Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 313 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Every school day, the 313 students at Maviume Primary School arrive by 7 am ready for school. Books are in one hand as the other holds a container full of water. Since there is no reliable source of water at the school, the students must bring water each day that is gathered from scoop holes at the Kikuu River, which is more than two kilometers from most households.

This places an extra burden on the learners who also carry a school bag and at times firewood. This has led to tiredness and poor concentration levels in the class.

Cases of waterborne diseases have been reported among pupils. It is caused by the fact that the water they drink is obtained from an open and unsafe source. The school's plan to start a boarding wing has been greatly hampered by the inadequate water supply. Furthermore, the feeding program at the school faces numerous water challenges leading to disruptions in school routine. This has contributed to the loss of much needed academic time due to the fact that students are both not getting the nutrition they need and often are sent out to fetch water when there is a shortage.

"Our school has suffered numerous water challenges. Pupils and parents are involved in fetching water for the school which should not be the case," said Headteacher Benjamin Kasimu.

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.

About the school

Maviaume Primary School was started by local community members in 1974, when one of the locals donated a piece of land for the school to be built. Finances were sourced from community members for the construction of the first classrooms.

The school is found on the slopes of Nzaui Hills in Makueni. The terrain is hilly and this peaceful rural area has little vegetation cover as the region experiences prolonged dry periods throughout the year. The majority of the buildings are made of bricks and covered with iron sheets, while some are made of just mud.

The school operates as a government facility under the Nzaui District Education Board with no formal sponsors, and has grown through the support of parents, the Makueni Constituency Development Fund, and the federal government.

Project Updates

March, 2020: Maviaume Primary School Project Complete!

Maviaume 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 3 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 will no longer have to carry jerrycans of water on a daily basis which was very exhausting for them. The availability of water in the school will ensure the routines flow smoothly and the school environment is conducive for the students," said Benjamin Kasimu, the Head Teacher of the school.

Rain Tank

Maviaume Primary School is affiliated with the Kakwa 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.

The parents of this school community were very cooperative during the construction period and their turn out was very commendable. There were no challenges experienced to hinder the normal construction process.

Construction for this large rain tank is much like the construction of a 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.

The management of this school water tank is entirely upon the school administration. They are equipped with all of the necessary skills such as technical and practical skills. In the case of any issues, the management can work to ensure they are handled. However, if there are any problems beyond their capabilities, they will contact us and our constructions team will respond with immediate effect.

Handwashing Stations

3 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 9 students can wash their hands at the same time.

New Knowledge

The sanitation and hygiene training was planned by Judith Kanini and the area field officer Jeff Maluki. The field officer was informed about the training a few weeks before its occurrence to allow for preparation. He visited the school to notify the head teacher on the training date so that he could mobilize the students to attend.

Our team arrived to find 340 students and 13 teachers in a large classroom ready for the training. The weather was relatively warm but we ensured all of the windows were open to create a proper flow of fresh air and to reduce stuffiness.

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 training will help us take full charge of the society in terms of educating the community on the risks of open defecation and how to block the transmission routes of some of the infectious diseases. As we continue practicing handwashing during critical moments, we will improve and maintain proper hygiene and sanitation,” said Mercy, a pupil at the school.

The students' high level of participation and willingness to learn was high. The training extended beyond the scheduled time because the pupils asked many questions, showed a lot of concern with each topic, and contributed positively throughout the session. The teachers were very organized and collaborative and this too helped in conducting a seamless and interesting day.

"The soapmaking process is very new to us and we have enjoyed learning it because we can earn some income through it. The money earned can be used to cater to basic needs at home and at school," a student reflected after training.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Maviaume Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Maviaume Primary School drains time, energy, and health from people here. 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 Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation