Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 523 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Itiva Nzou Primary School has insufficient water to sustain its entire student and staff population of 523. Currently, the school relies on a community borehole tap and small rainwater collection tanks, but they are not enough. The consequences of the water scarcity for the students and staff of Itiva Nzou are far-reaching.

Students walk to the tap and attempt to fetch water each morning before 7 am, but sometimes there is no water. When this happens, students waiting in line to collect water waste valuable time they could use learning. When there is water, they end up exhausted from all the fetching and carrying.

Being thirsty and tired leaves them unable to concentrate in class, causing their academic performance to suffer. Any water they can collect must be used sparingly, which fuels an ongoing problem of poor hygiene and sanitation, including students not washing their hands after visiting the latrines.

Phillip Mbia (pictured below), the school's Head Teacher, shared, "The students do not have sufficient water for cooking and drinking, which leads to poor concentration in class. This reduces the school's academic performance and [the] ability of the students to join good secondary schools. The students also fall sick sometimes, which leads to absenteeism and [a] lack of focus on academic performance."

He continued, "The school also has to use water sparingly, which negatively affects hygiene and sanitation in the school's facilities, such as latrines and classrooms. It is also difficult to teach subjects such as agriculture because there is little water to take care of the crops."

The community's borehole runs dry due to the high demand from community members, school students, and staff. When the well goes dry, quarrels break out because everyone feels the tension of water scarcity.

Naomi P., 13, said: "The standing tap offers inadequate water to meet our needs such as cooking, drinking, and hygiene and sanitation. Our classrooms are rarely cleaned because we have to use the available little water sparingly. This impairs the comfort in our classrooms and reduces our concentration on studies. Queueing to fetch water also reduces our time on studies because the entire school population depends [on] one tap."

The school needs a reliable, sufficient water source to meet their daily needs without costing students the time and energy they need for learning. And hopefully, by having their own water source, their relationship with the community can be strengthened.

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

November, 2022: Itiva Nzou Primary School Rain Tank Project Complete!

Itiva Nzou 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 be able to get enough clean water for handwashing, cleaning latrines and classes, as well as irrigating trees within the school," said 44-year-old teacher Frederick Nzula.

Frederick stands in front of the freshly painted tank.

"We will also be able to prepare meals for our students on time because this water point is within the school compound," Frederick continued. "We will no longer depend on the water from [the] borehole that is shared with the community members and often rationed. Thus, students will have more time and energy to focus on school activities. We will be able to improve the green scenery in the school because we will use the water to irrigate various types of trees. Hygiene and sanitation, especially for the girls, will improve, enabling students to be comfortable in class. The school population will also increase because students will have a reliable source of drinking water."

Children were just as excited as adults about the new source of water.

"I will be able to get enough clean water for drinking and conducting personal hygiene within the school," said 13-year-old Faith M. "Lunch will also be prepared on time because there is enough water for cooking. These aspects will offer a comfortable learning environment and enable me to improve my academic performance."

Faith (in front) washes her hands alongside two other students.

"In the past, we used to acquire water from the community borehole, which was unreliable because it had little water to satisfy the community and students," Faith continued. "Now, I can get more time to study and improve my personal hygiene."

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.

The finished 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.

The attending students were aged between four and 15 years. 233 girls, 232 boys, five male teachers, and 13 female teachers were present.

The students most enjoyed the demonstration on handwashing, where the facilitator, Christine, called several students up to wash their hands and be critiqued on their technique. Some students didn't wet their hands before using soap, and one boy dried his hands on his soiled handkerchief. Then, the participant showed students the proper handwashing technique, with flowing water, plenty of soap and scrubbing, rinsing, and air-drying.

The kids were also very keen to participate in liquid soap-making, which they didn't know could be done using local materials and without fancy machinery. Students and staff all took turns stirring the soap until it was complete, which required some patience.


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!

September, 2022: Itiva Nzou Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Itiva Nzou 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: Improved Education and Hygiene!

January, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Itiva Nzou 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!

Evanson M., 12, recalled what life was like at Itiva Nzou Primary School before his school’s rainwater tank was installed last year.

"We had experienced various problems related to water scarcity issues such as lengthy hours queueing for water, hence [we had a] lack of time to focus on other activities such as studies and farming. This was very frustrating, and concentrating in class [was] difficult. Meals would [be] delayed in school because [the] lack of water was a major challenge to the feeding program. It was also challenging to clean our classrooms or latrines in the past," Evanson shared.

Collecting water is now much less frustrating for Evanson and the other students at Itiva Nzou Primary School.

"I do not spend much time looking for water since this waterpoint is within the school compound. It has enabled me to improve my academic performance because I am not distracted by thirst or hunger. The project has also allowed us to plant trees and flowers in the school, which improves the overall scenery. We learn in clean classrooms because we are able to mop [at] least once weekly," he continued.

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Evanson, allowing him to prioritize his education. The student's learning environment has been enhanced by greenery and cleanliness, which was made possible by their new rain tank. They can spend more time in class, improving their grades and unlocking new potential for their futures!

"My grades have improved because I have sufficient time [to] do my homework, thanks to the water point’s close proximity. Hygiene conditions have also improved because this water point offers clean water for use, hence lower occurrences of diseases like typhoid or amoeba," Evanson concluded.

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.

Evanson watering a newly planted tree.

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 Itiva Nzou 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 Itiva Nzou 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.


Jacqueline Johnson and Michael Billingslea
Hillcrest Baptist Churc
Numa Church KC
Fox Valley Church of Christ Walk for Water 2022
10 individual donor(s)