Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 263 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/03/2024

Project Features

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Utuneni Secondary School was started in 1987 as an initiative by local parents who wanted a school in their locality to help their children, who were traveling long distances to access an education. The primary school donated the secondary school's initial classrooms, and it has since seen continued growth through support from the parents, federal government, and the Mbooni Constituency Development Fund.

A total of 263 students are enrolled at the school today. The school sits on a shared compound with the primary school section, and the compound has significant tree coverage made of modern tree species. An average day at the school starts at 6:30 am with the morning preps and ends at 5:30 pm after games.

The main source of water is piped water from a community spring into the schoolyard. The water is highly rationed since it is shared with the rest of the community. As a result, the school is only allocated water access two days per week. And that is if the system is functioning.

"It has been unreliable with regular breakdowns of pipes while also not providing enough water to cater for all our needs because it is rationed to serve the community population and us. This has affected the school's growth as top students and teachers would not want to be in a school without enough water," said Principal Isaac Komoni.

To fill the gap, the school purchases water from vendors. This leaves the school with high bills and in dire need of water.

The boarding students are only provided with 5 liters of water per day for all their water needs, compromising their hygiene and sanitation standards as the water is not enough to meet all of their needs. That is just one-quarter of the United Nations recommendation that people need at least 20 liters of water per day to meet their basic needs.

The school facilities such as latrines and classes are only cleaned once per week due to the water challenges. This creates an unfavorable learning environment for the students and staff.

"School life has been full of water-related challenges. We are only provided with 5 liters of water per day to cater to our daily needs, including bathing and washing clothes. The school latrines and classes are only cleaned once because water is not always available. Sometimes, the classrooms are dusty, but we have to learn in them because there are no other options," said student Zipporah M.

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: Utuneni Secondary School Rain Tank Complete!

Utuneni 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.

17-year-old student Kelvin M. told us about how the students' lives will improve now that the rain tank is complete. "Access to reliable and safe water from the water point will provide adequate water supply for us to clean our hands at all times during the COVID-19 pandemic," Kelvin said.

Kelvin at the sanitation and hygiene training we held for the school.

"We will have enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning the school. Additionally, we will manage to plant trees in the compound and make the environment conducive."

Teacher Veronica Mumo is excited about the students' future. "The availability of water supply will improve the sanitation levels of our school as we will have access to water for cooking, drinking, washing our hands, as well as cleaning our classrooms," Veronica said.

Veronica is the second from the right in this picture of students and teachers celebrating.

"With a clean environment, our learning process will improve, and the students can focus on their studies with minimal strains or stress regarding accessing clean water."

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, 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. Although only Form Two students and Health Club members were able to attend the training, the students were very lively, asking plenty of questions and contributing to the discussion. They promised to pass the knowledge they had learned on to the remainder of the student body.

"The training session was interesting and very eye-opening," said 15-year-old student Maina G. "I am now familiar with the appropriate methods of treating water. I also learned how to maintain high hygiene and sanitation practices."

Maina outside the training session.

"I was able to reflect on my daily activities and habits, which expose me to risks of contracting diseases," Maina continued. "Now, I can prevent the spread of diseases by adopting better hygienic practices, such as handwashing with soap and clean water."

Soapmaking was the students' favorite topic. During the stirring process, they sang songs, which made the process even more enjoyable. Their favorite was "I Will Make You Fishers of Men," in which the boys would pose as they sang the word "men" and girls would pose during "fishers." This made the process very interesting, exciting, and memorable.

"The training was very valuable to me," said 16-year-old Gloria M. "I learned how to make soap [and the] proper washing of hands."

Gloria at the training.

"This training will help me keep my school and home compound clean," Gloria continued. "As a member of [the] Child Health Club, I am going to train other students on maintaining high levels of hygiene and sanitation."

Disease transmission exercise.

We asked Gloria 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.

"The closure of schools due to COVID-19 was quite difficult for me," Gloria said. "I found it difficult to learn some topics as I was unable to consult with my teachers in the areas which I could not comprehend. I am very happy to be back to school to engage and learn from my teachers. It is such a huge relief."

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: Utuneni Secondary School Rank Tank Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Utuneni 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: "Thanks to you, we have water in plenty."

November, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Utuneni 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!

Last year, the students of Utuneni Secondary School could only access water two days a week. So the school administration often bought water from unreliable, expensive vendors. This left the school with high bills and still not enough water.

"Before the construction of this project, life was very hard," said 18-year-old Sarah N. "We didn’t have enough water to wash our clothes and dormitories because there was water rationing in the school. We had to queue for [a] long [time at] the taps hoping to get a drop of water to quench [our] thirst. Many of the times, one would fail to drink water after taking their meals, not to talk of washing their dishes.”

Sarah is an agricultural student, and without a steady supply of water, growing anything in the school's garden was incredibly difficult. But since we constructed a high-capacity rain tank at the school, things have changed for students and staff alike.

"Now it is easy and efficient to fetch water from the tank," Sarah said. "We have enough water for our projects in the school, such as [the] tree planting program and agriculture practical [exams]. [During] a time like now, the school used to have serious water problems, but thanks to [you], we have water in plenty. We are also very much assured of drinking water and also water for washing clothes and bathing. Life is now bearable in the school. We have managed to save on time consumed queuing for water and utilize it for studies.”

This change has not only helped to secure Sarah's present happiness, but has also helped her in achieving her goals for her future.

"Back then, before the project was implemented, I was in form (grade) three, and I was yearning to get [a] water supply to water my vegetables during my form four year," Sarah explained. "The dream came to reality when this tank was put in place, just in the hour of need, I was able to grow vegetables for [my] examination, and here I am, very optimistic and hoping to get good grades.”

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 Utuneni 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 Utuneni 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