric level, how school administration will be involves in financial matters? what are existing teaching curriculum in the school? the land can be used for agricultural purpose by the community ,still not clear about school's role, Do children have to work in farming activiites?.Do your state permit this kind of activities in school premises by an NGO?
Do you have example of similar project run in your area??
Posted by Varalakshmi VS, Aa Foundation for Community Development, on September 15, 2013 at 4:25am
Hello Varalakshmi VS,
1) SCOPE is working with primary (pre-school through grade 8) student from poor rural communities. The curriculum is primarily academic and lecture driven with classes at 50 students to one teacher or above. They are preparing children for non-existent white collar jobs, consequently the unemployment rate for drop outs and graduates is above 50%. What we are providing is an opportunity for teachers to provide hands on experiences for curriculum subjects and practical experiences in entrepreneurship through organic farming, tree farming and animal projects that will provide survival skills needed when jobs are not available. We also hope to demonstrate through community projects and entrepreneurship opportunities that there is no need to move to the slums in Nairobi and other cities to make a life for themselves and their families. Agriculture is the future not the past.
2) Children participate in the agriculture and animal projects in several ways. The girls that have been provided sanitary towels grow vegetables and earn money to provide for their supplies in subsequent years. Clubs such as the scouts and 4K Club have become involved in
establishing tree nurseries and caring for chickens and rabbits. Children are not required to work on projects except when their teachers use the projects to teach the curriculum.
3) The Ministry of Education has given permission for SCOPE to work with schools to create sustainable development models. Sufficient funding is a problem for the government, the schools and the community. We're all vested in making the program a success. But as they say, the devil is in the details The details of cost sharing between community projects run by the community on school grounds needs to be formalized in an MOU. For the time being, we are mainly interested in getting the projects started and insuring that they are successful. I know of no other project where one organization is attempting to establish a replicable model for addressing comprehensive school and community needs in multiple locations.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 15, 2013 at 5:26am Submitter Comment
I am clear that children will be only taught not involved in agricultural activity.The MOU with community and school authorities to be clear on this aspect also.
Apart from this how far the child rights international amendments functioning in Nairobi, what kind of childlabourers are common, who attains higher education in the community( what kind of divisions exists in your society?)
what kind of plan,action,implementation regarding child rights is taking place in your country.(please provide link if information is already exists).

thou the above questions are not directly linked to the RWH/ toilets I would like to know,because we might have good projects techniques to save water and functioning toilets, but increased child laborers through our work doesn't make project success.
even here in India we are opposing the children are used to clean the toilets at school and clean the premises during school hours, if farming takes place in school,naturally children will get involved which happens naturally at home, and developing countries where 80% are Domestic childlabourers.

Making/creating curriculum interesting and demonstrative is happening all over the world to increase and sustain children in school.
The children from 6-years should be school for various child protection issues.

I know how difficult all the above are when it is culturally accepted, My concern to ensure while implementing projects from organisation like us to ensure we meet all the criteria related to human rights.

Posted by Varalakshmi VS, Aa Foundation for Community Development, on September 15, 2013 at 7:00am
Management of income
Hi there

I'm excited to hear more about the Circuit rider group. It seems you've really thought through the management of the maintenance end of it.

I'm not very clear about how the income generating activities will be managed. It sounds like there will be micro-business development training from Equity bank. How are the school projects and the income generating projects connected (if at all)? And who will be responsible for oversight of funds? Will there be an established local organization that will be in charge of all the programs that Rotary is implementing or will there be small local entities managing their own programs? How involved is Rotary in implementation, quality control and what if any, is the exit strategy to handover all the responsibilities to the local groups?

Good luck!

Posted by Gemma Bulos, Global Women's Water Initiative, on September 3, 2013 at 6:53pm
Hi Gemma,
Taking your questions in order:
1) Equity Bank has a Gates Foundation Grant to train ours and other community groups on micro finance and business practices.
2) Responsibility for management of income generating activities at Metamaywa Primary, one of our four training sites for other schools, is being shared by the School Community Leadership Team and the head teacher. Rather than having community self help groups run projects and share profits, they have chosen to create jobs by hiring community members to work on the projects and use profits to reduce charges for student education. Other School Community Leadership Teams (SCLT) are organizing self help groups to run the projects and share profits with the school. Initially, funds will be disbursed through the Kisii Rotary Club and administered by SCOPE.
3) School projects and income generating projects are one in the same. Projects are either in place or being initiated at each of the SCOPE training schools.
4) SCLTs are responsible for project oversight and will report to the SCOPE Board and Kisii Rotary on progress. The metrix provided by PWX will be used to track the initiation and completion of RWH construction and water management committee contributions. SCOPE field agents assigned to the training schools will assist SCLTs in the implementation and reporting process.
5) SCOPE is the established local organization in charge of the programs. The SCLTs will maintain on-site management of the programs.
6) Kisii Rotary Club was formed, in part, to enable Rotary projects to be initiated. Kisii is a remote and difficult area for Rotary Clubs in other areas to access and monitor. To the best of my knowledge, Rotary project I initiated (which PWX supported) that provided water to the Kisii Hospital is the only Rotary project ever done in the Kisii area. Yet, the prevalence of water borne diseases, AIDs, tuberculosis, poverty, poor school performance etc is among the highest in Kenya. Kisii Rotary Club is now in a position to partner with other Rotary Clubs on local projects. SCOPE will be one of the implementing organizations used for on site monitoring. The County Public Health Director, Dr. Geoffrey Otomu, is the past president of the Rotary Club, sits on the Board of SCOPE, and is in a good position to guide both organizations in their development.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 12, 2013 at 11:17pm Submitter Comment
Hi Don,

