Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 460 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Mutulani Primary School currently faces severe water scarcity challenges. The school requires around 800 liters of water daily for drinking, cleaning, watering trees within the compound, and cooking. With only a small plastic water tank on campus, the stored water runs out very quickly. As a result, every day the 460 students are expected to carry jerrycans of water from home to school.

Carrying water to school every day is a very strenuous activity, and it has often led to absenteeism and truancy among the students. If the water brought to school runs out mid-day, the students must also fetch water during class time, leading to time wastage and poor academic performance.

The water students bring to school is usually dirty and contaminated because they fetch the water from varied - and sometimes unknown - sources, say teachers. Some students may lack water in their homes as well, adding to the difficulty of this morning routine. But out of fear of being punished should they arrive at school without water, the students draw water anywhere they find on their walk, even if they know the source is unsafe for use. Because water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated sources means the entire school is at risk of water-related illnesses.

"The challenge of water scarcity affects us as students as we do not get adequate water for use in the school. We are often sent out of class to fetch water, which wastes a lot of our time learning. Our concentration span in class often wavers due to the continuous disruption of being sent to fetch water. It is very exhausting to come carrying jerrycans of water daily," said Peter, a school student.

Mutulani Primary School is a day school established in 1959 by the Catholic Ministry of the Holy Ghost Missionaries to provide a nearby learning center for the children of Mutulani village. The school has grown over time through parents' support in the construction of infrastructures, and financial support from the government through the Ministry of Education's development funds.

The school is situated in a rural part of Makueni County, Kenya. The area is an arid and semi-arid land that is prone to receiving little to no rainfall each year. The school neighbors Mutulani Secondary School. The roads leading to the institution are packed gravel and clay roads that get very slippery during the wet season. The school's environment is very well maintained as it has trees planted for environmental conservation.

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 and provide 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 one day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices at school and 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 oversee best and maintain their new rain tank and handwashing stations.

Handwashing Stations

A total of three handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with three taps each, allowing nine 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

January, 2022: Mutulani Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Mutulani 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.

Happy students!

The school's Health Club teacher Florence Kiteng'e, 54, said, "The pupils will now have access to clean water throughout the academic year. Initially, students would be sent out of class to go and fetch water for school use. Now the presence of water in the tank will ensure the students stay in class and are concentrating on their studies."

Health Club Teacher Florence Kiteng'e.

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.

"The water tank will provide us with more water in school for washing our hands, drinking, and cleaning our classrooms, latrines, and the compound. We will no longer have to be sent out of class to fetch water for use in the school as it will be readily available at this tank," said Natasha M., 14.

Natasha M.

Natasha continued, "We will plant trees within the compound and also ensure they are always watered. We'll also ensure the health club makes soap for handwashing with soap and clean water."

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.

"I am very thankful and grateful for this training as we are now able to make our own soap in the health club. Through this training, we are now aware of many things which we did not know, such as the proper handwashing procedures. This new knowledge will help us protect ourselves from contracting any diseases. We will wash our hands well and ensure they are clean," said Natasha.

We asked Natasha 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.

"Upon opening of the school, most of us had forgotten most of what we had learned because we didn't have the necessary learning materials while we were at home. Most of my time was spent on home duties and hanging out with my peers, and we rarely read."

Natasha continued, "I missed learning, being taught by our teachers, and interacting with my classmates. Mathematics, English, and Science are my favorite subjects. I really missed learning them. I feel very happy and excited about being back to school because we are learning new things, and I am able to meet/interact with my friends. In addition, I feel like none of my time is being wasted since most of my time is spent on studying now."

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: Mutulani Primary School Rainwater Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mutulani 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: No More Carrying Water to School!

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mutulani 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!

The students at Mutulani Primary School used to spend much of their days before and even during classes searching for and collecting water because there was no available water source on their school campus.

"Initially, we experienced a lot of challenges pertaining [to] water. We had to carry water from home. Myself, I would walk for almost a kilometer with a bag on my back and one hand holding a jerrycan of water and [in] the other a log of firewood," said 13-year-old Mutuku M.

But since a large rain tank was installed on the school campus last year, things have been different for students, so they are now able to stay in class and are alert enough to learn since they are not exhausted from hauling water.

"Now, life has greatly changed as we have clean and adequate water for drinking, cooking, and maintaining our hygiene. Currently, we never get late to school because we do not have to carry water with us. It is very fast and easy to draw water from the water tank any time of the day," Mutuku continued.

"I have even started enjoying attending my classes daily without missing [them]. I do all my homework on time and also have enough time to do my revisions (studying). I am hoping to do exemplary well in the final exams," said Mutuku.

Another added benefit of having water within reach at the school is that Mutuku has time to spend with her friends playing, which she is pretty pleased about.

"In the past one year, I have had enough time to play with my friends,” concluded Mutuku.

Mutuku in front of the rain tank.

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 Mutulani 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 Mutulani 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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