Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 165 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/13/2024

Project Features

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The more than 150 students at Kwa Kyelu Primary School bring small containers filled with water each day. The students leave their containers outside of the classrooms so that it can be used to meet the school's various needs - from water to cook vegetables for lunch to water for cleaning classrooms. Some pupils also carry a second small container to use for drinking water.

The children are required to bring water to school. This is a burden for them because the water must be carried in addition to their school bag and firewood for the school kitchen.

To make matters worse, the water they bring is unsafe for human consumption. Students and their parents collect water from open scoop holes in the Tyaa riverbed. Most families have to travel more than two kilometers to get this water to meet their daily needs. During the dry season, people must travel even further to get water.

This water is dirty and open to contamination from animal waste and nearby farm runoff. This exposes the school community to various health risks and waterborne diseases that come with drinking unsafe water.

"Life in this school is not easy," said Teacher Alice Muthie.

"The prevailing conditions here are below average because we lack a reliable clean water supply. The water brought by the students has been endangering the health of the school community members."

School facilities such as latrines and classes are very dirty because the school lacks water. This exposes students to poor learning conditions.

About the School

Kwa Kyelu Primary School was started in the year 1987 by local community members from Kwa Kyelu Village of Kitui County.  The school was later taken up by the government to operate under the Migwani District Education Board. The school has no formal sponsors and has grown through the support of parents, the Kitui County Government, and the national government.

The school is found in a peaceful, rural area that is dry. Most of the school's buildings look old.

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

December, 2019: Kwa Kyelu Primary School Project Complete!

Kwa Kyelu 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 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.

Rain Tank

Kwa Kyelu Primary School is affiliated with the Tyaa Tito 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.

"We are very happy to have been beneficiaries of this important water project. It is an amazing project that will go down to help future generations within this community through the provision of clean water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning while in school," said Alice Muthie, a senior teacher at the school.

"We would like to thank the donors and ask them to keep on doing the good work."

The Process

A meeting with all of the parents and the Head Teacher was 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.

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

Our sanitation and hygiene officer communicated with regional field officer Paul Musau and informed him of the need for a training at Kwa Kyelu Primary School. The field officer further visited the school and engaged the school leadership with the aim of agreeing on the best possible date to hold the training. They settled on a date and all school teachers and pupils were notified of the training and invited to attend.

All 170 of the school pupils attending the training and were joined by 9 teachers. The training was held at a Baptist church building which is located within the school premises. The choice was guided by its ability to hold all the attending pupils and teachers under 1 roof. It was was a conducive venue for everyone with the prevailing conditions favorable for a smooth learning process.

The level of participation from the attending pupils and staff was really good. Students were excited to learn new concepts on hygiene and sanitation. Students from the lower classes were more involved as they posed numerous questions and remained attentive throughout the training period.

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.

After the session on disease transmission routes, the students understood that it is very important to maintain hygiene in all aspects of daily activities - especially washing hands during critical moments, water treatment, environmental protection from pollutants and contaminants, and food hygiene.

"The training has been very good and educative to all of us. We have learned new concepts that will make our stay in school and at home even better, such as the importance of handwashing, disease prevention, and soapmaking," said Alice, an 11-year-old student.

Handwashing is the cheapest way to prevent diarrhea and other hygiene-related diseases. The pupils were taken through a demonstration on how to wash hands. Critical moments to wash hands were also emphasized during the discussion.

Students found this interesting and special as it is something they had been ignoring without previously understanding the extent it could go toward helping them maintain good health and preventing disease contraction.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

October, 2019: Kwa Kyelu Primary School project underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kwa Kyelu 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!


2 individual donor(s)