Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/20/2024

Project Features

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The parents of students attending Mbuuni Primary School have supported the school since its founding in 1963. The school was fortunate enough to benefit from a latrine and well renovation in 2015.

However, the well produces only 800 liters a day and is shared with the community, too. That is not nearly enough water for the 470 students at the school who require a minimum of five liters of water per day.

The nearest river is 4km away, but it would normally be sandy and dry. It is now filling with water thanks to the sand dam that we installed last year, and the adjacent hand-dug well is providing drinking water for members of the community. However, the distance is too far from the school to provide them with basic access to safe water. So, they rely on the well and other nearby open sources.

The school latrines are rarely washed and there are some students are barefoot, therefore, the risk of contracting diseases are very high. Due to lack of water, the children rarely wash their hand after visiting the latrines.

"We would love to have a clean environment which is conducive for our students. The lack of water leads to challenges in maintaining cleanliness. More water needs to be availed to make that more effective," Deputy Headteacher Joshua Musyimi said.

Building a new rain tank and providing training on sanitation on hygiene will boost the school's access to water and help resolve some of these issues.

Here’s what we’re going to 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!

Project Updates

February, 2019: Mbuuni Primary School Construction Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Mbuuni Primary School in Kenya now has the ability to collect 104,000 liters of water – thanks to your generous 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.

We look forward to reaching out again as soon as the tank has captured rainwater.

New Knowledge

The training was planned by Masii region field officer Ruth Mwanzia in collaboration with our training officers. Ms. Mwanzia contacted the school community through the headteacher and expressed the intention to hold a hygiene and sanitation training. Once they settled on a date they reported back to the training team so that they could prepare the topics and materials.

The entire student body and nine teachers were present at training. Since this was a group of hundreds, we held training outside. Some of the upper classes had a prior understanding of some of the concepts taught, so they volunteered and demonstrated way more than the young ones.

We went over topics including:

- student health club activities

Student health club members

- disease transmission
- preventing the spread of disease

- personal hygiene
- handwashing

- water hygiene
- food hygiene
- latrine hygiene
- soap-making

Student health club members were the ones taught about soap. Pupils took turns stirring the soap and were very excited about the final product. Local ingredients like ungarol, ufacid, industrial salt, and caustic soda are among the ingredients used to mix this soap.

"The training was good. It will help us prevent diseases and we will be healthy. Our hands will be very clean all the time and the soap will help us together with our visitors to clean our hands after visiting the latrines," said 14-year-old Muasya.

"If there are any competitions about cleanliness among schools, we will be number one because we now have soap and adequate water."

Handwashing Stations

The new handwashing stations were delivered in time for training so that they could be used for the handwashing demonstration. Each of these has three taps so that six students can wash their hands at the same time.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Mbuuni Primary School is affiliated with the Mbuuni 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 and older siblings also worked hard alongside our artisans. This project had a ton of helping hands because students have a long break at the end of each year.

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.

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 to be beneficiaries of this beautiful water project," said Deputy Headteacher Musyimi.

"Our students will no longer be required to carry water to school because the project will always provide us with enough water for use here. The handwashing facilities will also help the school community lead improved levels of personal hygiene and prevent possible diseases."

Thank You for your generosity that made all of this good work happen!

January, 2019: Mbuuni Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Mbuuni Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build 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: Mbuuni Primary School

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mbuuni 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!

Mbuuni Primary School community has been an excited group over the past year thanks to the school water tank that was constructed within their compound. Our team observed the students are more jovial and excited about the presence of the water tank in the school.

Students no longer carry containers of water to school, a duty that most of them despised because it was very cumbersome. At times the students were sent out of class to go and fetch water, which was a huge distraction to their education and academic performance. Currently, the students are happy about the tank because they are not sent out of class, water is readily available within the school compound.

"Availability of water in the school is no longer in our list of worries," said Deputy Headteacher Joshua Musimi.

"The tank has been resourceful in contributing to a safe and conducive learning environment for our students, in relation to that, we expect to record a revamp in their academic performances."

The school environment is well managed and maintained as the latrines and classrooms are washed often. Duties such as cleaning classrooms and latrines have been made easier because water is always available. The students also enjoy filling and emptying the handwashing facilities with water because they now comprehend the importance of washing hands with clean water.

"The water is very sweet for drinking and it is not salty. I concentrate more in class because I do not have to keep worrying about being sent out of class to fetch water," said Mwikali Mutisya, an 8-year-old student at the school.

As we left the compound we saw a few students washing their hands after visiting the latrines which is a good gesture of the assimilation of good hygiene habits by the students. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

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 Mbuuni 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 Mbuuni 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