Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 125 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/03/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

The students at Ndiani Primary School do not have a reliable source of water.

A rainwater tank installed 30 years ago broke down. The government water kiosk in the town center is more than two miles away and does not provide water on a regular basis. In fact, when we visited this school we found out the kiosk had not worked for more than two weeks.

As a result, students and staff must travel more than a mile to fetch water from Maseki River. The time that could be spent in class is lost to getting the water from an open source that is likely contaminated; scoop holes dug in the sand that look like this:

The above is an example of water gathered from a sandy riverbed in their region. It's so dry that rivers don't often run with water. People have to dig down to find what they can.

After drinking this water, students miss class time due to waterborne illness, further robbing them of their educations.

The school feeding program has been halted because the school lacks water for cooking. A few students are able to carry food from home, while others have to endure full days in school without meals. This has led to poor concentration in class since most of the children come from poor backgrounds and cannot afford to bring lunch.

"The lack of a convenient water supply in school is placing us in a very difficult situation," Deputy Headteacher Kilonzi said.

The school is located in Mwingi Village, a peaceful rural area with scattered vegetation cover owing to the extremely dry conditions experienced in the area. The school's buildings are made of bricks and covered with iron sheets, some of the classes lack cemented floors and window panes.

There are latrines at the school for the teachers and students, but they are in poor condition. There is no sign that they are regularly cleaned and not all have doors - meaning students have to wait in line for privacy or use them out in the open.

"Our area of operation is always in water crisis," Mrs. Kilonzi continued.

"Our levels of hygiene and sanitation are poor because we have never had water to sustain the basic activities of drinking and cooking before thinking about other activities which can be done using water."

Ndiani Primary School was proposed as a potential project by members of the Kathilo Earthdam Self-Help Group, who has partnered with us on other dam and well projects. The majority of the group's children attend school and they want to improve their access to reliable, safe water.

What we can do:


Students and staff will be trained for one day. 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 of the steps to proper handwashing, 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. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff. Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, such as sand and stone. They will also lend some strong arms to help with the actual construction.

The huge capacity of this tank makes the others look tiny in comparison; 104,000 liters should be enough water to carry students and staff through the entire dry season. As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning!

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 clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Ndiani Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Ndiani 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 Ndiani Primary School. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this school maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

February, 2019: Water Flowing at Ndiani Primary School

We are extremely excited to share that the rainwater tank at Ndiani Primary School has water. Students are using the water for drinking, cleaning, and activities like handwashing. Please enjoy the new pictures added to the project page, and celebrate with these students!

September, 2018: Ndiani Primary School Construction Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Ndiani 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. All of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

New Knowledge

The area field officer Austin Mumo visited the school and informed them of the need to have a children's hygiene and sanitation training after the construction of the water tank. The head teacher agreed to the request and set up a date for the activity, informing all the pupils and teachers that they should attend.

Attendance was good, for indeed all of the students and their 8 teachers were there. Pupils remained lively throughout the training, closely following the lessons and trying to master all concepts taught. They asked numerous questions and engaged the trainer in all of the sessions. Pupils in the upper classes were challenged by their teachers to share some of the concepts they already learned in class.

We taught:

- Personal hygiene

- Food and water hygiene, along with water treatment

- Latrine hygiene

- How germs spread and how to build barriers

- Handwashing

- How to make soap

Soapmaking training

Handwashing is an important exercise because it is the best way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. One of the handwashing stations donated to the school was delivered early and filled with water. The trainer first demonstrated to the whole school on the most thorough way to wash their hands. The pupils then practiced using the procedure that they learned.

Teachers told the students that whoever demonstrated handwashing correctly would be awarded 3 extra packets of biscuits! This excited the students as they competed to be the best. This made the topic interesting, with everyone striving to understand and demonstrate well for the top prize.

A student tries to remember each step of the handwashing process taught by Instructor Lucas.

"The training was very good. We have learned how to prevent diseases and how to avoid eating dirty food. We have also learned how to wash hands with soap and water. We are thankful and we will be practicing what we have learned today. We have learned a new skill on how to make soap, too," shared 13-year-old student Mutethya Muasa.

Mutethya Muasa

"From today, our classrooms and latrines will be clean, our hands will also be clean always. All of this will improve our levels of cleanliness and keep us from diseases."

Handwashing Stations

2 large handwashing stations were delivered to the school in time for training. Each of these has 3 taps so that 6 students can wash their hands at the same time.

The plastic bottle is filled with some of the soap that students made during training.

Rain Tank

Ndiani Primary School is affiliated with the Kathilo Earthdam Self-Help Group, since most 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.

This tank is a whopping 104,000 liters not because of a large student population, but because of how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya. The more water we can store during the seasonal rains, the more water available through the dry months.

A meeting with all of the parents and the head teacher 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 throughout the entire process.

A woman guides a donkey laden with water to be used for mixing cement.

Construction for this 104,000-liter rain 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 7 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 dried sufficiently, it begins to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and any other of the school's water needs. School leadership is armed with the technical skills to ensure that the water tank remains functional, and gaps that exist can be identified through our ongoing monitoring visits.

"This is a very important project to the school. We are humbled to be beneficiaries of a project that will improve access to clean water for the school population," said Deputy Head Teacher Kilonzi.

"Pupils and parents will no longer be required to carry water to school. Availability of unlimited clean water means that pupils access drinking water all the time, classes will always be clean, alongside latrines. Provision of handwashing facilities and the training received will help pupils lead a high level of cleanliness."

July, 2018: Ndiani Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Ndiani Primary 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: Ndiani Primary School

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ndiani 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!

Ndiani Primary School no longer buys water for use since the water tank installed a year ago provides enough clean water for both students and staff throughout the school year. Students and parents are no longer involved in fetching water for school activities as the water project provides for all of their water needs. This means that the benefits of the tank extend beyond the school gate and into the community.

"Parents have been relieved of the hard task of looking for water and bringing it to school, which gives them more time to concentrate on development activities," said Head Teacher Peter Mbuvi.

The ability to access water at the school also means that facilities are cleaned regularly at the school.

"The water tank has been providing us with enough water at school for drinking and washing school facilities," said Rachael Nthambi, a 14-year-old student.

"We can now wash our hands before meals and after visiting latrines, because we have enough water and handwashing stations. This is helping to prevent diseases and maintain high hygiene standards."

Rachel enjoys a drink from the rain tank

A handwashing culture has developed at the school because of the existence of the handwashing facilities and having enough water to sustain them. Now washing hands before meals and after visiting the latrine is a regular sight at Ndiani Primary School.

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 Ndiani 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 Ndiani 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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