Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 183 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/19/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Mutwaathi Secondary School is found in a peaceful, rural location in Mutwaathi village in Southeastern Kenya. The school is situated on a small piece of land which hosts the school's 5 classes, kitchen, farm, staff room, and latrines.

Mutwaathi Secondary School was started in 2015 by the local community. Parents of students in Mutwaathi's primary section felt the need for a secondary school in the area as their children had been traveling for long distances to other villages to access a secondary education.

The 183 students that attend today are supported by their parents and the government. Students arrive in school at 6:45 am and attend morning preps up to 8:00 am. The school day continues until 4:00 pm and then the students have an hour to play games before going home for dinner.

The school contracts donkey vendors to supply water for their daily needs. The water comes from a local hand-dug well that is not a safe resource for water. The donkeys defecate near the well and it does not have a pump, so it is opened up and exposed to contamination every time someone wants to get water.

The school has spent a lot of money contracting the water vendors - an expense that is adding up to the detriment of the school. School staff say that the school is being held back since they have to spend money getting water rather than investing in the school and its students.

"Our school is really struggling with water access and getting a reliable water source. The current source has been expensive and unreliable at times, which is partly accountable for our slow growth and failure to start a boarding session, especially for the girls who travel from far areas," said Principal Kyalo.

Students are also impacted. Pupil James told us that the water challenges that face the school have affected his experience here over the past 3 years. Lunch is often late due to water supply issues, leaving the students hungry through their afternoon classes.

"We are also not getting enough drinking water while in school leading to some discomfort in class," he said. Dehydration and constipation are uncomfortably common companions.

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

A total of 3 handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 3 taps each, allowing 9 students to wash their hands at once. 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

February, 2021: Mutwaathi Secondary School Project Complete!

Mutwaathi 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. 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.

"I am happy now we will be having clean water for drinking while in school, which is something new. There will be no more late meals, and this will help in the observation of school routine while creating more time to concentrate in class affairs which is the main reason for being in school," said Musyoki, a student.

"With enough water from this water tank, the school facilities can now be cleaned more regularly. This will create a conducive learning environment in school that can be replicated through good results and improved school hygiene and sanitation standards. Our science lab will also have enough water, and students can engage in practicals without limitations on the water, which is good," he said.

Rain Tank

We held a meeting with all of the school parents and the headteacher 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 are installed and channeled into the tank. The roofing is made of iron sheets and timber with vents to let rainwater into the tank from the gutters.

The 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.

New Knowledge

The area Field Officer Paul Musau organized the training in collaboration with the school Principal and regional WASH Officer Veronica Matolo. Once we agreed on the best suitable date, the teachers helped mobilize the entire school population for the training.

The training was held within the school compound under some available trees, which acted as shade during the training time. The venue had enough space to accommodate all the attending people, and the environment was conducive for learning.

The attendance was as expected. This is because all the students and teachers present in school that day attended the training. We believe their attendance and cooperation was a direct result of teachers' strong communication about the training at school.


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

We discussed the things that can be done to improve on personal hygiene like bathing, toothbrushing, grooming hair, among keeping nails short, among other practices. Students recognized the activity as an important one because it was discussed openly, and all understood the importance of personal hygiene.

Handwashing demonstration

"This training will help us improve personal hygiene, food, water, and environmental sanitation and help us reduce disease incidences. Soapmaking knowledge will help us economically, especially in school fee payment, through making it ourselves or teaching our parents how to do it. It will also help us improve hygiene here in school and also at home,” said Sammy, a student at the school.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2021: Mutwaathi Secondary School project underway!

Students at Mutwaathi Secondary School do not have a reliable source for water on school grounds. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point at the school 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: Less Illness, More Time to Study!

March, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mutwaathi 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!

Dennis K., an 18-year-old student at Mutwaathi Secondary School, shared, "Before the construction of this water point, we encountered a myriad of water shortage issues. For instance, our school's environment had few trees or flowers because we lacked sufficient water to irrigate them. Our classes, dormitories, and washrooms also suffered from poor hygiene because we only had two tanks, which were not enough to improve the school's hygiene."

But since installing a large rainwater catchment system at the school last year, things have been different. Dennis continued, "This waterpoint has improved our school's status quo in terms of tree cover and hygiene. We now have enough trees that provide shade during our outdoor meetings or other occasions because there is enough water to irrigate them. I am happy and more comfortable to learn because of the clean environment. We have also managed to plant fruit trees that supplement our school's diet, thanks to this water point."

There have been plenty of benefits for Dennis, but less illness and more time to study are at the top of the list. He concluded, "I am now less prone to contract any water-related infection because this water point offers clean water to drink and cook. The meals are also prepared on time because the water is nearby, which gives me more time to focus on my studies. Thus, my academic performance has also improved."

Dennis enjoys a drink with his classmate and principal.

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 Mutwaathi 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 Mutwaathi 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.


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