Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 273 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/27/2024

Project Features

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Mbiuni Primary School is located in a rural area of Mbiuni village in Makueni County, Kenya. The environment of the school is calm and quiet, eliciting a conducive atmosphere for learning.

The school was established in 1998 by the Africa Inland Church and the area community members and parents. With support from parents and the Ministry of Education's County Development Funds, the school has grown to 227 students.

The school has many challenges in getting water. They relied on a community rock catchment pipeline that would deliver water to the school, but it broke down, and they have not been getting water. Now, the school contracts parents to bring water to the school at a fee, and the children are also expected to carry jerrycans of water to school every day.

The parents' water is fetched from uncertain sources. The children also bring water from home, and at times, they bring very dirty water. Complaints of stomachaches and headaches are frequent among the students - a likely result of drinking unsafe water and not having enough.

"There is a lot of absenteeism of the students due to sicknesses, which makes learning difficult, resulting in poor academic performance. When the students are not healthy in class, their concentration span drifts a lot. Teachers also fall sick from drinking the water that is brought to school, and they spend a lot of finances on treatment costs," said Senior Teacher Jerald Mwangangi.

Due to the school's insufficient water supply, the school's feeding program is very unreliable and the latrines are rarely washed.

"There are a lot of challenges in getting water. At times, we are sent out of class to fetch water at River Kumbo, one kilometer away from the school. The water we fetch from this river is usually dirty and often results in stomachaches and headaches. Being sent out of class is time-wasting and affects our academic performance," said Veronica, a student.

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 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

August, 2021: Mbiuni Primary School Rain Catchment Tank Complete!

Mbiuni Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new safe, clean water source 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.

"The availability of safe water supply will improve the health condition of the school community, which is set to improve the performance of the learners," said Robert Mutua, Head Teacher at the school.

Mutua continued: "Students will have enough clean drinking water. Environmental conservation will also be enhanced, as we will use the water to plant trees, establish tree nurseries, and set up kitchen gardens. We plan to start an income-generating activity of planting fruit trees that will be for sale. The proceeds will be used for the school's infrastructural development."

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. 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.

Before the actual demonstration, two students (a boy and a girl) were randomly selected and asked to wash their hands as the rest watched keenly. This was done to identify the gaps in handwashing among the students. One of the gaps identified was that the students wiped their hands with their clothes after washing, which was discouraged.

The participants then practiced washing hands following the procedure that they learned. The pupils were also trained on the critical times to wash hands. Some of the critical moments discussed were; after visiting latrines, before eating, after handling garbage, after playing, among others. Washing hands with soap and flowing water were encouraged.

During the discussion on this topic, a flock of birds with beautifully colored feathers flew near the training venue. The birds excited the students very much, thus disrupting the training session until they flew out of sight. It is believed that bird migration often happens during the dry season as they search for food and water.

Then, another training was conducted on the production of liquid soap. Participants were first taken through the precautions to observe. During the demonstration, 20 liters of soap were made. The school was left with the remaining materials to make more soap on their own.

The whole process of making the liquid soap takes some time and involves a lot of stirring. Each participant took turns stirring, and everyone was patient until the final product was obtained.

The soap production involves using local materials and chemicals like Ungarol, industrial salt, color, and perfume, among others. The process is efficient and easy to follow. During the demonstration, boys and girls competed in stirring, making the entire session interesting, exciting, and memorable.

"The training was very valuable to me," said Muuo M., 14, a student at Mbiuni Primary School. "I have learned how to stay clean at all times and how to maintain personal and general hygiene. As a health club leader, I will ensure that my fellow students follow what we learned today.

"I have also learned how to make soap. I am happy we are going to have soap for handwashing in the school."

Another student, Hilary M., 12, added: "We plan to fill all the handwashing points with water to ensure all the students wash their hands with soap and clean water."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2021: Mbiuni Primary School project underway!

Dirty and unreliable water is making students in Mbiuni Primary School sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know these students 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: Beautifying Our School!

September, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mbiuni 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 of Mbiuni Primary School used to face a daily struggle for water.

“Initially, we experienced a lot of challenges pertaining [to] water," said 13-year-old Peter M. "It was very hard to carry water every day to school. I walked around 20 minutes with my bag on my back and [in my] hand a jerrycan of water holding three liters [of water] from Monday to Friday. At times, I felt discouraged to attend school.”

But last year, we installed a rain tank at the school, and since then, there have been dramatic improvements.

“Now, I have less worries. I have access to clean water. I attend school very well," said Peter. "I no longer carry a jerrycan of water anymore. I have started enjoying coming to school, [and] my performance has improved immensely."

“In the past one year, as a member of [the] environmental club, we managed to plant more trees in our compound, which are shaping the school and beautifying it too. We have planted over one hundred trees and [are] hoping to plant many more using water from this tank," concluded Peter.

Peter watering the club's plants.

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 Mbiuni 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 Mbiuni 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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