Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 220 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/23/2024

Project Features

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The 220 students and staff at Syunoo Primary School have inadequate water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene tasks at the school. The present rain tanks cannot hold enough to last the entire drought season. School administration locks the tanks to try to preserve the water, but it is not enough because the tanks are too small, and one of them is broken.

The school instructs pupils to carry water in their jerry cans from the local river to help meet the demand. Students use their own (often dirty) containers to collect water from small scoop holes (pictured below) in the river bed. These are open to contamination from dirt and animal feces. Drinking the water exposes both the teachers and pupils to infections, such as amoeba, typhoid, diarrhea, and worm infections, causing them to lose time teaching and learning.

The trek for pupils to carry water back to the school is several kilometers and leaves them exhausted and unable to focus on their studies. Richard Musila, the Head Teacher, shared, "The water scarcity in the school has reduced student attendance because some of them get tired and forego learning altogether due to the water challenges. The school performance has also waned because of issues such as absenteeism."

"I have to walk several kilometers during the long dry months while carrying my water jerrycan to school. I arrive in school feeling exhausted and unable to concentrate fully on the lessons," said Bernard M., a 14-year-old student.

The school latrines, classrooms, and staff offices are suffering from poor hygiene and sanitation because of the inadequate water supply and the need to use water sparingly.

Bernard shared his thoughts on the challenging hygiene situation at the school: "The learning environment is unconducive due to poor hygiene and sanitation levels, thanks to water scarcity. The latrines also emit a bad odor because they are rarely cleaned, which also exposes me to communicable infections such as typhoid, cholera, and amoeba."

The new, much larger rain tank at the school will ensure a clean supply of water, offering healthy drinking water, preventing infections related to water contamination. The sanitation and hygiene situation will improve, and the students and staff will benefit from continuous water even during the dry months.

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 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 in addition to providing 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 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 how to keep their environment clean. The school will also be taught how to best oversee 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 3 taps each, allowing 9 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

July, 2022: Syunoo Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Syunoo Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new safe, clean water source thanks to the completion of their 104,000-liter rain tank! In addition, we installed handwashing stations and trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Happy students!

"Access to this water point will mean I do not have to stay thirsty while I can easily drink water from this water point. I will also have more time to concentrate on my studies since I do not have to walk several kilometers searching for water," said Caleb M., 16.

"I will also be free from exposure to water-related infections such as typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery because water from this water point is clean and not contaminated, as was the case with our unclean jerrycans."

Student Caleb M.

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

"In the past, students had fetch water from Kiisu River scoop holes, which were also shared by livestock and open to animal and wind contamination. Although the pupils in [the] upper classes were requested to carry water in their jerrycans to school, the younger pupils had to share that water with them, and some would stay thirsty the entire day due to insufficient water," said teacher Nzera Njeru Marigu.

Teacher Nzera Njeru Marigu.

She continued, "This affected their concentration in class negatively, thus culminating in poor academic performance. The setup of this water point will ensure pupils can easily quench their thirst and focus on their studies."

Rain Tank Construction Process

First, we held a meeting with all parents and the school headteacher to plan the project. The parents agreed to collect construction materials like sand, rocks, and water. We complemented their materials by delivering the expertise, tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.

This tank is a whopping 104,000 liters because of 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.

Excavating and building the foundation.

Construction for this large rain tank is much like constructing a concrete house. First, we leveled the ground for foundation excavation. Next, we laid alternating layers of impermeable rocks and mortar up to seven feet high for the tank's outer walls. With such sturdy construction (the walls have internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet, respectively!), the tank will stand a long time.

A community member assists in wall construction.

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 inside and out with waterproof cement. After that, we installed guttering and channeled it 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.

Completing tank.

Handwashing Stations

We delivered three new handwashing stations in time for training. 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.

Soapmaking session.

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


A favorite training session topic amongst students was disease transmission routes when trainers invited students to roleplay how flies contribute to disease transmission. One girl played the role of the mother very passionately and confidently. Her teacher thanked her and asked her how she did so well. She responded that she had emulated the toughness of her own mother, who is very strict. No one expected her to do such a great job acting, making the topic memorable.

Student Health Club.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our partners, and the community members themselves. 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. We have an ongoing commitment to walk with each community, cooperatively problem-solving when they face challenges of any kind: with functionality, seasonality, or water quality issues. With all these components together, we strive to ensure 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!

May, 2022: Syunoo Primary School Rain Tank Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Syunoo 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: A More Comfortable Learning Environment!

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Syunoo 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!

Mary K., recalled what life was like at Syunoo Primary School before her school’s rain tank was installed last year.

"The rampant water-scarcity within the school was exasperating and made life unbearable. For instance, meals could delay and we often resumed our classes on empty stomachs. My back and legs also grew sore because of carrying water to school over several kilometers. Our classrooms were rarely cleaned making learning uncomfortable. It had become a routine to abscond classes due to water-related illness. We had no option apart from drinking the available little water which was mostly acquired from scoop holes," said Mary.

But life is much more encouraging for Mary and her classmates at Syunoo Primary School now.

"I am now happy that I do not carry water to school anymore because the water point is nearby and offers a steady supply of water even during the dry months. We can easily irrigate trees in our school and we manage to clean our classrooms and latrines regularly. Proper hygiene and sanitation within the school as well clean and easily accessible water has led to a conducive learning environment. I get more time to play with my friends and study leading to improved academic performance," Mary said.

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Mary, allowing her to drink clean water without the worry of consuming unclean water.

"Hygiene and sanitation have improved and I am more comfortable during lessons while keeping off diseases, such as typhoid and amoeba, because we are drinking clean water. I am also always present for my classes throughout the term and this has had a positive impact on my grades," Mary said.

Thank you for helping Mary access clean water and have the health and energy to focus on learning and improving her chances of a bright future.

Right now, there are others just like her 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.

Mary and a classmate drink water from 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 Syunoo 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 Syunoo 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.


Project Underwriter - Cornvinus Trading
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School 7th Grade
Amnesty International Club Indian Hills High School
Fox Valley Church of Christ Campaign for Water 2021
Amir and Lila's Campaign for Water
Mrs. Kelly's Class' Campaign for Water
Parita's Campaign for Water
14 individual donor(s)