Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 768 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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Hamutua Primary School is busy, with 747 students and 21 teachers moving about every day. Such a large number of students on the campus also means that the water demand for drinking, cooking, and cleaning can be overwhelming, especially without their own source of water.

Currently, there are only two choices to meet the school's water needs. Rainwater can be collected from a stream 3 km (nearly two miles) away but only during the limited rainy season (usually three months a year). Or water from a hand-dug shallow well located at the home of a community member, Mama Irene. Everyone is grateful for her willingness to share the water, but it comes with challenges.

The water is unsafe for drinking because of contamination from surface runoff, including dirt, trash, and animal feces.  Students regularly suffer from water-related illnesses like typhoid and diarrhea, which keep them out of school and cost their families money to treat.

To get to the waterpoint, pupils risk serious injury as they walk alongside a dangerous, busy road used by motorbikes and tractors to transport sugarcane and maize. Once they arrive, the well is usually very busy because community members also rely on it for their water. Often students get pushed aside and told to wait, which causes arguments that end with the school administration disciplining them.

All these factors mean students like Mary I., 13, miss valuable learning time. "Going to the well is usually a task. You have to ask for the teachers to accompany you or you might not be allowed to fetch water. The well is also a bit far, and sometimes the teacher might start teaching while I am still out getting water which makes it difficult to catch up on some topics like science and maths."

Head Teacher Alfayo Chilali, 45, shared his concerns, "I have barely been here long enough, but I have noticed that the well is a big hazard to my students and also a point of quarrels between the community and the school. I have had to deal with motorbike riders who almost knocked down my students on this road. And with some community members chasing students from the waterpoint to [not] be allowed to fetch water. Also, many cases of stomach upset, diarrhea, and typhoid from the water. The surface water (rainwater) helps as it is easily accessible, but with the current sunny (dry) season, there is none of that."

Hamutua needs its own clean, accessible water source on its campus so students can get back to learning and not have to risk their safety or their education every day.

What We Can Do:

Two Rain Tanks

Two 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tanks will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, bricks, rocks, and water for mixing cement. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans, tools, hardware, and the guttering system. Once finished, these tanks will begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school's students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

We and the school strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will lead to better student academic performance and help to unlock the potential for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather—one block for girls and one for boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and clean. And with two rain tanks right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a one-day intensive training session with students and teachers. This training will cover a wide range of topics including: COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tanks, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and at home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school, like handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

April, 2023: Hamutua Primary School Rainwater Tank Complete!

Despite tireless discussions over the past several months with those responsible for purchasing construction materials for the second rain tank (in this case, the parents and the school administration), our in-country staff has determined it is not possible to move forward on constructing a second tank. As you may know, it has been a struggle for the school to access locally available funding to purchase the sand and gravel for the second tank, and it ultimately became impossible.

Of course, the good news is that the first tank we built with your help now provides water for the students' and staff's daily needs. We will continue to monitor the status of water availability at Hamutua closely, as we do with each water project we build.

While we had hoped to install a second tank to provide a buffer against the lengthening dry seasons in Kenya, the water in the first tank has already changed the lives of the school's staff and students.

"Reliable water in the school compound has impacted my life positively. Since the water point was completed, so many changes have occurred. Firstly, I am no longer being affected by water-related ailments. Second, [there is] no more wasting of time looking for water far away from the school compound," said 16-year-old Bella N.

Bella fetching water.

"During break time, I get more time to play with my friends and moreso to discuss classwork. This has helped me perform higher than before," concluded Bella.

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new rain tank on campus.

"Access to safe and clean water in this institution has impacted my life positively. First, I am no longer being affected by water-related ailments because of drinking contaminated water from different sources," said 41-year-old teacher Ayub Mbasu.

Teacher Ayub Mbasu.

"Secondly, I am no longer wasting my time and money seeking medication from different hospitals, which has really affected my work. This is because being absent in school every week had become rampant in this institution. The water point has helped me achieve a lot when it comes to rendering my services to students because [I] am no longer wasting my time seeking medication. The target work for the day is now achievable, unlike before. Thank you," concluded Ayub.

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

Construction for this 75,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. The school community provided meals and accommodations for the tank’s artisans. Locals helped our artisans with manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration scouting around the school compound for the best rain tank location. The site needs enough land and a nearby building with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Excavation begins.

Then, we cleared the site by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundation. We cast the foundation by laying big stones on the level ground and reinforcing them using steel wire, concrete, and waterproof cement. We affixed the drawing pipe and the drainage pipe as we laid the foundation.

Next, we formed the walls using a skeleton of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. We attached the frame to the foundation's edges so we could start the Ferro-cementing process. The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first two layers of cement. We layered the cement until six layers were in place, ensuring long-lasting construction.

Inside the tank, we cast one central and four support pillars to ensure the dome does not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner wall and roughcast the outer walls.

We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside the tank, installing a short staircase. We constructed a soak pit in front of the access area where spilled water will drain from the access area through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Cementing the dome.

Dome construction began after the tank walls settled. We attached a skeleton of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering, using similar techniques to the wall construction. We included a small manhole cover to allow access for future cleanings, water treatments, and repairs. We propped long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside the tank to support the dome while it cured.

Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting a lockable cover over the tap area, affixing the gutters to the roof and tank, and setting an overflow pipe at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Once finished, we gave the rain tank three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. We removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tank.

Finally, we handed over the rain tank to the school. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. These new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a well right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Handwashing Stations

We set up two handwashing stations outside the latrines and handed them over to the newly formed student health club. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, fill the stations with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent available.

New Knowledge

We coordinated with the school's staff to schedule our hygiene and sanitation training. When the training day arrived, facilitators Janet, Jonathan, Victor, Olivia, and Nelly deployed to the site to lead the event. 45 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in the school compound under a tree shade next to the school's main gate.

The attendance exceeded our expectations as many of the students wanted to participate in the training.

We focused on personal hygiene, oral hygiene, and the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Students practice proper hand washing practices.

The club will be significantly involved in the school's water, sanitation, and hygiene project management. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

"The most memorable topic was the soap-making process. The topic was so involved as each and every participant wanted to try the process of stirring the reagents. Lastly, the school at large was very grateful for the knowledge they acquired in [the] soap making process and said that it would help them in improving hygiene and sanitation standards in school and even at home," said field officer Nelly Chebet.

"Training has impacted my life positively because I have learned new things in my life, such as [the] soap-making process, which I have never learned before," said Bella, who was quoted earlier.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2022: Hamutua Primary School Second Rain Tank Still Delayed

We're sad to share that we're still waiting on construction materials for Hamutua Primary School's second rain tank. As we've said before, gathering construction materials in sub-Saharan Africa can be difficult. With drought, inflation, and food shortages added to the mix, the school is having a harder time than ever sourcing sand, cement, and stone to begin construction.

We are still hoping to construct a second rain tank with the capacity to fully serve the school's large population and looking forward to the day we'll be able to share some good news. We haven't forgotten about Hamutua Primary School, and we hope you haven't, either!

We're always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer your questions. And, if you get a notice like this, it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.


August, 2022: Second Rain Tank Delayed

The students and staff at Hamutua Primary School are enjoying their first rain tank and thank you for your support.

The second rain tank is taking longer than expected to finish as we wait on the school to collect the construction materials that they must contribute to the project.

As you can imagine, coordinating all the people involved in this kind of project is key to a great project. The field officers are meeting frequently with the school leadership, and based on their last review, the school needs more time to prepare. We look forward to keeping you updated with more news in the coming months!

If you have any questions, please know we are happy to discuss this change further.

March, 2022: First Rain Tank at Hamutua Primary School Complete!

We are excited to share that one rainwater catchment tank at Hamatua Primary School has been completed. As you may know, communities contribute locally available materials like rock and sand to their water projects. It’s a big commitment on their part, given that many of these heavy materials must be carried by hand!

So, it’s taking a little longer than usual to get the remaining materials for the second tank and the completion of the second half of this project has been delayed. We hope to have more news for you on the second tank in July!

In the meantime, students will be able to use the tank as soon as the rainy season arrives. We'll be sure to send you pictures of flowing water and smiling kids when we can!

February, 2022: Hamutua Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Hamutua 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!


8 individual donor(s)