Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/28/2024

Project Features

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A plastic water tank was installed at Kayamatula Primary School a few years ago but it is not big enough to ensure all students and staff have access to safe water during the school day.

Even with the rainwater harvesting tanks, students are tasked with bringing water to school each day to supplement the existing supply. Rainwater harvested after rains can only sustain the school population for two months (rain is seasonal in Southeastern Kenya) because the tank's capacity is not proportionate to school's water needs.

Students carry water from varied sources that are often open and contaminated, many of which look like this:

Rivers in this area often appear dry at first glance, but digging in the sand proves there's still a bit of water.

The school was started by Kyamatula community members in 1958 to provide an education center for children from the village, it was then taken up by Mwala District Education Board to operate as a government school. The school has been able to grow through the support of parents, government, and community organizations.

On an average day, students arrive by 6:30am to help clean the school grounds before starting class at 7am. Classes run until 4pm, with a lunch break around 1 when students often go home to eat.

The students are required to carry water to school on a daily basis, placing an extra burden beyond carrying their school bags. Sometimes students arrive at school tired, which leads to a poor concentration in class.

"Our school is not privileged to have a convenient clean water supply," Deputy Headteacher Mr. Chris Muthusi said.

"Students and teachers have been exposed to drinking water from unknown sources at times when water is supplied by parents and students."

The school has latrines for the students and teachers, but their condition is poor. The latrines were dirty with a bad smell engulfing the surrounding area. Some of them lacked doors. They are not clean due to the lack of water, which also prevents the school from having operational handwashing stations for people to use after going to the bathroom.

"Our levels of hygiene and sanitation here in school can be said to be average, even with the low water supply, we are working hard to make our standards favorable and conducive for good learning. Increased water supply will make things better for the school community," Mr. Muthusi 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 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 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 clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Kyamatula Primary School

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

September, 2018: Kyamatula Primary School Construction Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Kyamatula 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 training was planned with the help of our field officer in charge of the region, Fidelis Ndunge. She notified the school's administration about the importance of hygiene and sanitation and the need to plan a training. Training was conducted outside where there was enough room in the shade for the hundreds of students in attendance.

The children were attentive during the first morning hours of training, but after their lunch break, the young ones were quite restless and sleepy. It was quite a job to control the young ones, but with the help of their teachers, they were encouraged to respectfully listen to Instructor Lucas.

Different approaches were used to ensure maximum participation. The instructor led everyone in demonstrations, open discussions, question and answer sessions, roleplays and short games that involved hygiene and sanitation details.

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

Stirring ingredients to make soap

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 good, and we are very happy to have learned a lot on hygiene," said 15-year-old Musyoki Musimi.

"This will enable us to improve the hygiene standards at our school and at home. We have also learned about waterborne diseases and from today we know how to prevent the diseases."

A group of students pose with the notebooks they used during training.

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

Kyamatula Primary School is affiliated with the Katulye Mwiyendea 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 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 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.

Parents guided donkeys laden with water back and forth to the construction site. This water is used for mixing cement and curing 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 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.

"The new water point will be of help to us in the future because we will have enough water at school. We will not carry water in the morning as we come to school, which was very burdensome to us. I think this tank will also help in improving the sanitation of our school," said Musyoki Musyimi.

"Our concentration level will be boosted because we will have good and safe drinking water after lunch. This will then improve our school performance. We are very happy about this tank.

July, 2018: Kyamatula Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kyamatula 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: Kyamatula Primary School

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kyamatula 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!

Kyamatula Primary School has experienced massive changes and improvements in the past year since the completion of its water project. The water from their rain tank is very fresh and clean, and students are enjoying the supply of clean water in the school.

There are no more water shortages in the school. The students are enjoying the surplus supply of water and they look happier than before. They are very playful and jovial.

"The water is very sweet and fresh for drinking. We no longer miss school or classes to search for water. Initially, students would miss school intentionally because they did not like carrying jerry cans of water to school, [but] now the classes are always full. School has become very conducive and accommodating for all students," said Joy Nduku, a 15-year-old student.

The head teacher stated that there are significantly fewer cases of absenteeism caused by waterborne illnesses. The teachers report to have fully packed classes every day and they are happy about it. Each student carries an empty bottle to school and fetches water for drinking whenever they feel thirsty.

"We are relieved that we no longer carry jerry cans of water to school as it was a very exhausting task," said Mbithi Maondo, a student at the school.

"School life is really good and we enjoy it a lot. Before I used to feel very thirsty during the exam periods but now I always have clean drinking water at any time. We fetch drinking water during lunch breaks, after lunch, and after games. Now, I concentrate better in class."

In the past year, the school has recorded an improvement in students' academic performance because students have increased concentration levels. Most parents happily pay their children's fees because they are happier when their students are enjoying school and performing better.

The school is relieved of the burden of purchasing water. The school environment has improved and it is cleaner than before. Students have now established the habits of washing their hands after visiting the latrines.

Everyone is happy and excited because of the water tank.

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 Kyamatula 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 Kyamatula 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.