Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 209 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/24/2022

Project Features

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Mutiuni Primary School's main water source is the Katse River, nearly 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) away. Students fetch containers full of water and carry them to school each morning along with their books.

As you can imagine, this is a tiresome and arduous task that leaves students exhausted and unable to concentrate once they finally arrive. The watering holes are often overcrowded because the entire community shares them, leading to long queues and students wasting valuable learning time. Absenteeism is also rampant as some students fail to come to school because they lack water.

All of these factors alter students' academic performance, as noted by Head Teacher Samwel Mutunga (in the photo above), 45. "The students have to embark on long walks to the river, which consumes a lot of time since the river is far away and is usually overcrowded. Students being required to deliver water to school leads to exhaustion and time wastage, which eventually leads to poor academic performance, as most of their time is spent on fetching water rather than studying."

Water from the river scoopholes is contaminated because of nearby animal and human excrement and dust, exposing the 209 students and staff to water-related infections, such as stomach pains, typhoid, and amoebas. Some scoopholes are also dangerous because they have been dug very deep and are left open.

The water that students collect cannot sustain the whole school population and must be rationed. Other tasks requiring water besides drinking must be limited, leading to poor hygiene and sanitation at the school, discomfort in the learning environment for students, and stalled construction projects.

Janet M. (pictured above), 11, commented, "I have to walk about five kilometers (3.10 miles) to school carrying water in a jerrycan every day, which leaves me too tired to concentrate on my studies. Also, I have to forego coming to school when there is no water at home to avoid punishment from the school administration."

Janet continued, "The available water is also contaminated, and I have developed stomach upsets in the past. Other factors like poor hygiene and sanitation due to water insufficiency have also made the learning uncomfortable, which has constantly led to poor performance and low grades."

The proposed 104,000-liter rainwater tank will hold more water that will last the school the entire drought period. Students will get a clean source of drinking water, enabling them to save their time and energy for improving their studies.

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

10/24/2022: Mutiuni Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Mutiuni 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.

"Pupils have enough water to drink, cook, and maintain proper hygiene and sanitation. The students will also be healthy from drinking clean water, unlike the previous sources, such as scoop holes. They will have energy and time to improve their academic performance," said 35-year-old teacher Dorcas Kalunda Mukiti.

"I will no longer have to carry water to school or be late due to the exhaustion of carrying water. We will have clean water to drink within the school and no longer [be] distracted by thirst during lessons. We will also use the water for agriculture and tree growing, which is crucial in the current school curriculum," said 15-year-old Susan M.

She continued: "My academic performance will improve because I will have more time to study and play. I will also no longer [be] absent in school like before when I often contracted typhoid or amoeba because of drinking water carried in unclean jerrycans and acquired from scoop holes."

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.

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.

Liquid soapmaking training was conducted for the teachers and students who were chosen to be members of the health club. During the demonstration, students participated in making 20 liters of soap and latrine disinfectant. We left the remaining materials with the school so they could make more soap and disinfectant on their own following the procedures they had learned.

"I have benefited a lot from today’s training. I will practice what I was taught during this training. The training has helped me learn how we eat dirt and get sick. I have also learned how to make liquid soap, and this knowledge will enable us to have soap all the time,” said 13-year-old Mawia M.


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!

08/23/2022: Mutiuni Primary School Rain Water Catchment Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mutiuni 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

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation
Estate of Ms. Malo
2 individual donor(s)