Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 401 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Nguuku Primary School is a boarding school for 384 male and female students who struggle to find enough water for themselves and their teachers daily.

"Carrying water to school is difficult considering we sometimes have to [also] carry firewood to school. I arrive in school late and exhausted, which affects my concentration in class," shared 11-year-old Kevin K., shown below carrying water.

"Getting enough clean water to drink is a difficult ordeal because water from scoop holes is unsafe for human consumption, thanks to the animal [excrement] and dust," said 45-year-old headteacher James Ndatho (shown below).

The school's several small rain tanks collect water, but the high demand makes it impossible for them to hold sufficient water for all the school's needs. The students' only choice is to venture out into the community to find water from scoop holes, but they are a kilometer away, and it is physically exhausting to climb up the steep surrounding hills with heavy jerrycans full of water.

With so many students and community members relying on the same scoop holes, time is wasted waiting in lines, and the amount of water collected is limited. Various issues at the school happen as a result. Meals are delayed, students miss class, and the hygiene of the students and the school is lacking.

The water they manage to collect is also not safe to consume, leaving everyone struggling with cases of typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery.

"I have to send home more than a dozen pupils each term due to water-related infections, which negatively affects their academic performance," said Mr. Ndatho.

The school needs a much larger rain tank to provide sufficient water for everyone so students can regain their time and health, and teachers can get back to helping them learn.

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 Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Nguuku 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.

"I will be able to easily access water from this water point because it's within the school premises. I will also have enough water to drink throughout the day, unlike before when water was scarce in the school," said Kevin.

Kevin by the newly installed rain tank.

Kevin continued: "In the past, I had to go fetch water at the distant Nguuku River with vehicles moving nearby, which was dangerous because the road has no safety features, and vehicles would skid off into the river. Now, I will be able to easily get enough clean water in school. Thus, [I will have] more time to play with my friends or study."

"Our water expenses will be reduced to almost a negligible figure because the rainwater tank will hold enough water to sustain the entire school during the long drought. The water will also be clean because it [is] harvested from well-maintained roofs," said headteacher James Ngatho.

Headteacher James Ngatho.

"We will use the saved water expenses to construct more infrastructure and purchase more learning materials. Adequate water availability in the school will also attract more students to our school, and absenteeism will also reduce, leading to improved academic performance," James concluded.

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.

Women working hard to help with the project.

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.

There was a question and answer session during the personal hygiene session of the training so facilitators could understand how much the children understood about personal hygiene. By the end of the session, students were able to understand various aspects of personal hygiene, including tooth brushing, proper bathing, and hand washing.

The facilitators then ended the session by encouraging students not to share personal hygiene items and to continue practicing the good hygiene behaviors they had learned. The session was memorable and very interesting to students, especially since those who answered questions correctly were awarded extra packets of biscuits (cookies).

"The training was very good. I have learned how to wash [my] hands properly. I have also learned how we get infections through consuming unclean food and fruits. As the health club chairperson, I will ensure we practice what we learned today in school," said 13-year-old Shem K., the student health club president.



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 Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Nguuku 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!

Monica Can Focus on Her Future!

April, 2024

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Nguuku Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Monica. 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 Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nguuku 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!

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 recently visited the school, one student in particular had lots to share!

Before the Rain Tank Installation

Fourteen-year-old Monica shared what life was like at the Nguuku Primary School, "It was tiring to fetch water from the scoop holes because of the long journey over steep hills. I would fall sick severely during the term because of drinking contaminated water and had to go home and seek treatment. This affected my studies as I would try hard to keep up with the others when I came back. I also had to bear with thirst during the day because most times there was no water to drink."

The scoop hole students relied on before the rain tank.

Since the Rain Tank Installation

Collecting water is far less physically and mentally exhausting for Monica and the other students at Nguuku Primary School.

"I feel very happy about this tank because I easily drink clean water whenever I need to and no longer need to fetch water at the scoop hole. Our school has also improved in hygiene and sanitation, enabling a comfortable learning environment. I am practicing proper personal hygiene as we were taught during the hygiene training," she continued.

Monica and a friend are excited about clean water!

Monica's Future is Bright!

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Monica, allowing her to no longer spend her life in fear of becoming ill so she can now focus on her future.

"My grades have improved because I now get more time to study and discuss with my friends. This is because the water is nearby, and the clean water prevents the risk of water-related infections, which forced me to be out of school. I want to study hard so that I can join a good secondary school that will enable me [to] get good grades," Monica concluded.

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 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 Nguuku 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.


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