Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 232 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/23/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This area of Mbuuni is hilly, vegetated, and peaceful - a conducive learning environment for students at Mbuuni Secondary School. River Thwake cuts the village in half, snaking through these hills. People living here used to specialize in growing coffee, but it's no longer as profitable.

Mbuuni Secondary School was opened by the community in 2004, and continues thanks to parents' strong support. It has seven classrooms, a kitchen, girls' dormitory, and latrines. There are 217 students enrolled, of which 67 girls stay in the dormitory overnight. The school employs 10 teachers and six support staff.

Boarders wake up at 5am to get ready for morning study hall. Other students arrive at 6am to join the boarders for study hall before the normal day of classes begins.


The school is connected to the Mbuuni water pipeline, but it's unreliable. No water came out of the tap during our visit. It only works a few days a week, school administration staff shared with us. There are two plastic tanks on school grounds that are hooked up to this pipeline. The school fills them up with as much water they can afford whenever the taps are running.

So for most of the week, students are sent out with staff to buy water from a community borehole. This pump breaks down often, and students say that there's some stiff competition between them and the community members; community members assert that a borehole located in their area should serve themselves first with the students' needs secondary.

"Students waste a lot of time walking to the borehole to fetch water. Buying water is expensive to this young school whose parents struggle with fee payment. The borehole even dries up, and the pipeline is prone to breakages too," Deputy Principal Wambua told us.


There are six latrines for each gender. The structures are in good shape, but they are not clean at all. This is because the school doesn't have the water to spare for cleaning.

Deputy Principal Wambua admitted that "the school is struggling to keep high levels of hygiene and sanitation, but the lack of enough water derails our efforts."

There are no handwashing stations, not even for the girls who live at the school full time. The scene inside the kitchen was also discomforting, and we couldn't find a counter or dish rack for keeping utensils and dishes up off the ground.

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:


Students and staff will be trained on hygiene and sanitation. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices both at school and at home. They will learn all the steps of proper hand-washing, how to treat water, and how to keep their environment clean. The school will also be taught how to best oversee and maintain their new rainwater catchment tank and hand-washing stations.

Hand-Washing Stations

Three hand-washing stations will be delivered at the project’s completion. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with four taps. The health club and school management will be responsible for making sure tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is available.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rainwater catchment tank for this school. Its clean water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff. Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, such as sand and stone and also lend some strong arms to help with the actual construction.

As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking and cleaning! 104,000 liters of water will keep students and staff in class and focusing on learning.

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Mbuuni Secondary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mbuuni Secondary School in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Mbuuni Secondary School. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this school maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

July, 2018: Mbuuni Secondary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Mbuuni Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support. Handwashing stations were installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene. All of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.


New Knowledge

Trainers held a Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Training at Mbuuni Secondary School earlier this year. Training was held outside under the shade of a tree because it was so hot that day. Christine Lucas trained the students on topics related to food hygiene, latrine hygiene, water, diseases transmission, soap making and more.

These students learned a ton of new information. "The future is in your hands" is a saying used to explain how handwashing exercise is an important part of hygiene and sanitation training. Diarrhea diseases pass through our hands to the mouth, therefore, hand washing is very important and its best explained by demonstration of the handwashing procedure.

After learning the right procedure of handwashing, there was a competition among the students on who would demonstrate it correctly to the others. The winner was awarded three packets of cookies. This made the topic memorable with all the students willing to participate.

They learned each step of making soap so thoroughly that they could teach their parents once they returned home. Some teachers learned alongside the students, so now school administration plans to always make enough soap to keep at the handwashing stations and clean the school facilities.

Learning to make soap

"I am happy today because we have learned new skills on hygiene and soap making. As students, we will no longer suffer from stomach aches and waterborne diseases," Carlone Kimeu, a student at the school, said.

"We will improve our hygiene both at school and at home. We will also train others on what we have learned today."

Handwashing Stations

Two large handwashing stations were delivered to the school in time for training.

New handwashing stations

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Mbuuni Secondary School is affiliated with the Mbuuni Water Project Self-Help Group, since most of its members’ children attend here. These parents and school administration approached the self-help group committee and requested their help in alleviating the water shortage at the school.

A meeting with all of the parents and the headteacher was then held to plan out the project. Parents agreed to collect construction materials like sand, rocks, and water. They also worked hard alongside our artisans.

Construction for this 104,000-liter rainwater catchment tank is much like the construction of a concrete house. First, the ground is leveled for foundation excavation. Alternating layers of impermeable rocks are laid upon mortar up to seven feet high, with internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet respectively.

A reinforced concrete column is built right up to the center of the tank, which holds up the roof and prevents it from caving in. The walls are then plastered both internally and externally with waterproof cement. After that, several feet of guttering is installed and channeled into the tank.

Once the tank has cured (dried) sufficiently, it can begin to collect rainwater.

"We are happy about the school water tank that has been installed in the school compound," Kimeu said.

"With water available in the school we will work hard to maintain maximum cleanliness in the school."

May, 2018: Mbuuni Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Mbuuni Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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!

Giving Update: Mbuuni Secondary School

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mbuuni Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Miriam Ng’oli. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mbuuni Secondary 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!

School life at Mbuuni Secondary School has changed for the better as evidenced by the overall academic performance of the students, the increase in the number of boarding students, and the generally improved hygiene level.

"The water project has revamped the academic environment of our school, it's more conducive for learning," shared Miriam Ng'oli, a student at the school.

The school currently accommodates 70 boarding students and is working on expanding the dormitories for more students to occupy. The availability of water has made the students' lives easier.

"Students bathe often unlike before. The dormitories and latrines are also washed on a daily basis. There's sufficient drinking water in the school. Food is prepared well, on time. Basically, cleanliness and hygiene are highly maintained which is a great milestone for the school," Miriam explained.

Fewer school funds are channeled to the purchase of water. The school tank is used to provide water for cooking and drinking. The harvested water can last the school for a whole term. The school feeding program has improved due to the availability of water, and the food is prepared well and on time.

"The water from the school tank tastes better," declared 18-year-old student Cosmas Mulwa.

"We were used to drinking water from the borehole which has high salinity levels. There's enough water for the performance of duties in school. There's more time for studying and relaxing because the weight of sourcing for water has been lifted. We study comfortably nowadays."

The water tank has very clean and fresh drinking water. Our teams observed that there is now a handwashing culture that has been established in the school thanks to the handwashing facilities and the training that was conducted a year ago.

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 Mbuuni Secondary 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 Mbuuni Secondary 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.


5 individual donor(s)