Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 289 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/28/2022

Project Features

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St. Paul Waita Secondary School was started by the Catholic Diocese of Kitui through St. Paul Waita Catholic Church in 1979. The school has grown to support more than 250 students through support from the church, the government, and the Mwingi Central Constituency Development Fund.

The area around the school is a rural location with relatively flat terrain. The school compound is made up of significant vegetation cover made of exotic tree species planted by the school community.

The main water source for the school is a municipal piped water system into the schoolyard. The water is subject to a rationing system, however, which means it is only available within the school a few days a week. On the days when there is no water, the school depends on buying water from vendors and boozers.

"For the last 3 years I have been a student here and the water is never enough to meet all of our personal cleanliness needs," said Gabriel, a student at the school.

Buying water is expensive for the school with a high budget always allocated for water purchases each year. This has led to the slow growth of the school due to the inability to invest in infrastructure upgrades.

"Our school is a full boarding school, but the lack of adequate water supply is always holding us back in terms of attracting top students and top teachers," explained Deputy Principal Magret Mulatya.

The available water is highly rationed and never meets the needs of the school population. Students get just 10 liters of water per day - half of what the UN says is the minimum needed for a boarding student.

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 3 taps each so that 9 students can wash their hands at once. 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

05/17/2021: Waita Secondary School update from the field

The water tank at Waita 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:

11/12/2020: St. Paul Waita Secondary School Project Complete!

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

St. Paul Waita Secondary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which can collect 104,000 liters of water. 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.

"Access to adequate, clean water while in school  - all the time, without limits - will lead to increased levels of hygiene and sanitation in terms of personal cleanliness and school facilities' cleanliness," said John, a 16-year-old student at the school.

"A lot of time will also be saved that was initially spent queueing in search of water at the water points. This time can be utilized for personal studies and classwork."

Rain Tank

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 will be available through the dry months.

Before breaking ground, 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.

Rocks gathered by parents. (before physical distancing)

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 with vents to allow rainwater into the tank from the gutters.

(before physical distancing)

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.

"This project will be essential in providing water for us members of staff and students while in school. I will now be able to access more water easily while residing at the staff quarters, which will lead to being settled and thus attending more classes during the saved time," said Deputy Principal Margret Mulatya.

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.

New Knowledge

Austin Mumo, the field officer in charge of the Waita region, contacted the school principal a week before and informed him about the planned sanitation and hygiene training. The school principal then told the school population (students and teachers) and invited them to the training.

Students at the training. (before physical distancing)

The venue for this training was the school's dining hall which was enormous and had adequate space to accommodate everyone. The weather was cold at the time of training, so the environment was generally conducive to learning. The training went on smoothly.

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.

Handwashing demonstration. (before physical distancing)

Handwashing was a topic of particular interest among the students. The demonstration was done in turns whereby each class from form one to form four had its turn. Clean water and soap were used during the demonstration. During the discussion on this topic, the students opened up about a disease outbreak that had hit the school the previous week. One hundred students and two teachers were affected and sent home for further treatment.

The students were thrilled to learn that many infections could be prevented through handwashing, which is a simple method to practice. Handwashing with soap at critical times was encouraged. This made the topic memorable as the students were afraid of future infections and were determined to prevent them.

Soap making (before physical distancing)

"The training was very helpful. It has come at the time we needed it following the outbreak of an infection within our school. I believe the problem has been solved now. The soap making training was also excellent. It will help us improve our hygiene and sanitation within the school," said John, a student at the school.

"We will also teach others how to make soap. We can also use the soap making idea as an income-generating activity in the future once we finish school."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

09/10/2020: St Paul Waita Secondary School

A severe clean water shortage at St Paul Waita Secondary 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

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.

A Year Later: "We Look Smart!"

November, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Paul Waita Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Grace. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Paul Waita 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!

According to Principal Archippus Mwinzi, life at St. Paul Waita Secondary School before the installation of their rain tank was difficult. There were both "serious water shortages" and a lot of "tension when there [was] no water among the students."

But now? "Currently, there are no issues because water is available," Archippus said. "Sanitation has improved."

He also mentioned that the school's agriculture students have benefitted greatly from the rain tank. They have been able to set up a thriving school garden.

Grace W., 18, explained how her life has changed from a year ago. "Water was a problem, especially for washing [and] doing general cleaning for the boarders on weekends. We used to scramble for water."

"We no longer fight for water," Grace concluded. "We also look smart because of water availability!"

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 St. Paul Waita 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 St. Paul Waita 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!


United Way of the Bay Area
Facebook Donations
North Dunedin Baptist Church
The Clorox Company
Pashka's Campaign for Water
CONVOS Water Project
Fighting the water crisis
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SHEWS Campaign for Water
Well-Made World

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14 individual donor(s)