Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 182 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/03/2024

Project Features

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The school administration at AIC Mbau Secondary School has done what they can to alleviate the water crisis for their students; they gathered the money to purchase a plastic water tank. After it fills with rainwater, it provides an alternative to river water for a short time.

The plastic water tank is of low capacity and can only sustain the school water needs for two weeks when filled with water. Scoop holes are dug in the seasonal Tyaa River. The water point is shared by the community members and livestock who often pass through the river in search of drinking water after grazing in the field. Many people access the water point using donkeys in order to ferry many containers at once.

The school was started by local community members in 2012 who teamed up to start a secondary school within their village. It is found in a peaceful rural area with a rough terrain comprising of steep slopes, the area is partly dry with scattered trees. Being a young school, most of its buildings are new and decent, however, other buildings are still under construction.

Needy parents are required to supply water to the school as a way of paying fees for their children. They walk long distances with donkeys and endure long lines to fetch the water before bringing it back to the school.

All this effort is done to collect unsafe water from a source that runs dry when the rains stop. This exposes the school community to dire water challenges leading to them seeking alternative sources that are even farther away.

"Our area of operation is among the driest regions in this country, lack of clean water supply has reached a point where water from scoop holes has been culturally accepted as clean and safe for human consumption," Principal Charles Mwendwa said.

But that isn't the case. The water is open and unsafe. Students are at increased risk of contracting waterborne diseases by drinking the water from the scoop holes.

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


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!

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: AIC Mbau Secondary School

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

January, 2019: Mbau Secondary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! AIC Mbau Secondary School in Kenya now has the potential to collect 104,000 liters of 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned by the area field officer, Bendetta Makau, who contacted the principal a few weeks prior to make plans. The participants were then informed by their principal about the training.

On the day of training the weather was very sunny and the heat was unfathomable. Thankfully the training was conducted in the school hall that accommodated our 105 student participants.

A variety of topics were covered, which included:

- How to make soap
- Environmental hygiene
- How diseases spread
- Food preparation and storage
- Water hygiene and treatment methods
- Latrine hygiene
- Handwashing

The most memorable topic of discussion for the students was soap-making. The students collaborated with the trainer to prepare 20 liters of soap. This activity was done by the students who received the instructions from the trainer concerning the ingredients, recipe, and proper procedure.

Next, the students used the soap they had prepared to wash their hands. It was an eye-opening activity for them, as they had the habit of just rinsing their hands without applying soap. They were taught on the procedure of handwashing step by step. Critical moments for handwashing were discussed, including before eating, after visiting latrines, before cooking, before serving food, and after playing in the fields.

"This training will bring a great change to both the students and the society at large. Many community members do not have latrines in their homesteads. Therefore, we will attempt to bring change by educating them on the importance of having latrines and the health effects caused by open defecation," said 17-year-old Alex.

"The knowledge gained from this training, especially on soap-making, will come in handy both at home and at school. We will practice the skills which will help in sustaining good hygiene and sanitation. It is also very cost effective. In school, the hygiene and sanitation will improve because now we will use the soap to wash our hands, clean our classes and the latrines."

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

Mbau Secondary School is affiliated with the Yangondi 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.

The Process:

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. On the other hand, we delivered the expertise, tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system. The parents also worked hard alongside our artisans.

Parents gathered stones and delivered them to the school for our artisans to use.

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.

Construction for this large 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.

Digging drainage

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.

"We are very happy about the installation of this water project in our school. It has come at a time when water crisis is very intense in the area," said Principal Charles Mwendwa.

"It is a great relief for us to have this tank in our school as it will also reduce the financial strain that we have been experiencing in the school. We are very grateful about this project. The students will also have cleaner water to drink."

November, 2018: AIC Mbau Secondary School Project Underway

Parents deliver water to AIC Mbau Secondary School on a daily basis. This water collected from open holes in the riverbed is getting children sick, but they have no alternative. Thanks to your generosity, that's about to change.

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 again about the positive changes happening AIC Mbau Secondary School.

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: AIC Mbau Secondary School

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped AIC Mbau Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Esther Wanja. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help AIC Mbau 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!

The students and teachers at AIC Mbau Secondary School are happy to have welcomed the rain tank constructed a year ago. They are utilizing available water resources well and their living standards have been improved as a result of the project.

"The water tank project has enabled us to have unlimited access to clean water while in school - something which had never happened before as there were numerous water challenges," said 13-year-old student Esther Wanja.

"The availability of clean water in school has created a conducive learning environment for the school and everyone is happy."

The school community is no longer buying water from boozers and local vendors as the water tank has been providing for all water needs ranging from cooking, cleaning, and watering trees.

"The problem of [a] water shortage within our school has been completely solved by the implementation of this water tank which has been providing us with enough water for the last year," said Deputy Principal John Mbuto.

"Money which was initially spent on buying water is now being saved and will be channeled towards academic-related activities such as the construction of new classes and equipping of the library and laboratory."

The school laboratory now enjoys a constant supply of water which is aiding in conducting experiments and cleaning of lab apparatus.

A handwashing culture has developed among students after the hygiene and sanitation training and also the availability of unlimited water, which is aiding in the washing of hands before meals and after visiting latrines.

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 AIC Mbau 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 AIC Mbau 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.


Elvin & Alexa Siew
Elvin & Alexa Siew