Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 113 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/14/2024

Project Features

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Itulu Primary School was started in 1993 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 school has grown through support from parents, the Mbooni Constituency Development Fund, and the federal government.

The 113 students at the school must report to school by 6:30 am with a jerrycan of water. The school lacks a good source of clean water for the school population. The school currently depends on pupils and parents bringing water to school for all of the school's water needs, including cooking and drinking.

"As a school, we only have a small plastic tank and students bringing water for all the school water needs. I would say it is an unfortunate situation, but it is the only option for us. We are a needy school, especially in the area of water access considering the modern times of COVID-19 and the water demands involved," explained Deputy Headteacher Eliud Mbatha.

The school has had cases of waterborne and water-related diseases reported amongst students, such as amoeba and typhoid. This is associated with consuming water from open river sources and from other, unknown sources. Teachers cannot monitor where pupils get their water before school, hence the varied, unsafe, and unknown sources.

Cleaning takes place until 7:00 am. Next, morning preps run up to 7:45 am. The students then go for the morning parade, where each of them is checked to have brought the required amount of water. Those who fail to bring water are punished. Carrying water to school means that students have to look for it either after school for the following day, or very early in the morning on their way to school.

"Our school life has not been easy. We have to carry water to school for cooking and for drinking. Sometimes I feel tired by the time I arrive at school. Yet, I always want to pass my exams and excel in life," said student Kalekye M.

Students are burdened with carrying water to school, affecting their overall concentration and performance in academic activities. Construction activities at the school have been expensive because of the cost of purchasing water since it is not available within the school. Additionally, the state of hygiene and sanitation is inadequate because the latrines are never cleaned due to a lack of water.

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

January, 2022: Itulu Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Itulu 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.

"The water tank will avail clean water for drinking, washing our hands, and keeping the school very clean," said 13-year-old Mbithi K. "It will also go a long way in assisting us to study with ease, as we will no longer have to carry water to school. I will keep clean by washing my hands regularly, hence keeping off diseases."

Mbithi K.

"As a school, we are optimistic of high performance as the school fraternity will now focus on studies rather than searching for water entirely," said teacher Pauline Kiema, 35.


"The water point will play a huge role in supporting [the] Child Health Club's goal of attaining a good environment enhanced by [the] planting of trees in the facility," Pauline continued. "We plan to plant flowers in the school to make our environment more appealing. With the availability of water, we will ensure our students can now wash their hands regularly with clean water and soap."

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.

A parents' meeting was held after the completion of the water tank by the head of the school to thank the parents for their unending support in the construction process. They also discussed proper maintenance of the tank. The head of the school expressed his joy, stating that the students would now have enough clean water for use in the school and the students will no longer have to carry water to school.

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.

Students review the disease transmission posters.

The attendance of both the pupils and teachers was commendable; almost everyone in the institution attended the training. All the pupils participated by asking questions, voicing opinions, and airing their concerns.

"The training was very valuable to me," said Ndinda K, 13. "I have learned how to maintain both personal and general hygiene. I have learned that dirt makes us sick and washing of hands is key in improving our health as well as protecting us from diseases."

Itulu students' most-requested training topics were disease transmission and COVID-19. All the students were very curious to learn the various ways diseases and viruses spread from one person to another. The most fun subject was soap-making, where the students took turns stirring the soap, singing songs like "Row Your Boat" and "Fishers of Men."

"We, as Child Health Club [members], and teachers discussed how we can train villagers on making the soap for each family to be making their own soap," said Mbithi K. "At the school level, we are going to add more handwashing points to ensure that we stay clean and healthy."

We asked Mbithi what it was like to be at home due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures and what it has been like coming back to school.

"I was negatively impacted by schools closing due to COVID-19," he said. "It was a big blow to me as a student because, being at home, I couldn't learn well. My academic performance dropped in a big way. I missed my school and learning together with my classmates because we play together and enjoy sharing stories, which makes school life more habitable. I am very happy to be back to school now. I can play with my friends and see my teachers each day."

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: Itulu Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Itulu 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: "I have plenty of time to play and refresh."

May, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Itulu 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!

Musembi, 12, recalled what life was like at Itulu Primary School before his school's rain tank was implemented last year.

"Before the construction of this project, life was very hard. I found it hard to carry water from home every day. I could get very tired because it’s a long stretch from my home to school. Once I got to school, I did not really concentrate in class because my mind would be ringing that in the evening, I [would] have to get water from the River Tawa,” said Musembi.

But life is much less burdensome for Musembi and the other students at Itulu Primary School now.

"Currently, I do not miss classes because the burden of carrying water with me as I come to school is long gone and forgotten. I have plenty of time to play and refresh. I plan to engage in many agricultural projects, both in school and at home," said Musembi.

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Musembi and his school. He now has a sense of security about water in the future, and his school has started an agricultural project of growing passionfruit trees to help with food production in the future.

"I feel secure in terms of [the] water supply in the school. My life is quite good now. I have enough time to study. Also, I am able [to] utilize my free time playing rather than walking for water every now and then,” concluded Musembi.

Thank you for helping Musembi access clean water and have time to study and play.

Right now, there are others just like him in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can’t wait to introduce you to the next person you’ll help.

Musembi helps water the school's passionfruit trees.

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 Itulu 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 Itulu 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.