Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 86 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/12/2024

Project Features

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Kwa Maluvyu Primary School is located in a remote rural area in Kathonzweni ward of Makueni County, Kenya. The environment is relatively vegetative with thick bushes and indigenous trees.

It is a small school with 86 students and staff, but the 2 small 10,000-liter rain tanks on school grounds are the only source of water for the school. During the dry season, the school tanks are often depleted and the students are expected to carry water from home for the cooking and cleaning needs at school.

Often, the water pupils bring is insufficient for use and the students are sent back out of class to fetch water from the nearest river scoop holes. These are holes dug into the dry riverbed by hand. They are capable of providing only sandy and muddy water completely open to contamination from people and animals. The process of scooping from the shallow puddle into students' containers is time-consuming, too.

These frequent trips to fetch water interrupt and waste a lof the students' precious learning time. The students always feel thirsty during their lessons, but with insufficient water for drinking, they tend to lose concentration in class which leads to poor academic performance, say teachers and staff.

"When there is no water in school, students are exposed to the use of dirty water. Insufficient water supply deteriorates the academic performance of the students and also demoralizes them from reaching their full potential," said Deputy Head Teacher Elizabeth Kioko.

The water brought from home and collected at the river is often unsafe. As a result, the teachers report that the students suffer from a high rate of waterborne illnesses - an additional burden that causes students to miss class.

The hygiene and sanitation of the school are below average, reported our field officers. The latrines are not washed frequently and expose the students to risks of infections. Pupils do not wash their hands after visiting the latrines or before eating, which is dangerous as it increases the chances of fecal to oral disease transmission. Their classrooms are rarely cleaned. Generally, the hygiene and sanitation standards are very low due to the lack of water available to clean and use for handwashing.

"We are usually expected to carry water to school which is very exhausting and the water is never enough so we are forced to carry water every day," explained Samson, a student at the school.

"We always feel very thirsty during class time and after games in the afternoon but there's usually not enough water to drink."

The school was established in 1988 by the Kathonzweni Catholic Church in collaboration with the area community members. The school has grown over time through the funds from the government and the County Development Funds. The Catholic Church was majorly involved in the establishment of the school's infrastructure such as the classrooms while the government has been instrumental in the supply of both text and exercise books, sanitary towels for the girls, and food. The school has 4 blocks comprising of the classrooms, offices, latrines, and kitchen. The classrooms are made of bricks with iron sheet roofing, windows without panes, and uncemented floors.

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 3 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

February, 2022: Kwa Maluvyu Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Kwa Maluvyu 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.

"Once the tank is full of water, we will be at peace with our studies as there will be plenty of water for all the school uses," said 14-year-old Kelvin M. "I will plant trees in school to ensure the school is conducive for learning, as there will be more shade and the environment will be beautiful. We will also use the water to make soap and ensure students wash their hands at all times."

"Before, we would really struggle to get water and students would bring water fetched from Kituluni River," said Elizabeth Muema, 51, Kwa Maluvyu's Head Teacher. "Now we will have [an] adequate water supply for use in school. The water will be enough for all the needs such as cleaning classrooms, latrines and we will also ensure students always wash their hands. We will also start environmental conservation such as tree planting and establishing vegetable gardens."

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 to 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.

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

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 soapmaking.

"We have learned a lot of new content and skills about proper hygiene and sanitation practices," said Kelvin. "I will share the information that I have learned with my family members when I get home. I will show them how to properly wash their hands, how to treat their drinking water to protect themselves from contracting diseases, and also how to make soap. Through the soap-making skill, I can teach my mother who can start selling soap to generate income. I am very thankful for the training."

We asked Kelvin (one of the two people above already quoted) 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.

"I missed studying with my colleagues and acquiring knowledge from my teachers," Kelvin said. "I was affected a lot academically. I did not have time to [study] because I was given a lot of work at home which hindered me from studying. I think COVID-19 virus will come to an end, I am really hopeful that life will soon normalize."

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!

November, 2021: Kwa Maluvyu Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kwa Maluvyu 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: "Things are looking up quite well."

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kwa Maluvyu 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!

Last year, students at Kwa Maluvyu Primary School not only had to bring water with them to school every day, but they would also have to leave school during recess to collect water from scoop holes.

“Initially, we experienced a lot of challenges pertaining [to] water," explained 12-year-old Mary M. "Regardless of the time of the season, we used to carry at least two liters of water with us as we attended school every single day. Life then was very unbearable. At times you would wake up, and once you think about the trek to school, you [would] get lazy [about] attending the school. We did not have enough time to play or do homework, [just to] fetch water.”

But since we helped to construct a high-capacity rain tank at the school, the kids at Kwa Maluvyu have been able to reclaim time that was previously lost to water-fetching.

“Now, things are looking up quite well," Mary said. "I have been able to get very clean water for quenching my thirst anytime I am at the school. I am less concerned about what I shall drink, [but] rather my studies. I attend school promptly."

Now, students are excited about improving the school through tree planting.

"We are planning to go full throttle in tree planting in our school," said the school's headteacher, Elizabeth Muema. "So far, we have prepared a tree nursery for the same. We are targeting [to have] over 100 trees in the school compound."

"We are optimistic that the [tree-planting] project is going to kick off as soon as possible," Mary added. "Also, [I] have had enough time to do my homework on time and submit [it] to my teachers. I hope to do exemplary well in the final exams.”


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 Kwa Maluvyu 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 Kwa Maluvyu 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.


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation