Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/20/2024

Project Features

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"We are facing challenges with accessing clean water in this school. Sometimes when there is no water in school, we are not given food during lunchtime which can be hard for us," said student Sarah Kioko during our visit to Kakunike Primary School.

The more than 600 students at this school must travel more than two kilometers to the nearest seasonal river to fetch water. During the dry season, which was happening when we visited, the students must dig deep holes in the middle of the sandy riverbed to reach water. It looks like this:

As is obvious from the picture, the water is muddy and contaminated from the livestock who drink from it and defecate nearby. This exposes the students to waterborne diseases, forcing some to miss more school in addition to the class time already wasted fetching water each day. To help minimize the trips made to the river, students must arrive at school each day with water from home if they want anything to drink and their school cook to prepare a meal.

Because of that, we witnessed another common sight at the school - containers filled with water lined up outside of classrooms.

"The water we bring to school might not be the safest for consumption," Sarah explained.

"It is usually very risky going to fetch water in the morning as we come to school. When a student does not bring water to school, she is punished and forced to venture out and collect water that is almost always not safe for drinking."

Purchasing water for the school is not a viable option. In rare instances, the school will hire people to travel with donkeys to get water from the riverbed. But the school does not have enough money to regularly pay for such services - so the burden continues to fall on the students. The problem can only be solved by establishing a water point on the school grounds.

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 of water storage should provide great alleviation to the water scarcity issues experienced here. As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning!

School Background

Kakunike Primary School was established on January 8, 1979 by the community members who saw the need for a school in their region. It started as an Early Childhood Development Center with a population of 71 pupils. Through the support of parents and the District Education Board, the school has grown enormously. Presently, there are more class grades and some 611 students attend the school.

School fees are not paid at this school because the District Education Board (DEB) provides the necessary amenities for the school. The Kenyan government, through the DEB, provides funds for supporting the homegrown school lunch program which would otherwise be funded by the parents.

The students are expected to arrive at school with water by 7 am to perform their duties of cleaning the classrooms, latrines, and the school compound. And then they proceed to morning study hall. Morning assembly takes place from 8 am to 8:20 am. Subsequently, the lessons begin. There are three breaks in between the classes throughout the day for recess and lunch with the day ending at 4 pm.

Hygiene and Sanitation

The school teachers and its students are doing their best to keep the area clean. The compound is organized and neatly kept. There are functional handwashing stations although some of them did not have water during the time of our visit. The latrines are not cleaned often due to insufficient water in the school.

"We also have a challenge with open defecation in the school which is mostly attributed by lack of transitional experience of some students from home to school," said Headteacher Peter Musya Mailu.

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 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.

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.

Project Updates

August, 2019: Kakunike Primary School Project Complete

Kakunike 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 104,000 liters of water. We installed 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.

Rain Tank

Kakunike Primary School is affiliated with the Wendo wa Matoki Ikuyu 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 Head Teacher was then held to plan out the project. Parents agreed to collect construction materials like sand, rocks, and water. We would complement their materials by delivering the expertise, tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.

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 rain 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 7 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. There are 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 amazing water project. Water challenges will be a thing of the past since the tank will provide us with adequate clean water," said teacher Musya Mailu.

New Knowledge

Austin Mumo, the field officer in charge of Waita region, contacted the school Head Teacher and informed him about the planned training. The Head Teacher then mobilized the school and informed all the prospective participants about the training including students and staff members. Our team showed up to nearly 400 students and staff in attendance.

The weather was sunny but the available trees provided enough shade for all the participants. The environment was conducive to learning.

We went over topics including student health club activities; disease transmission; preventing the spread of disease; personal hygiene; handwashing; water hygiene; food hygiene; latrine hygiene; and soapmaking.

Some posters with different drawings were used to demonstrate to the participants how diseases are transmitted. The pupils were tasked to identify and name various routes using the posters. Most of the pupils participated very well in identifying various routes of disease transmission. Later the participants were taken through various ways of preventing these diseases.

"The training was very good. We have never had such training on hygiene in our school," said Mwasi Muthusi, a 15-year-old student at the school.

"This training will help us to improve hygiene and sanitation and prevent diseases since we have learned how to avoid getting sick."

The health club members together with the teachers were taken through a demonstration on how to make liquid soap. The participants were made to sit in a circle for the demonstration. The participation was very good and all participants took turns in stirring the liquid soap. The topic is memorable because the participants learned a new idea and said that they were tired of buying diluted soap from the local markets.

"The soapmaking training will enable us to stay clean since we will use the soap to wash our hands after visiting the toilet and before eating. The soap will help us to wash our latrines, classrooms, and utensils,” Mwasi said.

Handwashing Stations

The new handwashing stations were delivered in time for training so that they could be used for handwashing demonstrations. Each of these has 3 taps so that 6 students can wash their hands at the same time.

"Water availability will help improve our hygiene levels here in the school including handwashing and regular cleaning of school facilities," said Musya.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2019: Kakunike Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kakunike Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by building 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 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!

Giving Update: Kakunike Primary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kakunike 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!

"We used to carry water to a school in 5-liter containers daily for the feeding program and our own drinking while in school. It was always a tiring activity because sometimes I would pass at the river in the morning to get the water while also on my school bag with books," said Gladys, a school student.

"Now I can walk to the tank anytime while in school and draw water for drinking while in school. It is always open and accessible to all of us all day. I can now arrive at school early because I do not have to come tired because of carrying water and passing by the river."


"There is more concentration in class. We are also washing our hands before meals and after visiting the latrines. We have also been washing mangoes and oranges during the breaks and eating them while clean. Using water from the tank, each student must plant a tree within the school and take care of it through watering in the morning and afternoon. This has been made possible by the existence of enough water supply."

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 Kakunike 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 Kakunike 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 Underwriter - American International School - Riyadh
Glen Rock Girl Scout Troop 96946
Jenna Hribar's 15th birthday
EWRSD Walk for Water
Miz 's Campaign for Water
Girl Scout Troop 3529 Campaign for Water

And 1 other fundraising page(s)
11 individual donor(s)