Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 145 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/11/2024

Project Features

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Nzoila Secondary School was established in 2008 by the community members with the support of the Africa Inland Church. They formed the school to allow the students to transition from Nzoila Primary School to a secondary school closer to home to reduce school dropouts. The growth of the school has been steered by the support of the parents and the government.

The school encounters many challenges, especially related to water access. The water storage facilities are unable to hold a sufficient water supply for the 145 students. The tanks at the school are leaking and are only big enough to store water for a month. Afterward, the school has to purchase water from boozer companies, which is costly and hinders the school from investing in improvements and growth.

"The insufficient water supply affects the operations of the school programs. With no water, the school schedule delays, and this affects the learning process. Money that has been allocated for the school's development is channeled into purchasing water, and this hinders the school's growth and development," said teacher Jonathan Kaleli Peter.

The water brought by the boozer companies and contracted parents is often drawn from uncertain water sources. This is risky as it may expose the students to contracting waterborne diseases. Students, at times, complain about stomachaches, typhoid, and diarrhea cases. These waterborne illnesses result in absenteeism and, at times, insufficient concentration levels, which may lead to poor academic performance.

Students sometimes lack water for drinking, handwashing, and even cleaning their latrines. The water served to them is also very limited, so they have to use it sparingly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. The school meals program can also be delayed when the kitchen staff have to wait for the water to be delivered.

"During the dry seasons, we usually face a lot of challenges. We may fail to wash the latrines, the meals may delay, and we have to wait for a long time before the food is ready. A lot of time is wasted because of the insufficient water supply," said student Muthoki M.

"Poor sanitation and hygiene standards may result in us contracting water-related diseases. At times, the water brought from the river is not clean and may cause sicknesses."

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 additional 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 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

October, 2021: Nzoila Secondary School Project Complete!

Nzoila Secondary 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.

Mercy D., a 16-year-old student, shared her excitement about improvements to her own life as well as the quality of life of the school's students. "Access to reliable, safe water will enable me to wash my hands at all times and establish proper personal hygiene, which is key in protecting me against contracting COVID-19."

"Through this project," Mercy continued, "our school will also be clean, as there will be enough water [to] establish proper hygiene and sanitation for cleaning the latrines and classrooms. Preparation of meals will be done on time, and there will be no delay of our lessons."

School Principal Samson Maara sees a bright future for Nzoila Secondary School. "Access to water from this tank will propagate a lot of change and growth for the school. We will be able to sustain a conducive learning environment for the students. The finances which were initially spent on purchasing water will now be channeled to school development projects, such as constructing laboratories and purchasing proper lab equipment for use by the students."

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.

109 participants attended the training, which included both staff and students.

Students' favorite topic was disease transmission. 11 posters with simple drawings were used to illustrate how diseases are spread. The drawings showed good and bad hygiene practices/ behaviors. The students were tasked to form at least six routes of disease transmission using the posters provided. Each grade was tasked to form two routes, which led to a competition among the three classes, with the grade two class emerging as the winners.

Student James M., 17 years old, explained what the training taught him. "The training was very valuable to me, as I have learned a lot about water hygiene and how to improve my personal hygiene. For long, we have been drinking water without treating it, but today I have learned that there are many ways to treat water, all [of] which are within my range and capacity. I have also learned how to make liquid soap which will help me in handwashing and cleaning purposes both at home and at school."

The students' were also intrigued by soap-making. Originally, we were only going to present this topic to the health club members, but the rest of the students pleaded to be included. The students gathered around the pot and took turns stirring as the ingredients were added. All the students portrayed intense interest in this activity and  asked many questions.

Mercy shared what she learned specifically about the COVID-19 pandemic. "We are now more knowledgeable and aware of how the disease is spread and how to protect oneself from contracting it. Now that the school has the handwashing stations set up, it is easier for us to adopt the knowledge that was trained, such as handwashing with soap and clean water. We are also now going to be more keen on how to properly wear our masks and ensure they are always clean before use."

We asked Mercy 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.

Mercy at school.

"I missed learning and interacting with my classmates. My studies were greatly affected when the schools were closed. When we are in school, the concentration levels are so high and it is fun to learn, but when we are at home, it is quite difficult."

When asked about future plans for the school, Principal Maara had a lot to say. "We plan to engage in environment conservation by planting more trees in our compound. Our agriculture students can now confidently embark on their projects without the fear of their crops withering due to insufficient water supply. With time, we can also progress to expand the school."

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!

August, 2021: Nzoila Secondary School Rank Tank Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Nzoila Secondary 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: "I love the fact that we have clean water."

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzoila Secondary 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!

Life without sufficient accessible water at Nzoila Secondary School was challenging for students. Although they brought water to school, they still went thirsty most of the day and found it hard to concentrate in their classes.

“Initially, water scarcity affected us so much," said 18-year-old Naomi R. "We used to depend on water from [the] River Kambu. A lot of time was wasted. The delay in water delivery to the school also delayed our school-run [meal] program. You’d find us taking breakfast at noon and lunch at 3 pm. One could be armed with two little bottles of water from home because the water situation at the school was very unpredictable."

But since a large rain tank was installed on the school campus last year, the situation has improved, and there is plenty of water available whenever they need it.

“Now, life has become better. We are able to clean our environment [and] wash our classes and our dishes, too. Food is cooked well and on time nowadays. We no longer have to carry water while coming to school. We have been able to plan well for our studies as we have all the time, and we are less worried about water," said Naomi.

With less worry about finding water, students now have the energy to pour into learning and relaxing.

“As the school president, I love the fact that we have clean water on the school premises. I feel happy when I see students enjoying the water, maybe after playing or after eating. We have been able to increase the duration we stay in the school because water security has been attained. We are focused on excelling in our final examinations," concluded Naomi.


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 Nzoila Secondary 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 Nzoila Secondary 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 - StossWater