Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 259 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/21/2024

Project Features

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Kitandi Primary School is in a remote, rural village with sparse vegetation and dusty hills. It takes two hours each way, so we need to plan well!

The school started in 1986, with a church sponsoring the construction of its first classrooms. They've steadily grown since then, boasting nine classrooms, a staffroom, latrines, kitchen, and a field for recess.

Students start arriving at 6:30am each morning to clean their classrooms. Regular classes begin after morning study hall, interrupted by short only a few short breaks and lunch. They must stay for games until they're dismissed at 4pm.


Everyone, not only the school, relies on a well in Kitandi Village. Community members, church members, and students are seen coming and going throughout the day. Farmers even bring their cattle to the well to get them water.

This well is solar-powered and is contingent on there being enough sunshine. The school also shared that there are times during the driest month that no water comes out, even with constant pumping.

School administration told us that the huge population relying on this one well forces students to the back of the line - and so much time is wasted that could have been spent in class.

The school had received two small plastic tanks to help them collect rainwater, but they're no longer working.

"As the school community, we are making tireless efforts to make the safest place for learners in terms of hygiene, sanitation, and unlimited access to clean drinking water," Headteacher Rhoda Kimuyu said.

"With a shared, inconvenient, salty water source, these dreams have not been realized and we are looking for a convenient fresh water source."


Faced with a constant water shortage, the school has had to sacrifice the cleanliness of their facilities. Latrines are filthy and smelly, and some male students have discovered that if you take off your shirt before you use the latrine, you'll be able to avoid carrying out that bad smell with you.

There are no handwashing stations for these students to clean up at after using the latrines or before eating lunch.

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 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. 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 focusing on learning.

Project Updates

March, 2019: Kitandi Primary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Kitandi 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.

New Knowledge

The field officer in charge of the Matiliku region, Mr. Jeff Maluki, mobilized the school community through the headteacher for the CHAST (child hygiene and sanitation training). All the pupils and staff members were invited to the event and a date agreed upon which was communicated to our training officer, Christine Lucas.

All of the students were there, and we were happy to have 10 teachers in attendance too. We had to meet outside since there isn't enough room inside for the entire student body, but there was a big tree that provided shade for us.

We went over topics including:

– student health club activities

The student health club poses around the soap they made together during training.

– disease transmission

Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death among children in Kenya, so students require knowledge on the causes of diarrhea and how to prevent it. Through a demonstration, the pupils were taken through the different transmission routes of diarrheal diseases and ways of preventing them.

Diagrams were used to show these transmission routes. Different posters were displayed and the pupils explained what was going on in each.

– preventing the spread of disease
– personal hygiene

The pupils were taken through various ways of maintaining personal hygiene. This included; body washing, toothbrushing, and face washing among many others. There was a ‘question and answer session’ on this topic wherein the trainer asked the pupils questions and the pupils brainstormed answers.

– 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.

"We are very thankful for the training. We have learned a lot about hygiene and sanitation and we are going to change our behaviors both at home and within the school. We normally do not wash hands with soap but from today, we have learned the importance," said 14-year-old Irene.

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

Kitandi Primary School is affiliated with the Kiluta Sand Dam 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.

Cement bags stored inside, away from the elements

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. The roofing is made of iron sheets and timber, and has vents to allow rainwater into the tank from the gutters.

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 water tank," said Headteacher Kimuyu.

"The water tank has harvested enough water for the school community and our pupils will no longer be required to carry water to school. Again, the handwashing facilities and hygiene training are helping our children maintain high levels of cleanliness both in school and at home."

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Kitandi Primary School Project Underway

Clean water shortages at Kitandi Primary School drain students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point on school grounds 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 again with news of success!

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!


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation