Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,317 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 06/07/2024

Project Features

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Muroni Primary School is found just off the main road, next to the Muroni Market. Sugarcane and maize plantations surround the school, in addition to some homesteads. Local community members founded the school in 1952. It serves 1,293 students and 24 teachers and staff. With such a large student population, the school's greatest challenge remains access to a sufficient and reliable supply of clean water.

The only water point in the school compound is a standpipe that is supplied by municipal water. But the tap water is only available for several hours, some days each week - there is no predictable schedule for the school to rely on. When the tap turns on, the school uses the water to fill their only water storage point - a 5,000-liter plastic tank - which is nothing compared to the high water needs of a school this size.

The intermittent water supply leaves the school in a constant cat and mouse game of a water crisis, trying to fill the tank each time the tap turns on yet finding they've run out of water often when the water does not materialize. Whenever the school finds they are without water, they have to send students out into the community to fetch it wherever possible. A commonly relied upon source for many students is an unprotected hand-dug well far off in the community. The water from this well is not safe for consumption, but it is more or less reliable, which is why the students seek it out.

Drinking contaminated water leads to water-related and waterborne illnesses among the students, driving absenteeism in the school. Students frequently report typhoid, cholera, and amoeba cases, among other illnesses, from drinking water at school. When sick, students can miss a lot of class time as they recover, while their families lose money paying for their children's expensive medical treatment.

Students miss more class time with each trip out into the community searching for water. This results in tired students, lack of focus, and lagging academic performance. Students sleeping in class is a common occurrence after trips to fetch water. Each trip out of the school compound also means students have to cross the busy road full of speeding motorbikes, risking their safety. Teachers, parents, and pupils alike fear an accident each time students are sent out.

"We miss the first school lesson when we go to the unprotected dug well to collect water. Also, sometimes the adults do not allow us to collect water at the unprotected dug well," said student Comfort, referring to the community members who are at odds with the students for their water needs.

"The school becomes unmanageable because a lot of time is used in looking for water, and the academic standards are compromised," explained teacher Peter Busolo.

What We Can Do:

Rain Tank

A 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, bricks, rocks, and water for mixing cement. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans, tools, hardware, and the guttering system. Once finished, this tank will begin catching rainfall used by the school’s students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more. And each time the tap water turns on, the school can use this large tank as a storage place for safe drinking water.

The school and we strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will help lead to better student academic performance and unlock the potential for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

The student health club will oversee the 2 new handwashing stations we will provide and ensure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

We will construct 2 triple-door latrine blocks using local materials that the school will help gather. 3 doors will serve the girls, while the other 3 will serve the boys. These new latrines will have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a 1-day intensive training session with students, teachers, and parents. This training will cover a wide range of topics, including COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use various methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and promote good hygiene practices within the school, including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

January, 2022: Muroni Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Muroni Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank! We installed new latrines and handwashing stations for students, and we trained the school on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention. These components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"The water point will help in a great way since there will be no more struggles searching for water before I go to school. Carrying water to school has also been a major challenge which always caused my late arrival in school. I'm very much happy that my study skills will take a new turn," said Comfort M., a 14-year-old girl who attends Muroni.

Comfort washing her hands with the tank's water.

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new rain tank on campus.

Head Teacher Peter Busolo, 46, shared, "Something which I have always wanted to achieve was safe and accessible water to all. I know that through this water point many pupils are saved from their daily turmoils of going to fetch water before they come to school, hence they would be accorded affordable time [to study]."

Head Teacher Peter Busolo at the tank.

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

Construction for this 75,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. The school's kitchen staff and a few parents helped provide meals for the artisans, while the school provided the artisans' accommodations. Locals helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to determine the best location for a new rain tank. This needed to be the best site with enough land and a nearby building with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Students helping.

Then, we cleared the site by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundation. We cast the foundation by laying big stones on the level ground and reinforcing them using steel wire, concrete, and waterproof cement. We affixed both the drawing pipe and the drainage pipe as we laid the foundation.

