Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 356 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Inconsistent water access at Wee Primary School comes with a cost - 200 shillings ($2) spent each day to have water brought by motorbike to the school. The school has piped water, but that does not usually work. The concrete tank constructed year ago for rainwater no longer works, and the two small plastic tanks cannot store enough water for the students and staff.

Due to the scarcity of water in the school, the latrines are rarely washed.

"The school is trying its best based on the washing and cleaning conditions. The pupils had functional taps for handwashing but they keep destroying them so they are usually encouraged to carry water for washing their hands," Deputy Headteacher Mrs. Lidia Kitui explained.

Access to clean water is vital to the school. Students bring water collected from contaminated sources in plastic containers to help alleviate the problem. But that unsafe water contributes to the proliferation of waterborne diseases among the student population.

"The standards of cleanliness and sanitation can be improved with the availability of more water in the school," Mrs. Kitui said.

"A quarter of the pupils come to school barefoot and going to the latrine barefoot is not very healthy especially with the conditions of some of our latrines."

The school was started by the Makueni District Education Board in collaboration with the local members in 1974. It has progressed over the years first grade to eighth grade.

On a normal school day, the students are expected to arrive at 6:30am. Morning studies run until 7:30 then perform followed by cleaning duties up to 8:00. Their lessons which usually last for 35 minute periods running until 3:10pm followed by games and other activities until 4pm. The students remain for another hour to study and head for home by 5pm.

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.

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

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Wee Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Wee 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 Wee 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 Has Arrived at Wee Primary School

We are extremely excited to share that the rainwater tank at Wee 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: Wee Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Wee 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 field officer in charge of the region, Mr. Maluki, visited and corresponded with the school about a children's hygiene and sanitation training schedule. The training was done for both teachers and pupils from nursery school to standard eight. There were also deaf students who attended, so the teachers in charge of their classes interpreted using sign language.

The venue for training was outside since this was the only suitable place that could fit the hundreds of pupils and their teachers. Student participation was very good with all the pupils interested in learning each topic. Posters with different drawings were used for various topics to help the pupils understand more on hygiene and sanitation. Pupils from the deaf school even participated by asking questions with the help of their translator.

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

Students enjoyed learning how to make their own soap. Local production of soap is as a great way to cut costs. Pupils were excited at the prospect of being able to make soap from the comfort of their schools and homes. They scrambled for front seats during the exercise showcasing their desire to master the whole process.

Handwashing is also a very important part of training. Diarrhea diseases pass through our hands to the mouth, and therefore, a thorough handwashing process is demonstrated to students and practiced by all. After learning the right procedure, the pupils competed for who could demonstrate it correctly to the rest. This made the topic memorable as each student wanted to come out with the top prize.

"The training was very good. We had never received any training on hygiene, but today we are happy we have learned new things," said 13-year-old Nzilani Mutua.

"It will help us improve hygiene in our school and at home. The soapmaking training was beneficial because we now have soap for handwashing, washing our latrines, and washing our classrooms."

Nzilani Mutua

Handwashing Stations

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

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Wee Primary School is affiliated with the Ndethye Ngutethye 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.

This tank is 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 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. We only met a few challenges which were resolved quickly to avoid too much delay. For instance, sometimes the local materials like water and stones would run out, so the parents would have to disperse to search for more.

We delivered cement, lumber, rebar, and guttering to the school. Parents helped us find local materials like sand, stones, and water.

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.

One of the two gutter systems feeding the tank with rainwater.

Once the tank has cured (dried) sufficiently, it begins to collect rainwater, and we look forward to sharing another update once that happens. 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.

"Water has always been a big problem in our school. Pupils have been subjected to bringing water to the school every morning year in and year out," shared Headteacher Lydia Kitui.

"This tank will be a game changer. With water being availed in school, cases of absenteeism will go down and there will be an improved concentration in class. Above all, levels of hygiene and general cleanliness will be enhanced by water availability."

May, 2018: Wee Primary School Project Underway

A clean water shortage at Wee 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 this 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: Wee Primary School

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Wee 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!

Wee Primary School students enjoy the water supply in their school in the year since the tank was installed.

When we first visited the school before completing the project, the students had dirty 10 to 20-liter jerry cans of water in their classes. Now, their classrooms are cleaner and the students have clean bottles filled with water from the tank for drinking water. They're no longer expected to carry water to school as they did in the past years.

"We now arrive to school early and we are rarely punished for being late to school," said Januaries Muindi, a student at the school.

The tank has had water throughout the year which immensely reduced the financial burden that weighed down on the school. And the school feeding program is fairing on well due to the availability of water.

These improvements are noticed throughout the community. We met 15-year-old student Previous Syombua during a recent visit to the school. She told us that she transferred to Wee Primary School due to the fact that water is available from the tank. She shared her story:

"In the school I was in before, we used to carry jerry cans of water to school which wasted a lot of time that could have been spent studying. My parents were attracted to this school because of the water tank and the school’s improved performance regionally. Life in this school is better and I learn with no disturbances. We are not expected to carry water to meet the school’s needs since the water tank holds a lot of water. It is now the rainy season. During this time year I used to have to leave an hour earlier each morning to fetch water from the seasonal river and bring it to school. Fortunately, the tank here harvests adequate water for us to use throughout the term. I can concentrate on my studies and focus on excelling in my final year examinations instead of traveling to the river before school."

Hygiene and sanitation have improved over time because the latrines and classes are washed frequently. The health club is very active and it ensures the handwashing stations always have water and soap. In addition, the school has supported the club by purchasing raw materials for preparing soap, they prepared 50 liters of soap for use in the current term. The students enjoy water from the tank and they claim that it is very fresh and sweet for drinking.

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 Wee 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 Wee 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.


Project Sponsor - Pineapple Fund