Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 314 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School is situated in a rural set up in Machakos County, Kenya. It is surrounded by thick bushes and exotic trees - some of which have been cleared to create roads. The terrain leading to this school is a road made of clay which is relatively smooth during the dry season but quite impassable during the rainy season.

The school was established in 1974 by the community members in collaboration with the Salvation Army Church. The school began with only 2 classrooms but has expanded over time to have 2 blocks of classrooms ranging from Early Childhood Development classes to Class 8 students. Its growth to the more than 300 students today is attributed to the commitment of pupils' parents, the government, and County Development funds.

The classrooms are made of bricks with iron sheet roofing and they do not have cemented floors. The exception is the offices, whose floors are tiled. Next to the school is a secondary school that was also established by the community parents.

One thing holding back the school and its students is its lack of access to water throughout the year. The pair of 10,000-liter tanks on the school grounds are not nearly big enough for a school this size. Once the water in these tanks is completely drained, the students are often sent out of class to fetch water in a nearby earth dam.

"At times, we even fail to do our homework because when we leave school we have to go looking for water to avoid being punished the following day. We are always tired in the morning when we carry the water-filled jerrycans," said Faith, a student at the school.

The water from the earth dam is visibly muddy and very dirty as it is open to various contaminants from the area. It is also a favored drinking spot for livestock in the area, thus exposing the students to risks of contracting diseases through the water. Other pathogens in the water include animal waste, farm chemicals, and human waste - among others - which can lead to the contraction of water-related diseases.

Students have reported cases of stomachaches, diarrhea, and headaches after drinking water from the open dam. As a result, they have been known to miss school while seeking care and going to the hospital.

"Water scarcity is and has always been a major challenge hindering the development of this school. We strain parents to ensure their children carry water every day to school because we are unable to constantly provide for them; as a result, our academic performance is not improving," said Head Teacher Matthew Mbau.

The water that the students are expected to carry to school is usually not clean either, and one student complained that she attained a rash from the water.

The school's lack of water has led to frequent class disruptions and lots of missed class time. Cleanliness and sanitation in the school have been a problem and very hard to achieve; the latrines are rarely washed and the students do not have a handwashing culture. These factors combine to play a major role in the fecal to oral transmission of diseases at Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School.

"When we get water, a lot of learning time will be saved. We will not be thirsty during class time and our academic performance will improve," Faith said to our team.

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 1 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

3 handwashing stations will be delivered at the project’s completion. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 4 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

May, 2020: Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School Rain Tank Construction Complete!

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

Kavyuni Salvation Army 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.

While Kenyan schools remain closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these new water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities will be ready and waiting for the students' return. We installed handwashing stations, and we will train students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Once classes resume, we look forward to seeing all of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives. Our teams will return to paint the tank, and we will schedule a training session with students, teachers, and parents. Topics to be covered include establishing a student health club; disease transmission and prevention; personal, water, food, and latrine hygiene; handwashing; and soapmaking.

We will be sure to reach back out to you with more news and photos from the training and handing-over ceremony of the rain tank once schools reopen!

The Rain Tank Construction Process

Before schools closed, 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.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2020: Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School in Kenya 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!

A Year Later: Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School

September, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Baraka. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

“Before the construction of this water tank, we used to carry jerrycans of water to school every day for cleaning the classrooms, latrines and watering the plants in the school compound. I used to walk for a very long distance to fetch water because we also did not have a lot of water at home. At times I would arrive to school very late, and this attracted a slight punishment from the teachers. I did not like it. Walking for the long distances in the morning to fetch water also made me very exhausted by the time I arrived at school.”

“Now, I enjoy coming to school in the morning because I do not have to carry jerrycans of water. In the past year, I have been arriving at school on time and I can proudly say I have not been punished at all, which makes me very happy. The tank holds a lot of water for the school to use. Nowadays, we wash our hands at the handwashing point with clean running water and soap at all times.”

“In the past year, we have planted trees and vegetables at the garden in the school. It looks very beautiful and appealing as compared to how it was before. I can now concentrate more in my studies. Since we started having drinking water in school, I have found myself to understand what we are being taught better and easier than I could before because I have less worries of where to fetch water for school use.”

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Kavyuni Salvation Army Primary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation