Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 235 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/10/2024

Project Features

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Water used by the 235 students and staff of Tyaa Kamuthale Primary School is mainly collected by students each morning on their way to school from the Tyaa River, nearly two kilometers away. However, the river is seasonal, offering insufficient water throughout the entire year, and is contaminated by open defecation from animals and humans nearby.

The only alternate water sources are a small plastic rain tank and a broken 20,000-liter cement rainwater tank on the school's campus. The top opening of the larger tank does not close, so it collects dust and bird droppings, making its water also unsafe for human consumption. Neither can hold enough water to solve the school's current water crisis.

Regardless of which source it comes from, students are forced to use dirty, contaminated water. Subsequently, they are prone to suffering from water-related illnesses like stomach pains, typhoid, dysentery, and amoebas.

Kimanzi M. (in the photo below), 14, said, "I have to carry water in a jerrycan to school each morning during the dry season, which leaves me exhausted upon school arrival. The water in the tank is also inadequate, which leaves me thirsty and unable to fully concentrate on learning."

Most students, like Kimanzi, arrive late to school and are so tired from the long walks from the river while carrying a jerrycan full of water along with their books that they struggle to focus on their studies.

He continued, "The scoop holes in the river are also contaminated by the animal droppings and dust that are swept by the wind. I have no option but to drink that water, which has contributed to stomach upsets and discomfort, which further impairs my academic performance negatively. The water in the school is also not enough to clean our classrooms and latrines, thus leading to poor levels of hygiene and sanitation, which makes the learning environment uncomfortable."

Absenteeism is a challenge for the school and is limiting its academic success. Students are often absent because of exhaustion, sickness, or not wanting to go without water during the day, and they pay the price academically.

Another negative aspect of the water crisis is conflict. The school administration and the community have been at odds because students pass through farms owned by community members and damage their crops while fetching water.

"Being the senior teacher, I often spend a lot of time handling disputes between the parents and school concerning students trespassing [on] the parents' land. I would have used that time to teach my students," said teacher James Gathuo.

Mr. Gathuo went on to describe the challenges his students face academically without sufficient water: "Most of the students also arrive late to school while others are absent, which makes learning a challenge. The affected students miss out on most of the covered classwork. With the current Competency-Based Curriculum syllabus, it's challenging to teach because most of the subjects require practicals (exams) that need water."

The installation of this water point will ensure a clean, safe source of water for sufficient drinking water and the water needed to improve the hygiene and sanitation of the school. Time previously spent traveling long distances to collect water will be reallocated for students to focus on their studies, improving their academic success. And having a dedicated water source will hopefully foster a more positive relationship with the community in the future.

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

June, 2022: Tyaa Kamuthale Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Tyaa Kamuthale 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.

"We will now have clean water for drinking and I will be able to wash my hands regularly," said 13-year-old Ndanu M.

"This will prevent [my] exposure to infections such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, and amoeba that are associated with poor hygiene and sanitation as well as contaminated water. I will not have to carry water from home because this water point is within the school, thus enabling [me] to acquire more time and energy to concentrate on my classwork. I will also get more time to play with my peers because I will not be using my spare time fetching water from the distant Tyaa River."

Ndanu in front of the rain tank.

"My academic performance will soar higher because I can easily drink clean water and [have] meals within the school. My personal hygiene and sanitation will also improve because there is enough water. Better academic grades will put [me on the path of] various lucrative career opportunities in [the] future, hence I will be able to support my family. I will also be learning in a conducive environment because we will grow and plant more trees within the school for their shade."

"We will now have a clean source of water within the school, which will reduce the time spent fetching water from [the] Tyaa River that is located almost two kilometers away," said 45-year-old teacher Priscilla Munyoki.

Priscilla in front of the tank.

"My pupils will now have sufficient time and energy, enabling concentration amid academic lessons. This water point will ensure my pupils are no longer exposed to infections because it offers clean water."

"I will no longer have to request students carry water to school for drinking and cleaning thanks to the tank's capacity. Since the pupils will no longer have to carry water, it will reduce issues such as lateness or absenteeism, thus improving the school's academic performance."

"The students will also be comfortable in class because they have enough water for drinking and maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation in the classrooms and latrines. We will also be able to implement a feeding program within the school because we now have sufficient water."

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.

Gathered materials.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The topic that got the most laughs was when the facilitator covered disease transmission routes, naming open defecation (when people relieve themselves outside of a toilet or latrine) as one of the worst factors. One of the teachers stood up and said he'd noticed a few students practicing this harmful behavior and threatened to name them if they did not begin using the latrines, which made the students laugh.

COVID-19 was another notable topic. When the facilitator was explaining how COVID spreads and why it had been such a big issue worldwide, a very young student piped up, saying: "[COVID-19] is a way of the government to reap money from people of goodwill." The facilitator assured the student that COVID is indeed real.

Patrick on the day of the training.

"This training is a special one to us because the knowledge gained here will not only change our lives, but also the lives of the entire community," said 14-year-old Patrick K.

"We have been taking issues of hygiene lightly until we had this training. Improvement on [our] general hygiene is the key thing that will change. This will include handwashing, proper use and good cleaning of our latrines, water treatment and personal hygiene, to mention but a few."

"We will ensure that the available sanitation infrastructures are well-maintained to prevent disease transmission. The skills of soap- and kerol- (detergent) making are important to us and have proven that maintaining hygiene is easy. The knowledge will be passed to our siblings and other people so that they may realize the benefit they have."


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.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2022: Tyaa Kamuthale Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Tyaa Kamuthale Primary School in Kenya drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

We've begun construction but the completion of the tank will take a bit longer than expected.

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 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: Time to Dream of Becoming a Doctor!

October, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tyaa Kamuthale 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!

Grace N., 15, recalled what life was like at Tyaa Kamuthale Primary School before her school's rain tank was installed last year.

"Coming to school was frustrating because we had to walk several kilometers while carrying jerrycans of water to school. I would arrive at school unable to concentrate in class. The situation was worse because I was unable to carry water sometimes and had to bear the thirst under the high, arid heat. Our classrooms and latrines were rarely cleaned, making learning uncomfortable," said Grace.

For Grace and the other students at Tyaa Kamuthale Primary School, life is different now.

"I am very happy that I no longer have to carry water to school and usually have time to play with my friends. I am happy about the improved hygiene in our classrooms and latrines. I am also not exposed to water-related infections," said Grace.

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Grace, allowing her to spend more time in class learning.

"It feels good to irrigate our trees in school because it helps us learn. I am more comfortable during lessons because I can easily drink clean water whenever I am thirsty. I also spend less time and energy fetching water, which has allowed me to improve my academic performance. I hope one day I will be a doctor," concluded Grace.

Children from the school drink from the rain tank.

Right now, there are others 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.

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 Tyaa Kamuthale 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 Tyaa Kamuthale 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.


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