Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 456 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/20/2024

Project Features

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Better get comfortable for the ride from our Mtito Andei office to Kylungwa Primary School in the neighboring county; it takes six hours to travel that 335 kilometers!

It was certainly a rural and peaceful area at the time of our visit, dotted with green thanks to recent rains. However, it looks like a desert during the other seasons that pass without rainfall.

The school started in 1978 to serve the children growing up in Kambusya Village. It was the full initiative of parents and community leaders and was later taken up by the District Education Board. It currently has no sponsor, so it's supported by the parents and the Constituency Development Fund, a government program that allows communities to fund local projects like schools and health clinics.

Students leave home early to arrive at school by 7am, when they're required to group up and complete different chores before morning assembly. Normal lessons begin at 8am, when students get to learn social studies, English, Swahili, science, religion, mathematics, and art. Lunch is cooked on school grounds. There are afternoon classes, and then two hours of clubs and sports before students are dismissed at 5pm.


Looking around school grounds, you'll see a handful of water structures. There is a large cement tank that was built by an organization in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the quality of the work could not withstand the test of time, and it became dysfunctional. When these cement tanks cease to collect and hold water, they are often converted for other uses such as storage - or they even convert them into a kitchen.

Since then, the school has installed a tap that's connected to the Tana and Athi River Development Authority. While this connection has helped the school make great progress in addressing water scarcity, it costs money and still isn't always there when they need it.

"During the dry season, the pipeline dries out and this affects the school routine because the school feeding program stops," Headteacher Scholastica Muinde told us.

"Buying water has been expensive for the school, and latrines and classes are not washed on a daily basis. This compromises the levels of hygiene and waterborne diseases affect child development."


The latrines are in poor condition and dirty since they aren't washed as regularly as they should be. There is no place for students to wash hands after they finish using the latrines.

The kitchen is a temporary structure without much counter space to store utensils. It's obvious that a positive effort has been made to keep a clean environment, but the school lacks the tools and water needed to further improve. A garbage pit has been dug where litter is thrown. This keeps garbage from blowing back around campus. It is burnt when the pile gets too high.

"The school has a fair level of hygiene and sanitation which can be improved through access to clean water and availability of handwashing stations and the construction of a good kitchen," Headteacher Muinde said.

What we can do:


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 handwashing stations.

Handwashing Stations

Three handwashing 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 to keep focusing on learning - it will outlast the dry months that don't bring rainfall to Kitui County, Kenya.

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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Kyulungwa Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kyulungwa Primary School in Kenya access clean water.

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

June, 2018: Kyulungwa Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Kyulungwa Primary 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.

New Knowledge

The training was organized by Patrick Musyoka, who is the field officer responsible for groups in this area. He reached out to the school headteacher who then organized the students and teachers. All enrolled students and their teachers were in attendance, so we only had room to meet outside.

Students brought the chairs out from their classrooms. The older students seemed to connect more with what was being taught throughout training, taking a lot of notes on each topic. When it came to hands-on activities, the younger students were way more excited.

There was a bit of a competition about who would hold the good and bad hygiene practices next.

We taught the following topics and many others:

- good and bad daily habits

- germs are spread by flies

- using the latrine

- handwashing

- toothbrushing

Students enjoyed handwashing and making soap the most. As students watched demonstrations and learned that there are actually multiple steps to handwashing, they admitted they'd never known handwashing was so important. They also loved making soap and believe that they can save money by making it each term for the school's use. They were surprised that they could make soap of such high quality.

This little girl is making sure he does a good job mixing the soap!

"Now we have enough knowledge on our personal hygiene. We will improve on our habits of handwashing because we were brought handwashing stations that we promise to keep filled with water and make use of them," 9-year-old Fredrick Ndambuki said.

"We have been taught how to make soap. This knowledge will be very important to us because we will be washing our hands with water and soap. This will help in the prevention of diseases as we learned from the disease transmission routes, through our hands to the mouth."


Handwashing Stations

Two large handwashing stations were delivered to the school in time for training. Each of these has three taps, which allows at least six students to wash their hands at one time.

Handwashing stations were delivered in time for training.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Kyulungwa Primary School is affiliated with the Kathilo Earth Dam Self-Help Group, since many of its members’ children attend here. These parents and the 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.

Bags of cement delivered for constructing the tank.

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 met students at the tank to celebrate the first moments of water flowing from the tap. Fredrick was there with his classmates.

"We will not be getting sick as often because now we have enough clean water!" he exclaimed.

June, 2018: Kyulungwa Primary School Project Going Well

We are excited to report that things are really coming along at Kyulungwa Primary School. Artisans have been working hard on a huge rainwater catchment tank that will provide clean water year round.

We also look forward to sharing more about the hygiene and sanitation training attended by the entire student body and their teachers. We expect to reach out again within the next few weeks with news of clean water!

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: Kyulungwa Primary School

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kyulungwa Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Syombua Kavindu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kyulungwa Primary 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!

Kyulungwa Primary School students are enjoying school more than they used to because the presence of the water tank has assured a sufficient supply of water at school. The compound is well organized and the view of the tank makes it more beautiful. It is noticeably cleaner, evidence that the improved availability of water is helping students and staff maintain the school grounds. Students no longer carry containers of water to school each morning, as they did before.

"We do not carry water to school anymore because the water tank has a lot of water which means less exhaustion and no absenteeism," said Syombua Kavindu, a student at the school, to our teams during a recent visit.

"Students used to skip school because they would be punished if they hadn't brought water to school. Now, all my classmates come to school on time."

The students are provided drinking water daily after lunch. In addition, they are aware of the importance of water, thus they use the water sparingly to avoid wastage. The students are excited about the project in their school, reported our field officers. The school water tank has served the school and its beneficiaries appropriately.

"Life in school has improved since the construction of the school water tank," added 12-year-old student Omari Jawa.

The school feeding program is very consistent because there is sufficient water for cooking in the school. Hygiene and sanitation have improved as the teachers and students wash their hands after visiting the latrines. The health club that was formed is very keen on cleanliness management in the school and they always ensure there are soap and water at the handwashing facilities.

"I belong to the health club and we always ensure there is soap at the handwashing facilities for all students to wash hands after visiting the latrines," Syombua said.

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 Kyulungwa Primary 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 Kyulungwa Primary 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.


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