Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 114 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/24/2024

Project Features

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Kikuswi Secondary School is going broke paying for water that makes its 103 students sick.

For most of the year, the administration at Kikuswi Secondary School has to pay someone to fetch water to meet its daily needs for drinking, cooking, washing, and more. At a cost of $1,200 a month, paying for the water deliveries is a great burden on the school. Worse yet, the water is collected from a river two kilometers away that is open and unsafe for consumption.

Students are at risk of waterborne illnesses that sap their energy and force some to miss class.

"The parent in charge of bringing water to school face a lot of difficulty because the river is very far and once it dries up he has to dig scoop holes to get access to clean water," explained Noel Kikuvi, a 17-year-old student.

"At times, we lack water during lunch time which can really get uncomfortable, especially in the afternoon classes."

The lack of water also hampers the hygiene and sanitation at the school. Latrines and classrooms are rarely cleaned due to the need to ration the daily water supply. Students often do not wash their hands after going to the bathroom - increasing their risk of contracting an illness.

Kikuswi Secondary School is a day school that was established in 2006 as a community school sponsored by the District Education Board. The school has since grown through the community and Constituency Development Funds. It will continue to grow in the coming years, which will result in even greater need for a reliable source of water.

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 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 if managed properly. As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning!

Project Updates

August, 2019: Kikuswi Secondary School Project Complete

A new rainwater catchment system was built! Kikuswi Secondary 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.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

Kikuswi Secondary School is affiliated with the Kyamuisu 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 school water tank project is a great achievement in this school," said Principal Mule Katundu.

The Construction 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. On the other hand, we delivered 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 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.

"The 104,000-liter tank is a project that we highly value because the academic standards of our school will improve and we will also admit more students over time. Importantly, school hygiene and sanitation standards will improve due to the availability of water," explained Principal Katundu.

New Knowledge

The training was planned by the WASH Officer, Veronica Matolo who coordinated with the area field officer, Rhoda Mwangu and informed her on the scheduled date of the sanitation and hygiene training.

There were 32 males and 37 female students in attendance. The training was also graced by the attendance of a few staff members - 5 male teachers, 2 female teachers, and 2 subordinate staff members. Attendance was not as expected because some students had gone to represent the school in sports activities at a neighboring school. However, the students and staff who participated will share their new knowledge with the rest of the school.

Students learn about proper waste management

The training conditions were bearable due to the provision of shade by trees in the compound. However, there was a bit of distraction from the neighboring primary school with whom the secondary school shares a playing field as the students had come to play during their break time. But we persisted despite the disruptions.

The students were very jovial and interested in the topics of discussion throughout the training. This was observed in their participatory levels as they asked many questions and were also very ready to volunteer during the demonstrative activities such as soapmaking. Boys expressed more interest than the girls.

Handwashing demonstration

“This hygiene and sanitation training that we have had today will change our lives greatly because we will observe the hygiene of not only our bodies but also food, water, and environment," said 17-year-old student Alex Mumo.

We went over topics including:

– Student health club activities
– Disease transmission
– Preventing the spread of disease
– Keeping nails short
– Personal hygiene
– Handwashing
– Water hygiene
– Food hygiene
– Latrine hygiene
– Soapmaking

Student health club members were the ones we 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. Some of the students told us it was "the most interesting activity" they had ever done. It was interesting to them how the soap formed and how simple it was to produce it. The simplicity of the whole process mesmerized them. Everyone took turns to participate.

"We will make a business out of the knowledge acquired from soap making," said Alex.

"We have learned that we can recycle waste and out of it, make manure that can be helpful to the agriculture students, a practice that we are going to start immediately."

Students portrayed intense seriousness about the training as they also elected some members to chair their health club and ensure hygiene and sanitation are maintained in the school. The health club has a total membership of 13 students and 2 teachers. The teachers will be in charge of the club, and will always guide the students where necessary. The students also agreed that they would plan on the days when they would be meeting to discuss the hygiene and sanitation issues affecting them.

From the look of things, the students and the teachers will implement what they learned during the training.

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 3 taps so that 6 students can wash their hands at the same time.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

May, 2019: Kikuswi Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kikuswi Secondary 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: Kikuswi Secondary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kikuswi 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!

"Initially, the school had struggled to get water for use as they used to depend on contracted vendors to fetch water from the river. Donkeys often delivered the water, and it would taste like donkey urine hence dubbed half, quarter, or full donkey by the teachers and students to elaborate how the water tasted. The water was always of poor quality. Often, the delivery of water would delay or be inadequate, thereby causing the food not to be prepared well or be served late," said student Alice Vaati.

"Life has changed because the school does not spend any money on purchasing water. The water is very fresh, unlike the hard water we used to drink. It's also very clean for use. There are no more delays in the preparation of meals. Cleanliness and hygiene have improved greatly; duties are performed on time. We are pleased about the water tank. The past year has been very smooth and easy for both the students and the administration."


"The school has agriculture projects that are currently running, and thanks to water availability in the tank, they can utilize the other tank storages for these projects. As of now, there are no financial implications because there's plenty of water in school. The finances have been channeled to the maintenance of infrastructure and repairing the classrooms."

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 Kikuswi 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 Kikuswi 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.


Project Sponsor - Estate of Rebecca Bradshaw