Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 184 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 09/11/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 172 students of Syomukii Primary School carry the burden of the school's water crisis on their shoulders. And although they expend costly physical energy bringing water to school with them every day, they fight an impossible battle that leaves them sick and exhausted.

"Students have to walk for several kilometers amid the scorching sun to access water for drinking and preparation of meals. This causes a lot of exhaustion and reduced concentration on academic performance. The rampant water inadequacy has also led to poor hygiene and sanitation, which has led to an unconducive learning environment," reported field officer Alex Koech.

"The requirement by the school administration to carry water to school forces me to fetch water from the distant scoop holes in the evening so that I can carry it to school in the morning," said student Dennis K. (shown below).

The school has a couple of small water tanks, but students can't fill them with enough water to meet their daily needs. The school administration tries to help by purchasing water from a local vendor each morning, but overcrowding at the water point causes delays. When this happens, students must attend classes without food or water, leaving them hungry and thirsty for a large portion of the day and unable to concentrate.

The scoop holes where students and the vendor collect water are open to contamination, and as a result, everyone's health is suffering. There are frequent reports of stomachaches, diarrhea, typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery.

"I often develop stomachaches. For instance, last week, I did not come to school because of stomach pains after drinking water acquired from the scoop holes," said Dennis.

"Most of the students are occasionally absent from school due to reasons like lack of water to carry to school or water-related infections. For instance, three of my pupils have not attended class today because they were sick. By the time they resume their studies, they would have already missed out on various topics, leading [to] poor academic performance," said teacher Perminus Kariuki (shown below).

The installation of a much larger rainwater tank will allow the school to collect sufficient water during the rainy season so students can be relieved of their burden. Also, resources funneled toward acquiring water will be used for other essential things. With time and energy to study, students will improve their academic performance and find time for some fun.

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

March, 2023: Syomukii Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Syomukii 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 previously had to carry water to school every morning, and most of us reside several kilometers away. I will no longer have to carry water to school every morning, which is an exhaustive affair. The availability of clean water within the school will be very beneficial. I will now have clean water to drink within the school whenever I am thirsty," said 14-year-old Isaac M. "I am now happy that I will have more time to rest, study or play with my friends."

"This rainwater tank will be helpful to us because we will have enough clean water for drinking. washing our hands and irrigating the trees in our school. The students will no longer have to carry water from home because this water tank will hold enough water for all of us," said 31-year-old teacher Albertina Mumbe Muthengi.

"Their concentration in class will also improve because they will no longer carry water from home. They will also be coming to school early, which will further improve their academic performance," concluded Albertina.

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 soap-making.

During the discussion on disease transmission routes, the participants were quite engaged.

"They were to use the drawings to create a diagram showing the different ways in which fecal matter might come into contact with people’s mouths. The objective of this topic was to help the participants discover and analyze how diarrheal diseases can be spread through human hygiene practices and the environment. The students competed among themselves in forming the disease transmission routes. They managed to come up with a number of routes using the posters," said our field officer Alex Koech.

The session ended after a discussion about how to block and prevent disease transmission routes.

"The training was very beneficial to me. I have learned how diseases are spread and how they can be prevented. I have also learned how to wash my hands properly using flowing water and soap. We will practice what we learned today to improve our hygiene and sanitation," said 14-year-old Matua M.

Another popular session was soap-making. The students quickly identified their new knowledge as a life skill in light of their competency-based curriculum. They expressed that soap-making is a skill they will not quickly forget because it will help them in life and can be turned into a source of income.

"As the club chairperson, I will ensure the soap project is sustainable and that our hygiene and sanitation here in school improves," concluded Matua.


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: Syomukii Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Syomukii 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!


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