Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 251 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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It is not surprising that the 244 students attending Tii Primary School in Kenya cannot concentrate. They walk several kilometers to collect water from a dug hole and carry it to their school every morning when their small rain tanks on the school campus run dry. It is more challenging when they do not even have enough water to drink after arriving from their long, arduous journey.

"I have to walk four kilometers (2.48 miles) carrying water to school when the rainwater tanks in the school dry, which leaves me exhausted, and I have a difficult time focusing on my studies. We rarely clean the latrines and classrooms, which further affects learning, especially due to foul smells coming from the toilets. At times, I develop stomach upsets because of consuming the untreated water from the tanks and scoop holes," said Caleb M., (in the photo above) 13.

The water scarcity in the area presents several issues for the school and the students. After students bring the first containers of water early in the day, their parents bring more water later in the day, so students and staff have water to drink and cook. Although parents have the task of bringing drinking water to school, some fail to do so, leading to quarrels amongst the parents.

Students sometimes choose to stay home because of the lack of drinking water and the exhaustion of carrying jerry cans full of water. They also often complain of stomach upset and diarrhea, and suffer from water-related illnesses such as typhoid and amoeba because of drinking dirty water from the current water source. Of course, in the long run, their academic success suffers.

Joyce Kilonzo (in the photo above), the senior teacher at the school, commented, "My students arrive in school tired because of carrying water from home, which makes them unable to fully concentrate on their studies. They also become thirsty and cannot quench their thirst, which further reduces their concentration in class. Such situations have led to absenteeism from classes, which also reduces their learning capacity. This has led to poor academic performance because of the challenges associated with the acute water shortage."

Students' health and academic success suffer without a reliable, sufficient water source on their school campus to access clean, safe drinking water. Building a much larger rain tank will ease this burden and enable them to concentrate on learning.

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

February, 2023: Tii Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Tii 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.

"I will no longer be carrying water to school, which often leaves me exhausted and unable to fully concentrate on my classes," said 11-year-old Purity. "There will be enough clean water for drinking, which will also improve my health. Meals will now be prepared on time, and I will not resume classes hungry or thirsty because this rainwater tank will store enough water to sustain all of us. Although our classes are mostly bare with no concrete, we will be dusting them regularly to promote a more comfortable learning environment. I will also have enough time to study and play with my friends because water is readily available in our school."

Purity beside the new rain tank.

"Carrying water every day to school is a daunting ordeal, and I am glad that will no longer be the case," Purity continued. "Besides, the water was previously acquired from contaminated sources and stored in unclean jerrycans, which often caused stomach upsets. I will now have enough time and energy to learn and play with my friends. I will be comfortable in class, and my grades will soar higher because I will no longer be affected by stomach issues, hunger, or thirst."

"There will be enough drinking water in the school, and students will no longer be carrying water from home because clean water will be available," said 46-year-old teacher Ann Mwende Munyithia.


"[Our] time wastage will be reduced because of the proximity of the tank, and the consumption of clean water will ensure our pupils are healthy," Ann continued. "In the past, they could carry water from home in their unclean jerrycans. The water was also drawn from contaminated sources, such as scoop holes, which exposed the pupils to water-related maladies like typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery.

"Student retention will now improve because pupils will not be absent from school due to reasons like water-related infections or water scarcity. The pupils will also be able to clean their classrooms and latrines, which will culminate in better comfort and enhanced attention during learning. I will also be able to easily drink clean water throughout the entire school session because this waterpoint's large capacity will sustain the entire school populace during the long drought periods."

Ann celebrates clean water with her students.

"We plan to plant kale and spinach in the school because we have enough water for irrigation," Ann said. "This will supplement the pupils' diet and promote better health. We will also plant more trees in the school to ensure the learning environment is conducive for everyone. Apart from [the] overall improvement of academic performance, our students will be able to conduct agriculture practical [exams], which will equip them with pertinent skills. Our school will also attract more pupils because of the conducive learning environment (thanks to water availability). Therefore, the literacy levels in this community will improve."

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.

Stones gathered for construction.

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 soap-making.

Soap-making was the students' favorite topic, and the administration was also keen on this lesson as it will help the school save money and prevent them from having to buy soap in the future. During the lesson, the students produced 40 liters each of hand soap and latrine disinfectant.

"The lack of proper hygiene and sanitation practices remains a challenge today, but one which can be brought under control," said 12-year-old Kleni, who is a member of the school's new child health club.

"The children of today will be the adults and citizens of 2025, central to the future vision of a clean and healthy world," Kleni continued. "They will be the inheritors of an improved environment. Today’s interventions, through the school system, are directly focused on the child’s impact on his/her chances of growing to be a healthier and happier person. By focusing on children today, by giving those tools and knowledge to change behaviors today, future generations can be stronger and healthier."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, 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 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!

January, 2023: Tii Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Tii 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!

Water makes learning comfortable for Kyeni!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tii 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!

Twelve-year-old Kyeni recalled what life was like at Tii Primary School before its rain tank was installed last year.

"The lack of water in our school was very frustrating and led to several problems. For instance, I was forced to carry water from home every day, which was tiring. I acquired the water from contaminated sources such as scoop holes and stored [it] in unclean jerrycans; thus, this exposed us to water-related infections like typhoid and amoeba," said Kyeni.

She continued, "Our classrooms and latrines suffered from poor hygiene standards because water [was] sparingly used. On multiple occasions, I was forced to drink the unclean water or remain thirsty during lessons."

Collecting water is now simpler and less physically demanding for Kyeni and the other students at the school.

"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. I have been getting better grades because I am not distracted by thirst. I also spend less time and energy carrying water to school, which allows me to improve my academic performance," shared Kyeni.

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Kyeni, allowing her and her classmates a better learning experience.

"We are able to wash the classrooms and latrines more often than before. 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," Kyeni concluded.

Kyeni washes her hands 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 Tii 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 Tii 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 Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation
2 individual donor(s)