Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 279 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/11/2024

Project Features

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Migwani DEB Primary School depends on a 5,000-liter plastic tank for the water needs of its 266 students and 12 staff members. There is never enough to meet the water demand, even with rationing, so the tank runs dry. As a result, students are forced to bring their own water to school.

"Our school does not have adequate water sources to cater for all our water needs without rationing," said teacher Duncan Masau. "This has affected our growth as a school. A new water source would be welcome."

Pupils in this school must report to school by 6:30 AM carrying water. This burden demoralizes students, which causes major absenteeism. During the morning assembly, the teacher on duty inspects the students' water. Those who have failed to bring water are punished.

"I rarely get enough water in school for drinking," said Mawia, an 11-year-old female student. "When the water in school runs out, we are always required to carry water to school in 5-liter containers, which are burdening and tedious, leading to poor concentration in class."

How To Make a Difference...

Build a Rain Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rain tank for this school, making the other tank at the school that only holds 5,000 liters 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.

Provide Training

We will train students and staff on sanitation, hygiene, and other topics for 1 day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices both at school and at home. They will learn all of the steps to proper handwashing, how to treat water and keep their environment clean. The school will also be taught how to oversee and maintain their new rain tank and handwashing stations.

Develop 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 ensuring the tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is always available.

Project Updates

February, 2022: Migwani DEB Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Migwani DEB Primary 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.

12-year-old Daniel explained how the water tank will improve his life. "My academic performance will soar higher because I can easily drink clean water from this water point during exams and classes, unlike before [when] there was no water within the school, and the little we had [was] stored in plastic jerry cans that were open to contamination. We will also be able to improve our school's hygiene and sanitation."

Teacher Magdalene Muli, 46, is excited for a better working environment. "I will be more comfortable teaching pupils in a clean class. My pupils will also have enough clean water to drink which enables comfort during learning since they are more attentive and not being distracted by the need to quench their thirst. With the improved hygiene and sanitation, my pupils will no longer be sick and absent from school."

Thumbs up!

The tank also opens up new opportunities for the school itself. "The school will be able to set up a feeding a program thanks to the implemented water point," Magdalene continued.

"We will also be able to improve the green scenery within the school because we will use the water to irrigate the tree seedlings," Daniel added.

"The school also plans to cultivate trees and vegetables like kales and spinach," said Magdalene.

The pupils and the entire school population were elated about the project and were grateful to everyone who helped implement the school water tank. They expect hygiene and sanitation to improve and absenteeism to reduce, which will improve the school's academic performance.

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.

Completed 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.

289 pupils and 11 teachers attended the training, with no student absences - an excellent turnout!

Students were most interested to learn about COVID-19 and clear up any misconceptions they had learned. The facilitators explained that COVID is transmitted through particles in the air we cannot see, which is why physical distancing and mask-wearing are both important.

"I will share this new insight with my parents and siblings to help them prevent the spread of COVID-19," said 14-year-old Ann M. "I also learned about contactless greeting, social distancing, and why we should avoid overcrowded places. Therefore, I will be able to remain healthy and focus on my studies. That will place me in better career opportunities."

Learning how to make soap.

The students had the most fun learning about fecal-to-oral disease transmission, during which a few pupils were picked to perform a roleplay. The girl who performed as the mother character did so with passion, confidence, and motherly energy. One of the teachers asked the girl what made her perform so well, and the girl said she was emulating her own mother.

"We will train our guardians on the importance of hygiene," said 14-year-old Peter M. "That way, incidences of diseases will reduce. Personally, I have learned and understood that most diseases are related to hygiene and behavior. If we improve our daily behaviors and adhere to what has been trained, we will be on the safe side."

Peter at the training.

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!

December, 2021: Migwani DEB Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Migwani DEB 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: Planting, Building, and Feeding Programs!

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Migwani DEB 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!

Last year, everyone at Migwani DEB Primary School depended on one tiny rain tank, which rarely, if ever, satisfied all the school's water needs. And, even worse, the supplementary water students brought with them to school came from open scoop holes, which often made them sick.

“The rampant water scarcity within the school caused a lot of issues," explained 12-year-old Ann M.

"For instance, I was forced to carry water from home, which was tiring. The water was also acquired from contaminated sources such as scoop holes and stored in unclean jerrycans. This exposed us to water-related infections like typhoid and amoeba. Our classrooms and latrines suffered from poor hygiene standards because water had [to be] sparingly used. On multiple occasions, I was forced to drink the unclean water or remain thirsty during lessons.”

But the school's new rain tank, which we helped construct last year, now provides enough water so that students can remain in their clean classrooms all day and hydrate themselves whenever they want.

"I now spend less time looking for water because the water point is nearby and offers a steady supply of water, even during the dry months," Ann said. "We also manage to clean our classrooms and latrines regularly. Proper hygiene and sanitation within the school, as well as clean and easily accessible water, [have] led to a conducive learning environment. I get more time to play with my friends and study."

Now that the students' basic needs are met, headteacher Winifred Mbai has big plans to improve the school.

"We are planning on setting up a school feeding program, thanks to this water point," Winifred said. "We have also planted vegetables and trees, which will improve our diet and offer shade as well as beautiful scenery.”

“We are also planning to plant flowers within the school to improve the scenery,” Ann added.

Migwani DEB Primary School is fast becoming a beautiful, clean, and wholesome place to learn!

Students and teachers at the rain tank.

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 Migwani DEB 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 Migwani DEB 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.


Allinder-Anestis Family Charitable Foundation
Navias Family Foundation
Solana Monkey Travel Agency
Joanne's Campaign for Water
21 individual donor(s)