Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 159 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 09/19/2023

Project Features

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Winzyeii Secondary School currently has three rainwater tanks with a capacity of 21,000 liters. However, the tanks can only hold water for three weeks before they run dry and the 159 staff and students end up without water again.

This consistent water scarcity forces the school to purchase water acquired from scoop holes or unprotected wells delivered by donkeys or oxen-drawn carts until the rain tanks can be refilled. The water delivery is expensive. The school spends up to KSE60,000 ($531USD) per term on water, which is a cost the school is not able to cover long-term, and would be better used supporting the students' education.

Paul Kavivya, the school's principal (in the photo above), commented, "I have to set apart water purchase funds because it is not provided by the government. Requesting these funds from the parents is hectic because the parents depend on farming as their source of income, which is affected by the long droughts. I also have to ration the water to sustain the school population longer. This has dismally affected hygiene and sanitation within the premises. Some of my students become absent due to infections contracted from the untreated water and this negatively affects the school's academic performance."

During the dry season, the water vendors generally do not deliver water until late in the afternoon. The lack of water for cooking forces students to take their lunch at 4 pm and attend their afternoon classes on empty stomachs, reducing their concentration.

But even with the delivered water, there is still not enough to go around, so it must be rationed. This leaves students thirsty and the hygiene and sanitation of the school lacking since the classrooms and latrines are rarely cleaned. To make matters worse, the purchased water they are able to drink is contaminated, salty, and smells foul. Drinking it puts students at risk of contracting typhoid, dysentery, and amoebas.

"Since water is used sparingly, our classrooms have accumulated dust, which affects my concentration while studying in class as it leads to respiratory infections. We also have little water to drink and sometimes I am unable to concentrate in class because of the pinching thirst. Learning subjects such as agriculture is also difficult because we have little water to take care of the crops," said Priscilla K., a student (in the photo above).

The proposed rain tank project will hold enough clean water (104,000-liters - nearly 5 times the current capacity) to sustain the school through the dry season. The school will no longer have to purchase water and can use the spare funds to improve the school's learning opportunities and infrastructure. And with adequate water, the student's concentration and the overall hygiene and sanitation of the school should improve.

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

January, 2023: Winzyeii Secondary School Rain Tank Complete!

Winzyeii Secondary 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 have enough water within the school and will no longer have to scramble for the meager water in the school tanks during class breaks," said 16-year-old student Peter M. "My personal hygiene will also improve because water will be adequate, thanks to the large capacity rainwater tank."

"In the past, meals would sometimes [be late] because of the acute water scarcity," Peter continued. "This would force me to resume my lessons when thirsty and hungry, thus [I was] unable to focus during lessons. This tank will ensure I have a clean source of drinking water within the school and meals will always be prepared on time."

Teachers were also excited about the new water point.

"The school has experienced various water scarcity issues that will come [to] an end, thanks to the tank," said 26-year-old teacher David Musyoka. "The agriculture projects will thrive because there is enough water to irrigate crops and trees. We will have a clean source of water within the school which will not expose students to infections like typhoid."

"The water will enable us to plant more trees within the school to cover the bare ground and offer cool shade for learning or interacting," Mr. Musyoka continued. "Hygiene and sanitation will also improve because students have enough water for cleaning the school buildings, including [the] latrines. They will be able to learn in a conducive environment, which could boost their academic performance."

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.

Materials ready 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.

Students practicing handwashing.

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 students found the subject of water quality most interesting. Our trainer, Christine, shared the results of our baseline water quality test with them (the sources they had been drinking from prior to the tank's construction). The students were surprised to learn the water was contaminated, and were very interested in learning how to treat water before drinking it.

Everyone also enjoyed learning how to make soap. One of the students said his mother sells soap at the local market, and he was excited to compare the new method he had learned with her method of making it to see whether they were similar.

"The training session was very educative, and we are thankful for the opportunity to learn," said chairperson of the new health club, 17-year-old Stephen M. "I have learned how to maintain hygiene [and] sanitation, and this will help me prevent infections. I have also learned how to make liquid soap, and this knowledge will ensure we have good soap all the time. We will not spend money buying ready-made soap from the markets. Our soap has gone a mile ahead. We are going to use the soap to wash our hands and classes and the disinfectant to wash our latrines."



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!

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.


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