Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 259 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/03/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Kangutha primary school is found in a silent rural setting, bordering a hill near the school. The local area has a low vegetation cover occasioned by the prolonged dry periods and low rainfall. The school was started by Kangutha village community in 1990 who felt the need for a school in their village due to the long distances traveled by their children to access other schools at Malioni and waita.

Today, more than 250 students attend the school that features 8 classrooms, a staff room and administration block, playing ground, children latrines and a temporary kitchen because the roof on the permanent kitchen was recently blown away by the wind.

The main source of water for the school community are scoop holes dug at Kitwa Mikeu river. The parents and students are required to carry water to school each day since there is no source on the school grounds. The water that they collect is then pooled into large containers. Water from the scoop holes is shared by human beings and animals and open to contamination. It also looks dirty, noted our teams after visiting the school, and the water is unfit for human consumption.

"Our school lacks an adequate supply of water for drinking and other activities, pupils and parents are always required to bring water to school which bothers them very much as they should be concentrating on academic-related activities," said Head Teacher Cirus Ireri.

School routine has been affected on many occasions because of total water supply failure thus derailing meals and other academic programs being halted for students to go looking for water. Getting clean drinking water has been a problem for the school community.

"Some of our classes have no cemented floors, water challenges have created dusty classrooms which are unfavorable for the young kids to concentrate well in class," said Head Teacher Ireri.

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 at 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

March, 2020: Kangutha Primary School Project Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into place.

Kangutha 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.

"We are very happy as a school, and our pupils and parents are even happier for having been beneficiaries of this amazing water facility," said Head Teacher Cirus Ireri.

"Being a needy school, this project will boost our ability to attract more pupils and concentrate on academics as our pupils will no longer be required to carry water to school. Thank you."

Rain Tank

Kangutha Primary School is affiliated with the Kyandani 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. 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

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

Our field staff coordinated with the school to schedule a hygiene and sanitation training with the students. Nearly 200 students and staff attended the event. The training was held under a tree in the school compound but it did not provide enough shade to completely accommodate all of the staff and students for the hours that the training took. We made do with the setting, however, and pressed on.

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.

All of the attending students participated well in the training, remaining attentive throughout the sessions and taking notes for future reference and reading. Pupils from the lower classes were, however, more interested in learning the concepts taught compared to their counterparts in other classes, reported our staff.

Handwashing demonstration

“This training will be of great importance to us as it will change our lives in a great number of ways. We will not be getting sick so often as it has been the case, especially with diarrhea problems because we now know that germs cause diseases and especially when we take contaminated food and water," said student Kasyoka.

Mixing soap

The soapmaking activity was found to be special by both students and their teachers because it was a new idea to them and they were very impressed. The principal said that together with the students they will utilize that knowledge in ensuring that they make enough soap to sustain them for a whole term, thus saving the money that they have been using to buy soap and investing in other improvements at the school.

"We will improve on our habits of handwashing because we have been brought handwashing tanks that we promise to keep filled with water and make use of them throughout the year," said Kasyoka.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

March, 2020: Kangutha Primary School underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kangutha 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!


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation