AIC Mbau Secondary School is thriving, thanks to its rainwater tank

Two years ago, AIC Mbau Secondary School in Southeast Kenya was struggling to raise the money needed to ensure its students had access to water every day. Today, it is spending its resources trying to expand school programs because it no longer has to worry about water.

In the past, the school administration at the school did what they could to alleviate the water crisis for their students. They raised money to purchase a plastic water tank, but since it is so small it could not support the more than 182 students at the school – especially during the dry season. At best, the tank lasted 2 weeks before running dry.

It forced students to turn to the seasonal Tyaa River for water.

People fetch water at the Tyaa River

The water point is shared by the community members and livestock who often pass through the river in search of drinking water after grazing in the field. This led students to miss class time and exposed the students to drinking contaminated water.

But that is a problem of the past. More than a year ago we partnered with the school to construct a 104,000-liter rainwater harvesting tank. Students do not have to go to fetch water from the scoop holes anymore. They can get it directly from the tank!

“The water tank project has enabled us to have unlimited access to clean water while in school – something which had never happened before as there were numerous water challenges,” said 13-year-old student Esther.

Students at their tank shortly after it was constructed

“The availability of clean water in school has created a conducive learning environment for the school and everyone is happy.”

The school community is no longer buying water from boozers and local vendors as the water tank has been providing for all water needs ranging from cooking, cleaning, and watering trees.

“The problem of [a] water shortage within our school has been completely solved by the implementation of this water tank which has been providing us with enough water for the last year,” said Deputy Principal John Mbuto.

“Money which was initially spent on buying water is now being saved and will be channeled towards academic-related activities such as the construction of new classes and equipping of the library and laboratory.”

Fetching water from the tank a year later

The school laboratory now enjoys a constant supply of water which is aiding in conducting experiments and cleaning of lab apparatus.

A handwashing culture has developed among students after the hygiene and sanitation training and also the availability of unlimited water, which is aiding in the washing of hands before meals and after visiting latrines.