Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 232 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/21/2024

Project Features

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Nguluma Primary School was started in 2009 by parents, but was soon absorbed by the government through the District Education Board. Currently, the school only gets funds from the government.

The school is located in a rural area that is calm and peaceful. This creates a conducive learning environment for the students. Some of the school structures are built in a modern fashion, as they are built of bricks and new iron sheets. Other classrooms are built by bricks but they are incomplete and have no doors and lack windowpanes. Some classes have concrete floors while others have earthen floors.

There is a water kiosk and an unprotected well that the school uses to meet the water needs of its 220 students. The water is scarce because the whole community depends on the sources and they run out very fast. Most water sources are seasonal and can only serve the school for a short period of time. Once the water runs out at these sources, the students are expected to carry water to school.

"It is required of us to carry water to school when the water runs out and it is usually very hard. We get very exhausted. There's a lot of time wasted when we are sent from class to go and fetch water for cooking," said Damaris Mawia Joseph, a student at the school.

Furthermore, neither of the sources are safe for drinking. Water from these sources needs to be treated because they are all exposed to contaminants. The unprotected well is not covered so it is exposed to open defecation, reckless animal activity, improper waste disposal among others. On the other hand, the water kiosk has water that might have contaminants such as rust.

Drinking untreated water exposes the students to risks of contracting waterborne diseases, stomachaches, and diarrhea. A lot of learning time is wasted when the students are sent to fetch water during class time.

"When water in the school tanks end, the school buys water from vendors; the water that is brought is usually very salty, making it unsuitable for drinking," said Damaris.

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!

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.


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.

Project Updates

March, 2020: Nguluma Primary School Project Complete!

Nguluma 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.

"Our school has received a major boost by having been beneficiaries of this water project. We are all happy now that we shall be looking at water challenges as a problem of the past," shared Zipporah Kathenge, Deputy Head Teacher of the school.

"Our pupils and parents will no longer be required to carry water to school as it has been in the past. This will give the students more time to concentrate on academic-related affairs and improve our school's performance."

Nguluma Primary School is affiliated with the Katalwa Jipe Moyo 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.

Rain Tank

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

The field officer in charge of projects within Nzeluni, Paul Musau, informed the school leadership of the plans to hold a training at the school. The School Head then informed the teachers to mobilize pupils from their respective classes.

The total attendees for the training included 88 females and 83 males making a total of 171 participants. The training was held inside a classroom because it was very sunny and the school did not have any trees that would provide shade to accommodate all of the participants. The training went on uninterrupted and all topics were covered.

We covered topics including student health club activities; disease transmission; preventing the spread of disease; personal hygiene; handwashing; water hygiene; food hygiene; latrine hygiene; and soapmaking.

Pupils from this school were very active in participation, perhaps even more so than we expected. They were mentally aggressive and asked a lot of questions and participated well in all activities from the start to the end. No gender participated more than the other. We were very impressed with this group's dedication and attention to training.

“This training will change our lives in a great way because all that has been taught today is all about behaviors that will help prevent diseases. For instance, we are going to start practicing hygiene behaviors like handwashing with soap at all times," said Tina, a student at the school.


"We will also educate our siblings on the importance of having and using latrines so as to prevent contamination of our water sources and food to prevent fecal-oral route diseases.”

This group of participants will easily adopt the content trained, reported our hygiene officer. They seemed very interested and dedicated. The participation by all of the pupils and teachers said a lot about the implementation of what was trained.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Nguluma Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Nguluma Primary School drains time, energy, and health from students 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!


1 individual donor(s)