Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 372 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/11/2024

Project Features

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It was a bright morning and it felt like the sun was up earlier than usual, causing temperatures to soar high. Thankfully there was a cool breeze that made it a bit more bearable walking under the sun.

Mukangu Primary School is situated in a rural area dotted with mud-walled houses and a few grass-thatched houses. The area is serene and peaceful but the busy road passing by the school creates a bit of background noise. The community obviously practices agriculture, since plantations fill the area between homes.

Mukangu Primary School began in 2014 with an early education department functioning in one single classroom made of mud. It is now operating as a full school from early education to class eight. They now have six mud classrooms and three cement structures, all filled by 360 students and 12 staff.

A normal day for pupils begins at 6am in the morning when they wake up to get ready for school. They are expected to arrive before 7am with their books and a 5-liter jerrycan full of water. They  do cleaning work for 30 minutes and then assemble with the others to go to a well with a hatch to fetch more water, since 5 liters per student does not last very long. The lessons begin at 8am and run until students are released to return home for lunch at 12:30pm. Afternoon lessons go until 3pm and then students stay on the grounds for one hour of games before the final school bell rings.

Students stuffer from typhoid and must stay home from school. If a student gets sick several times, it's more likely that they drop out and stay home altogether. The cost of treating waterborne diseases is usually too high for the students' families, which causes them to cut on other expenses, of which school fees is the first line.

These typhoid cases are caused by drinking dirty water. The water students carry to school comes from various sources, many of which are not clean. Some even arrive with water in various shades of brown. The water students get from the well with a hatch is also dirty. The water looks clean at first, but upon closer inspection you can see tiny living organisms moving around in the water.

Students dread walking to that well. They have to leave school and walk through sugarcane plantations, where they often encounter snakes. Being used by many members of the community, the water in the well is not sufficient and sometimes gets depleted and must be allowed a few days to recharge. The owner of the well also locks the hatch at random times, so students could walk all the way out there and not be able to return to school with any water.

The well has a 10-liter container tied to a rope that is used lowered through the hatch to collect water. Students use that container to refill the 5-liter containers they brought from home. Most of them do not have covers since the pupils lose them on the way to school or when playing with them. Not all of the containers are clean, as you can see dark markings inside.

The deputy headteacher himself often avoids the water that students gather. "The idea of having to send a student to get you drinking water is not good. Some of us are forced to walk home to get water so that you can ascertain it is safe for drinking. Some of these pupils fetch the water and dip their fingers in it, how can you drink that water?" Mr. Mahulo reflected.

What we can do:

"The condition of hygiene in the school is very pathetic. First, the toilets are not enough because the boys have only two doors which they share with the [neighboring] church. They are almost full and the sanitation condition is very poor. The toilets are cleaned twice a week due to the scarcity of water and the urinal is very dirty and all wet with urine," described Headteacher Shikoro.

"The containers which are used to carry water to school are also very dirty, which causes a lot of hygiene-related diseases."


Training on good hygiene habits will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school.

Handwashing Stations

There is nowhere to wash hands, nor would there be enough water to do so.

This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as handwashing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two handwashing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

The boys' toilets are almost full, they're filthy because there isn't enough water, and some lack doors. The girls' toilets are stable but the sanitation conditions are pathetic. The school told us that they normally wash the toilets twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, because they do not have sufficient water to wash the toilets every day.

Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls while the other three serve the boys. And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff.

This being a rainy region, a rainwater catchment tank is a great solution. Students will no longer carry heavy containers of water from unknown sources or leave school to get more water throughout the day.

Project Updates

November, 2019: Mukangu Primary School Project Complete!

Mukangu Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which has the ability to collect 50,000 liters of water. We installed new latrines for students, handwashing stations, and we trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. All of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Students stand proudly with their new rain tank

Rain Tank

Construction for this 50,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. All the while, the school cooks prepared meals for the artisans, and the school provided accommodations for the artisans during their work. Teachers provided moral support by not only supervising the work but also attending to the needs of artisans. Local women and men helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to try and determine the best location for a new rain tank. This needed to be the best site with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Preparing the rain tank foundation of stones

Then, we cleared the site: excavating the soil within the required measurements to make level ground for the tank foundation. The foundation was cast by laying hardcore on level ground and then reinforcing it using steel, concrete and waterproof cement.

Rain tank walls take shape while cement is mixed in the foreground

Both the drawing pipe as well as the washout pipe were affixed as the foundation was laid. The wall was built with ferro-cement techniques through 6 layers. The inner wall was plastered while rough casting was done on the outer part. Finally, the catchment area was dug, plastered, and a staircase installed.

Cementing the interior of the rain tank walls and floor

Dome construction could begin after the superstructure had been given enough time to settle. The manhole cover was fitted, inlet pipes were connected to the roof gutters, inlet screens, ventilation pipes (breathers) and overflow pipes were all done to standard.  The only challenge throughout the entire construction process was the rains that could wash away the plaster immediately after it was done. Thus the artisans had to wake up very early each morning and work so that the structure could stabilize far ahead of the afternoon rains to reduce the chance of this mishap.

Going in! Working on the dome

Once finished, the tank was given 3 to 4 weeks to undergo complete curing before it was cleaned and handed over to Mukangu Primary School, though we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. The school is very appreciative of our team's support and the water point they are now enjoying. They said they consider it a rare privilege and a blessing that has come their way.

Thumbs up for clean water from the rain tank's tap

There was no formal dedication or handing-over ceremony that took place for this new water point since it was completed while the students were on break. However, the school is planning to celebrate their achievement once they resume lessons in January. It is worth noting that the school has of course been allowed to start enjoying and using the water at their convenience.

Boys sit at the rain tank's tap

"I want to appreciate [you] for considering us to have this project. We will no longer carry water from home to school. Sometimes we used to carry water collected from unsafe sources, some were not even clean enough for drinking. The tank will help us prevent diseases that one may acquire from contaminated water," said Makamu, a 15-year-old boy who attends the school.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of 6 new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, half for girls and half for boys.

Girls pose in front of their new latrines

All of these new latrines have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Look at these! In front of the boys' latrines

Handwashing Stations

The 2 handwashing stations were delivered to the school and handed over to the student health club. These were placed outside of the girls’ and boys’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use.

Health club members teach other students how to properly wash their hands at the stations, make sure the stations are filled with water, and work to ensure that there is always soap or ash available.

Handwashing outside the latrines

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was scheduled with the help of the school principal and head teacher, who together ensured that the training date would be convenient for students, staff, and parent representatives. Individual teachers helped by selecting students from each class to represent the others.

25 students attended training, which was a great turnout. The attendance was higher than we expected in spite of the fact that schools were on holiday when the training took place. We took this as a good sign that both the teachers and students were committed to giving their all in learning the training topics.

Students taking notes during training

It was a hot and sunny day, thus the training was held in a classroom that was fairly spacious and well ventilated. Each participant had a seat to use and everyone felt comfortable enough to be engaged in the process. The attendees were so active during the session by asking and responding to questions. Even when called on to demonstrate something, a number of them would volunteer to do it.

We covered a number of topics, including personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and handwashing with soap as a barrier from germs; and operation and maintenance of the new facilities, with each person understanding their role for long-lasting clean water and good health. The new student health club will be greatly involved in project management and will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

During the Operation and Maintenance session, the facilitator took the attendees on-site to show them the parts of the rain tank practically. The functions of each part were explained and how they should be taken care of. Taking them on site was so interesting since it helped them to break the monotony of sitting in a classroom.

Unlike other topics that were taught in class, this one was very interactive. The participants were so happy about the tank and for knowing how best to maintain it.

"They were able to relate directly with the tank because water has been the major cry of their hearts," said the Field Officer leading this portion of the training, Jemmimah Khasoha.

Handwashing practice

During the handwashing practicum, the facilitator took the participants where the handwashing stations were placed outside the latrines and demonstrated the 10 steps of handwashing. The attendees were asked to demonstrate as well to show they got the point. Some of the participants could not hide their smiles upon learning that they have been taking hygienic handwashing for granted. One student volunteered to do it and eventually, she managed to do it successfully and said that they were so happy to learn the new technique by following all 10 steps. She said they all promised to teach others about it both in school and back at home so that unnecessary diseases can be avoided.

School staff at the rain tank's tap

"I want to express my gratitude for this project and to [your] team," said Jerusah Indangasi, a parent representative who attended training alongside the students.

"Our pupils will now have enough time to spend in class and that will improve their grades unlike before when they used to go to fetch water outside the school perimeter. The training has helped us to know how we can maintain high standards of good hygiene practices for our own benefit. This will also help us to have a healthy community and avoid diseases that would occur as a result of poor hygiene. Thank you so much."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Mukangu Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mukangu 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!


Project Underwriter - SJR
7 individual donor(s)