Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/10/2024

Project Features

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Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School is found in Kamuthale Village in the Mumoni sub-county on Kitui County, Kenya. The area is generally rural with flat terrain. Presently, it boasts a population of more than 180 students.

The school was established in the year 1988 by the local Kamuthale residents who felt the need for a school in their community as their children had been traveling for long distances in search of secondary education. The school has grown through support from the Mwingi North Constituency Fund, the national government, and parents' support.

The main water source for the school is a community borehole that is piped to the school grounds. But it is not a reliable source of water, nor does it produce enough water for the students. The borehole experiences regular breakages and failures which has led the school to send students out of class to get water - leading to a reduction in the amount of time spent in pursuit of academic excellence.

When there is water, the boarding students are limited to 10 liters of water per day. That is half of what the United Nations says is the minimum amount of water needed per day per student.

"Life in school has not been easy. I am required to survive on a maximum of 10 liters of water for cleaning and bathing per day which is way below what I need," said Carol, a student at the school.

"Sometimes we are required to walk to the community borehole in the evening and fetch water which greatly affects the school routine and affects our academic efforts."

Buying water has been expensive for the school. It currently spends some 300,000 KSh ($3,000) per year in water bills and to support the borehole when it breaks down. A lack of adequate water supply has led to the slow growth of the school, thus making it less popular among potential parents and students.

"Many teachers are discouraged from staying with our school because of the water challenges," said Principal Solomon Muia.

Rain Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rain tank for this school, making the others look tiny in comparison. Because of how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya, this tank's large volume is designed to store as much water as possible during the seasonal rains, making more water available through the dry months. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff.

Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, including sand, stones, and water. They will also lend their strength and time to help with the construction. We will complement their materials with a skilled artisan to lead the project in addition to providing the tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.

As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin collecting rainwater for the school's use.


We will train students and staff on sanitation, hygiene, and other topics 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 rain tank and handwashing stations.

Handwashing Stations

3 handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 4 taps each. The student health club and school management will be responsible for making sure the tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is always available.

Project Updates

May, 2021: Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School update from the field

The water tank at Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School was completed in 2020 when schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the students returned to class, they returned to a school with a reliable source of water. Our team recently visited the school as a part of our quarterly monitoring program.

Here are a few pictures from the visit:

February, 2021: Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School Project Complete!

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

Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary 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.

"I will now have unlimited access to clean water while in school. It is a dream come true for all of us as students," declared teenaged student Paul.

We installed handwashing stations, and we trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. These components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"Having access to clean water while in school will improve our living standards here. Many teachers will be attracted to living within the school compound because of the water, which was not available before," shared Principal Stephen Muia.

Principal Muia

"I now feel happier, healthier, and more secure being in this school in such times of adequate water supply."

Rain Tank

A meeting with all of the parents and the headteacher 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 tank's center, 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 can be identified through our ongoing monitoring visits.

Handwashing Stations

Three new handwashing stations were delivered in time for training to be used for handwashing demonstrations. Each of these has three taps so that nine students can wash their hands at the same time.

Students use the new handwashing stations. (Training took place before physical distancing)

New Knowledge

The school was informed about the planned hygiene and sanitation training two weeks in advance. The training was conducted in the school dining hall. The hall had adequate space, which was enough to accommodate all 206 participants. All the students present on that day attended the training in addition to several teachers, marking the event as a big success. The weather was sunny and the environment was conducive for learning.

We went over topics including student health club activities, disease transmission, preventing disease spread, personal hygiene; handwashing; water hygiene; food hygiene; latrine hygiene, and soap making.

(Training took place before physical distancing)

The participants were taken through a discussion on how water can be contaminated through the water cycle from the source via transportation to the household to the stomach. The participants learned that some of their actions might contaminate the water they drink. This discussion was followed by another one on how to reduce water contamination in the water chain.

Students listen during the training (Training took place before physical distancing)

"As students, we are happy today for the training. It will help us better our hygiene and sanitation skills, especially in avoiding some diseases associated with water contamination like typhoid and cholera," said
Paul after the training.

"As students, we are now in a better position to educate the society on the importance of good hygiene and sanitation."

Student mixes soap

The most popular topic was the soapmaking exercise. Our team guided the students through all the steps to make soap at home. The students joined in and helped mix the chemicals to make the liquid soap.

"The soap making training will enable us to have soap all the time in our school for handwashing," said Paul.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2020: Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School project underway!

Dirty water is making people in Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

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: Improved Grades for a Better Future!

January, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Sylvia. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary 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!

Sylvia N., 15, a Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary School student, remarked about life before installing the rain tank last year. "We experienced a lot of water shortage, and being a girl, it was a difficult period since we could only wash our garments once or thrice weekly."

Not only did students' hygiene suffer, but the school's overall hygiene was neglected due to lack of water. "Our dormitories also suffered from poor hygiene since they could only be washed occasionally. The lack of water also meant that classes could only be swept, and we had to stay outside until the dust settled down, which reduced our academic performance."

But the new rain tank has made a difference over the past year. Sylvia shared, "This waterpoint has improved hygiene in our school, including the classes, dormitories, staffroom, and the compound at large. Also, I am now able to access clean water for drinking, and the learning environment is clean, which has reduced illnesses such as coughing. I am now able to concentrate on my studies with comfort, thus better grades for better career opportunities in [the] future."

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 Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary 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 Tyaa Kamuthale Secondary 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.