Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 95 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/13/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped is a full boarding school serving 95 students. The school was started in 1999 as an initiative of parents who wanted to address the functional needs of children with disabilities in the larger Mbooni & Kaiti Constituencies and neighboring areas. The school was initially hosted within the Kako Primary School and later developed into an independent school in 2015. The school has predominantly grown through the parents' support, the Mbooni Constituency Development Fund, the government, and the Makueni county government.

The school currently depends on a small rainwater tank to meet its water needs. The primary water source for the school has not been providing enough water for the school population. Water from the available plastic tanks only lasts for 12 days because of the high water demands. The school then resorts to water purchases from water selling trucks from Wote town, which is expensive.

On an average day, the students wake up at 6:30 am and engage in morning cleaning and preparations before breakfast at 7:30 am. Morning assembly takes place at 7:50 am, and classes begin at 8:10 am, running until 3:10 pm. Every day in the evening and the morning, the students line up at the available tanks to collect water for their basic needs, such as washing and taking their showers.

"The water we get while in school is not enough. We are only provided with 5 liters of water in the evening," said Kelvin, a school student.

"Sometimes we have had meals delayed after water was unavailable to aid in the cooking, and the classes have to be halted because of that."

Buying water has been expensive for the poorly funded school. Since most of the school parents live in poverty, they are unable to provide significant financial backing to run the school smoothly. The school latrines are poorly cleaned because of inadequate water availability leading to a poor hygiene state within the school.

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 building. 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

August, 2021: Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped Rain Tank Complete!

Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped 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.

"Having water will help me to wash my hands, to bathe, to clean the dormitories, to wash my clothes, and to have clean and well-prepared food," said Mwendi, one of the school's students. "We will also have plenty of drinking 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, 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 school's headteacher, Joseph Ngali, said, "The tank will be very helpful to us a school. All the students in this school are boarders, and there is a lot of water need, which will be met through the availability of water in the water tank."

The school has lots of plans for their new water tank. The immediate goals are simpler: "We will use the water for cleaning the school, bathing, cooking, drinking, and washing of the students' clothes, uniforms, and bedding," Joseph continued. "It is key in sustaining a clean learning environment to ensure the students are thriving in their studies and personal growth."

But the new waterpoint enables the school to have bigger dreams for the future, too.

"We can establish a vegetable garden where we will plant vegetables useful in improving the students' dietary needs," Joseph said.

Mwendi added: "I will use the water to irrigate our small vegetable garden, as we are taught farming skills in our vocational classes."

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.

The teachers were very happy to have learned the soapmaking process. They admitted they have been making poor quality soap since they previously didn’t have the skills. Before this training, the pupils were washing with plain water only, which doesn’t remove all the germs and dirt from the hands. This training will aid the school in having affordable, good quality soap all the time, rather than bar soap, which is very expensive to buy.

"We are very happy today," said student, Musyoki. "From this training, I have learned how to wash my hands, and the importance of always using the latrines. I will help my fellow students to be clean and to learn to wash their hands frequently."

Another student, Mutua, said, "The training really helped us a lot. We are now knowledgeable on how to use the latrines and avoid open defecation, as well as how to properly wash our hands with soap and clean water every day."

We asked Mutua 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.

"Learning at home was quite difficult," Mutua said. "I was unable to study or learn while I was at home. When we reported back to school, I had forgotten most of what we had been taught previously. I missed being in school because we are well taken care of and we get to learn new things every 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!

June, 2021: Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped Rain Water Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped 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: "Life has become easy."

December, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kako Special School for the Mentally Handiscapped in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mutisya. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped 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!

Before we installed a high-capacity rain tank at Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped, students would line up to fetch water in the mornings only to find that the school's small rain tank was empty.

“Initially, we experienced a lot of challenges pertaining [to] water," said 18-year-old Mutisya. "Drinking water was not always available. Also, food couldn’t be cooked well, [and] our hygiene was very poor, from our utensils to the classes. We could get water from the dam, which was not very safe."

Because the school still needed water, the burden of procuring it fell on the school administration, who ended up spending a large portion of the school's budget buying water from vendors.

But since the rain tank was installed, all that has changed, and students' hygiene has really improved.

“Now, life has become easy and bearable," Mutisya explained. "We have had a lot of water, which has helped us improve our levels of sanitation in our dormitories. We use the water from the tank to drink, cook, wash our hands after visiting the latrine, and even clean our dormitories."

Not only are the students thriving, but the school has been able to implement developments, which is important given that students stay there all the time.

Headteacher Eunice Kimeu said: "In the past years, we have been having plans to make our environment good but failed over and over again because of [the] insufficient water supply. Now we have been able to plant many trees which we received from the county government, and we are taking care of them now that we have enough water. Our dormitories are ever sparkling clean. The school looks lively and has [an] ambient environment for students to stay [in]."

“As a school, we have been able to plant trees, which are currently doing well," Mutisya added. "The water from the water tank has made us achieve our goal of keeping ourselves clean. This is through [the] washing of hands and our beddings, as well as [our] utensils (dishes). Our environment is taking a good shape now."

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 Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped 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 Kako Special School for the Mentally Handicapped – 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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