Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 467 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2019

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 09/11/2023

Project Features

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The small tank at Kamulalani Primary School is filled from multiple sources - rainwater, water fetched from scoop holes and transported by donkeys, and water brought in by students each day. The cumulative sources are not nearly enough to meet the needs of the more than 450 students here, and are unsafe for consumption. And carrying water from home is a burden on the students, many of whom live more than two kilometers away from the school.

Students spend a lot of their time in pursuit of water. This greatly affects their academic performance, as the time spent on water could otherwise have been spent in class and on personal studies.

The lack of water impacts the school in other ways, too. The school's tree planting program has stalled due to the lack of an adequate water supply to sustain such a water-intensive activity. The growth of the school has also stalled due to the rising costs of construction projects driven by the expense of acquiring water to build bricks.

It is also problematic for the health of the students while at school.

"The lack of enough water in school has led to poor conditions at the latrines as they’re rarely cleaned. The classes are always dusty, exposing us to poor hygiene conditions and an unfavorable learning environment with low levels of cleanliness," said Emanuel Musau, a student at the school.

Kamulalani Primary School is found in Kamulalani Village of Makueni County. The school is in a peaceful rural location with Kamulalani Secondary School on the left and community households to the right. The area is largely dry, characterized by low vegetation cover in the surrounding areas. The school's buildings look decent and are made of bricks and covered with iron sheets.

The school was started by local community members in 1985 through an initiative started by opinion leaders within the village who saw the need for a school to reduce the distances traveled by children. The school has since been taken up by the Kenyan government to operate as a government school and has grown as a result of support from parents and the government.

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

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!


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.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Kamulalani Primary School Project Complete!

Kamulalani 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

Kamulalani Primary is affiliated with the Kipico Self-Help Group since most of its members’ children attend here. These parents and the 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 with 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.

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.

New Knowledge

The WaSH officer in charge of the Makueni region, Christine Lucas, contacted the school's deputy head teacher and informed him about the scheduled hygiene and sanitation training at the school.

When our teams arrived, some 376 students (189 boys and 187 girls) and 17 teachers (6 male and 11 females) were in attendance. The training was conducted within the school compound at the assembly grounds. The students sat under the school trees which provided sufficient shade for all the students. On the training day, the weather was very cold and windy but, despite the unfavorable conditions, the environment was conducive for the training.

Students at the training

The students were very active in the entire training session. Their curiosity and enthusiasm to learn were very impressive as they were very inquisitive and jovial. Both boys and girls were active throughout the training. The demonstrative activities were more lively because it involved the student's participation completely.

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.

The pupils were divided into 4 groups. Each group was taken through a demonstration on how to wash their hands. After the demonstration, the pupils were given an opportunity to compete with each other on who would demonstrate the handwashing techniques they learned correctly. The top 3 pupils were awarded extra packets of cookies. The competition made the training interesting to the pupils.

Handwashing demonstration

In an open discussion, the pupils were taken through various routes of disease transmission. Posters with different drawings were used to help the pupils understand. During the discussion, some pupils admitted to practicing open defecation due to a lack of knowledge of the effects it has on their health.

After the training, they all promised to stop the practice. The students were also taken through various ways of blocking disease transmission routes. It was agreed upon that the cheapest method of controlling the transmission of diseases was handwashing with soap and ash. They then learned how to make their own soap!

This topic of discussion was interesting because the students participated throughout the training. They enjoyed reading the charts and stirring the soap during the soapmaking activity. Every student wanted a turn! The activity really excited them.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

August, 2019: Kamulalani Primary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kamulalani 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 the community 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!


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