Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/14/2024

Project Features

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Ndithi Primary School is found in Ndithi village of Kitui County, Kenya. The locality is a rural and peaceful location with the school being found on a small piece of land shared with Ndithi Secondary School. The school has a playground, classroom blocks, a school kitchen, and a staff room.

Ndithi Primary School was started by the Ndithi community in 1968 to help provide education to the children of the locality. The school was later taken up by the Mwingi District Education Board to operate as a government-supported school. The school has grown through support from parents and the government to host more than 200 students today.

On a normal school day, a student is expected to arrive at school by 6:45 am carrying a jerrycan of water to share with the school and other students throughout the day.

Students are burdened with the task of carrying water to school every day with a majority of them doing so in addition to carrying their school bag. This also means they have to spend the time and energy seeking out a water source in the morning to get the water.

"We are an old school that has failed to grow because of the lack of a reliable water source. We have always wanted a boarding section so as to improve on performance but lack of a reliable water source is the biggest challenge," explained Deputy Head Teacher Justus Mbuvi.

The school routine has in the past been halted after the school sent children to the river in the middle of the school day to bring water for their cooking and drinking needs.

This leads to the reduction of the time allocated for academic affairs, thus affecting school performance. Cases of absenteeism are on the rise due to the challenge of students carrying water to school.

"No extensions are made in the evening to cater for the time lost fetching water. The water is not always clean and sometimes it is colored, but we survive on it due to the lack of alternative options," said Mwikali, a student at the school.

Rain Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rain tank for this school. 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

June, 2021: Ndithi Primary School Project Complete!

Ndithi Primary 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. In addition, 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.

"Now that this water project will address all our water needs in school, I will no longer be required to carry water to school every morning like it has been the case over the years. I will now be walking to school less tired and fresher to concentrate more in class," said student Mwikali M.

"I will be more healthy in school as I will be drinking water from a trusted source and regular hand washing with clean water and soap. I am looking forward to an improvement in my personal grades because much of my time initially spent on water and school routine interruptions will now be channeled to my academic affairs."

Rain Tank Construction Process

First, we held a meeting with all parents and the school Head Teacher to plan the project. The 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 because of a large student population and how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya. Therefore, the more water the tank can store during the seasonal rains, the more water will be available through the dry months for the students.

Construction for this large rain tank is much like the construction of a concrete house. First, we leveled the ground for foundation excavation. Next, we laid alternating layers of impermeable rocks and mortar up to 7 feet high, with internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet, respectively.

We built a reinforced concrete column right up the tank’s center, which holds up the roof and prevents it from caving in. We then plastered the walls both internally and externally with waterproof cement. After that, we installed several feet of guttering and channeled them into the tank. Finally, we installed the roofing, made of iron sheets and timber with 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 together we will identify gaps through our ongoing monitoring visits.

"Our life will be changed by this water project. I will now have unlimited access to clean drinking water while in school alongside fellow teachers. This was never possible in the past because of a lack of reliable water source for the school population which prompted teachers to carry their own water to school," said Deputy Head Teacher Justus Mbuvi.

"We are planning to embark on a massive tree planting to beautify our school and also create a school garden and grow vegetables for learners and staff meals."

Handwashing Stations

We delivered three new handwashing stations in time for training to be used for handwashing demonstrations. Each of these new stations has three taps so that nine students can wash their hands simultaneously.

New Knowledge

The area field officer Patrick Musyoka helped in mobilizing for the training through reaching the school headteacher. The training was held under a tree within the school compound. There was enough shade to accommodate all the attending members while the weather of the day was good which made the venue conducive for learning.

The attendance was as expected. More than 218 students took part in the training.

We trained on a variety of health, hygiene, and sanitation topics. These included student health club activities, disease transmission and prevention, personal hygiene, handwashing, water hygiene, food hygiene, latrine hygiene, and soap making.

The disease transmission topic was particularly notable. During this discussion, pupils were encouraged to always use latrines and avoid open defecation by all means to avoid contamination of food and water sources. During this topic, pupils were asked by a show of hands who does not have latrines at their homesteads. One pupil confidently rose his hand. He was very honest and other pupils took notice of how he was not ashamed of accepting that they do not have latrines at his home.

"This training will impact us positively since we have gained a lot of knowledge as far as hygiene and sanitation is concerned. We are breaking for our holiday next week and that will give us an opportunity to share with our friends from the neighboring schools, and our siblings as well," said student Masaa K.

Mixing Soap

Thank you for making all of this possible!

March, 2021: Ndithi Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ndithi Primary School drains student's time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Please 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: Improved Income and Food Security!

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ndithi 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!

"We had to carry water in jerrycans to school under the scorching sun for several kilometers," said 13-year-old Lucy M., a student at Ndithi Primary School, when recalling what life was like before a rain tank was installed at her school last year. "The water extracted from open scoop holes was contaminated and led to infections such as typhoid, stomachaches, amoeba, and dysentery."

"Due to the insufficient water, we had to drink the little available water to quench our thirst which, negatively affected attention and concentration during lessons," said Lucy.

But the rain tank installed on her school campus has made a dramatic difference for Lucy since then.

"I now have enough water to drink and wash my hands, thanks to the implemented water project," said Lucy. "I am also no longer exposed to water-related infections which ensures [my] optimum health; thus, I can come to school every day."

Not only does Lucy have sufficient water to drink now, but she also has more energy since she no longer has to walk long distances while carrying heavy containers full of water.

"I also do not have to carry water to school anymore and I have devoted all my energy and time to improving my grades," said Lucy. "This water point has improved my capacity to achieve better grades that will allow me to be selected to a better secondary school in my quest to become a doctor someday."

In addition to excelling in school, Lucy has also been able to share the information she is learning at school with her family.

"The implemented project has helped me study and practice agriculture because there is enough water to irrigate the crops. I have shared that knowledge with my parents so that they can improve their source of income and food security," concluded Lucy.

Lucy at the rain tank with a classmate.

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 Ndithi 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 Ndithi 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.


2 individual donor(s)