Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 438 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 398 students of Nguuku Secondary School spend too much of their time and energy finding and collecting water.

Their school currently has six rainwater tanks that only hold 30,000 liters of water, which is not sufficient to meet the boarding school's water demands. When the tanks run dry, students are forced to find water wherever they can, and most often, that is from the nearby riverbed scoop holes.

The need for additional water sends students to the Katse River in the evening, which is located about one kilometer away. If they cannot collect sufficient water, students are forced to ignore their personal hygiene, such as bathing and toothbrushing.

"Fetching water from the river is time-consuming and exhausting," said Kilonzi M., a student at Nguuku Secondary School, shown in the photo below collecting water.

Not only is it tiring for students, but it is also risky.

"The scoop hole at Katse river is close to a murram (paved) road with a bridge, making it unsafe and dangerous. Earlier this year, a lorry fell into the river, which could have been fatal if we were fetching water at that time," said Kilonzi.

When the rain tanks are not able to collect sufficient water during the short rainy periods, the school administrators are forced to purchase water from outside vendors, an expense that the school can't afford.

"My students spend their free time in the evening fetching water rather than playing with their mates or studying. This reduces their concentration and performance in class," said senior teacher Esther Ndunda (in the below photo).

"Water scarcity also makes managing this school difficult because most of the resources are spent on water expenses," said Esther. "School projects like feeding programs, agriculture, and construction of more classrooms end up stalling or [are] scraped off."

The students and staff of Nguuku Secondary School need a reliable water source that will see them through long drought periods so they can put their time, energy, and resources into other things.

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: Nguuku Secondary School Rain Tank Complete!

Nguuku 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.

John K.

"I will no longer have to walk several kilometers to fetch water from the distant scoop hole. We will also have enough clean water to drink. As the health club, we will plant trees and improve hygiene and sanitation. I will get more time to study because there will be no wastage of time. Agricultural projects will also improve because we will [have] water to irrigate our crops," said 16-year-old John K.

"Learners and staff will be healthy because they are drinking clean water. They will also save time and focus on improving their academic performance. Learners will love that agriculture subject, and students will be more disciplined," said 33-year-old senior teacher Esther Mueni Ndunda.

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.

Construction 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.

Learning proper handwashing.

When we asked student John K. (quoted and pictured above) how the training will affect him, he said, "It will help us improve access to safe, sustainable drinking water and sanitation facilities and improve hygiene practices."

John continued: "Since waterborne diseases are diseases of public health concern, we will be in a position to block the transmission channels of the diseases. When we talk of healthy living, it is composed of drinking clean water, eating balanced diets, and observing hygiene during food preparation. [Also] avoiding stress, regular exercises, enough sleep/rest, and ensuring and washing all the time we will prevent direct and indirect transmission of the most chronic diseases."


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!

October, 2022: Nguuku Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Nguuku Secondary 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!

Life is More Bearable for Catherine!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nguuku Secondary 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!

In January 2023, you helped implement a rain tank at Nguuku Primary School! One year of clean, accessible water has impacted the lives of the students and staff. When we visited recently, one student in particular had lots to share!

Before the Rain Tank Installation

Sixteen-year-old Catherine shared what life was like at the Nguuku Primary School before their rainwater tank was installed.

"In the past, getting water within the school was an uphill task. We did not have enough water to clean our hands, and the water was contaminated, exposing us to water-related infections like typhoid, amoeba, or dysentery. We had to fetch water in the evening at the scoop holes in the river. Carrying water on my back while walking was very exacting, and my legs would ache. The water was not enough, and I would [only] wash my uniform occasionally," said Catherine.

Previous water source before the rain tank was installed.

Since the Rain Tank Installation

Collecting water is much less taxing for Catherine and the rest of Nguuku Primary School. With ready access to clean water, these students no longer fear the collection or consumption of water. That stress has been removed from Catherine's life, making room for more important things!

"I easily fetch clean water to drink, and [I am] no longer exposed to infections like typhoid or diarrhea caused by contaminated scoop hole water. I get time and energy to study or chat with my friends, and life in school is much more bearable," she shared.

When asked how safe water has affected her educational experience, Catherine shared,
"I am now much more active in class because I do not stress about where to get water. I am also more comfortable with my studies because we have enough water in school."

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 Nguuku Secondary 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 Nguuku Secondary 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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