Next, we formed the walls using a skeleton of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. We attached this to the foundation's edges so that the work team could start the Ferro-cementing process. They began layering the walls with cement, alternating with the inner and outer side until six cement layers were in place. (The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first two layers of cement.)

Inside the tank, we cast one central and four support pillars to ensure the dome does not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner wall while roughcasting the outer walls. We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside the tank, installing a short staircase. In front of the access area, we constructed a soak pit where spilled water can drain from the access area through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls settled. We attached a dome skeleton of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering it using similar techniques as the wall construction. We included a small manhole cover into the dome to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

We propped long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside the tank to support the dome while it cured. Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting a lockable cover over the tap area, affixing the gutters to the roof and tank, and setting an overflow pipe in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Once finished, we gave the rain tank three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. Finally, we removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tank.

The completed tank.

We officially handed over the rain tank to the school. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. The event was an excellent chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we have given and remind them of our continued support as they develop. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Handing the tank over to students.

The Head Teacher, sanitation teacher, and school President all gave congratulatory speeches. They were overwhelmed by the completion of the project and thanked us and prayed that God would give us strength to help other schools and communities.

VIP Latrines

This project funded six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, three for the girls and three for the boys. These new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents designed to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

New Knowledge

We scheduled hygiene and sanitation training with the school's staff, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for pupils and teachers. Before we arrived at the school, we called Mr. Gabriel, the sanitation teacher, to tell him we were on our way.

Facilitators Joyce, Adelide, and Elvine led the event. 15 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in a separate classroom reserved for the training behind the school administration block.

Learning how to safely practice physical distancing.

We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

The club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community.

Eager with questions.

We involved stretches, dances, and physical activities between each topic to keep the pupils' energy up and their minds active. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were set up during training and handed over to the student health club. These were placed outside of the girls' and boys' latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, make sure the stations are filled with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

One of the most memorable topics for students was learning about water hygiene. Pupils were shocked to find out that water should only be kept for three days once it's collected in storage containers. Most of them said that their parents have been storing their drinking water for more than a week at a time.


Fridah, age 14.

Fridah C. shared her thoughts, "The training was very valuable to me because it has equipped me with very vital information that will help me create awareness [in] my fellow pupils who don't have the knowledge to make sure we're all safe."

Constantine M. said, "The training has been very valuable to me considering the fact that I have been elected as the chairperson of the [Health] Club. I will take the initiative to create awareness pertaining to the virus for my fellow pupils and community members so as to do away with misinformation that has been spreading around for their safety."

Constantine, age 12.

We asked Constantine what it was like to be at home for most of the last year due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures and what it has been like coming back to school.

He said, "I missed learning and being close to my friends and teachers most because they're always there to help me concentrate and focus more on my education."

Now that he is back to school, Constantine said, "I feel so good since I'm now close to my teachers helping me out in areas where I could not manage while at home."

When an issue arises concerning the rain tank, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2021: Muroni Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Muroni Primary 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

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: "Getting water is so much joy!"

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Muroni 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!

"For me, I can say it was a punishment every day when I used [to] come [to school] with water from home. Now we have been given [a] new school system where we also carry a lot of things from home that will be used during lessons. Carrying water and my learning tools used to hurt me very much," said 12-year-old Comfort M., who we spoke to when we initially visited the school.

But now things are different for Comfort and her classmates with a rain tank on their school campus.

"Getting water is so much joy!" said Comfort.

"I can tell you we have a very active drama and choir club. We dance a lot. If you stick around, you will see us practice after classes before we go home. after singing and dancing vigorously, we easily get water from the water tank," said Comfort.

When we asked Comfort about her plans for the future, she had only one thing on her mind—and it wasn't fetching water!

"Practice and practice and practice for the coming December competition of all the schools nationwide," Comfort said. "Since we have water to drink, we drink, relax, [and] then continue practicing. My goal is to take my team to a final competition, win, and greet the President [of] our nation, and there we have his ears to better our school."

Drinking water after dancing.

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 Muroni 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 Muroni 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.


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