Am not clear on the distinction (and need for distinction) between SCOPE and ACI.

Both orgs have HQ in USA with field personnel in Kenya doing very similar work (and working closely together too). Both are applying for grants that are similar.

Seems to me there could be more efficiency/synergy gains by some combination of plans, approaches, and fundraising and resources too.

And as, Roger mentioned, with Rotary and WASRAG involved, even more reasons for closing gaps.

I would appreciate if both Don and Paul respond with thoughts and options.

Posted by Georgia Davis, Blue Planet Network, on September 21, 2013 at 5:01am
SCOPE is in the process of establishing model school communities with projects that can be replicated by other school communities in the surrounding areas. We are assisting school communities to address their most pressing needs and share their solutions with their neighbors. Our work includes creating libraries, teaching literacy, providing entrepreneurial opportunities for students, organizing self help groups and providing training in micro finance and business planning, giving workshops with government partners on ways to prevent diseases and improve crop production and the list goes on. In other words, we are involved in total community and school development based on the needs identified by the community. We work with fifty-four from the border of Tanzania to Nymira County to the North and from Lake Victoria to Trans Mara from West to East. I agree with your suggestion that Aqua Clara and SCOPE have areas where our missions intersect (for example, rain water harvesting, creating businesses, improving health) and we will be meeting in Kenya in November to explore opportunities to collaborate. The needs in Kenya's rural areas are incredible and collaboration with Aqua Clara and other organizations allows us all to have a greater impact in our quest to help the people we serve. As far as working together in the US, I believe you'd find that we are very different organizations. SCOPE is a fledgling all volunteer organization supported by friends, family and Rotary Clubs. We have limited funding with ambitious goals that will come to fruition as we prove the viability of Economically Sustainable Schools. Aqua Clara is a more established organization with it's primary focus on providing clean water. We can and will work together, but as separate organizations.
Posted by Don Howard, Rotary District 5450, on September 25, 2013 at 4:40pm Submitter Comment


The project needs more clarity and preparation.
The community need is there,plan to be well thought off.
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Pros: Working through the schools is an excellent way to see changes in communities, and clean water is a catalyst for success in the classroom. Supporting unemployed youth, providing jobs, agriculture initiatives and nutrition are fantastic additions to the curriculum in rural schools in Kenya.

Cons: A very comprehensive program covering many areas is often times more difficult to implement as the need to accomplish all goals overrides the need for excellence, thus producing a mediocre result. I hope all of the areas mentioned will be accomplished as desired.

Overall a good project with many facets that can do a lot of good for the youth in Kenya. I would recommend funding the project.

P.S. Aqua Clara does not have an official partnership with SCOPE, but rather is subcontracted to provide Rain Water Harvesting installation and training.
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Very complex and ambitious program, potential to reach many but organizational structure seems unclear.
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A project that is fairly holistic in nature.

The trend is to target school-children: its attractive to funders and also can provide some quick results and great photos. But its not clear what the long-term outcomes are (around the world).

All volunteer orgs (i see that Rotary 5450 and SCOPE are getting blurred, even though they are completely different) can achieve impact; we must also demand the rigor of assessing long-term impact thru metrics, indicators, and notes.

The past project has no updates since 2008 and since its a hospital, it should be easy to track many indicators and even simple observations on operations.

The Rotary Clubs provide good support until the ribbon-cutting ceremony and we need to figure out how to ensure continuity past that.

Esp. in the current proposal with so many outcomes, there is need for rigor to show results beyond happy faces of school children.
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Sounds like a solid project. There are many players which seems like it could get tricky unless of course roles, responsibilities and timeline are clearly established. The upside is more people to carry the weight. Power in numbers!
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Of course, I'm a big fan of RWH. I'm glad there are other ancillary benefits like farming, treeplanting and animal husbandry.
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The need for RWH systems in this impoverished poor region of Kenya seems clear. The success of the Rotary partnership between District 5450 in Colorado and Kisii Kenya Rotarian's on the providing water to the Kisii hospital indicates that this project will build on existing relationships. Finally the "circuit rider concept" indicates a commitment to the regular monitoring of progress at individual school locations to insure RWH systems are maintained and water quality monitored at each site. This project would seem to have a high probability of real success.
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