Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 155 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/14/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Kalaa Primary School's 145 students and ten teachers face a severe water crisis each day.

Due to the immense water scarcity in the region, the community's water sources are overcrowded, providing limited amounts of water. During the dry season, things are even more challenging.

"This school suffers from acute water scarcity, which has led to dismal academic performance because the pupils spend a lot of time and energy carrying water to school rather than focusing on their studies," said teacher Kithome Mwenga, shown below. "Some students are late to school every day because they have to carry water to school for several kilometers."

The school has a 10,000-liter water tank, but it cannot hold enough water to meet the demand of the large student population. The school administration is forced to ration the water, leaving everyone thirsty and the school's sanitation and hygiene suffering.

To fill the small tank, students most often collect water from scoop holes near their homes and carry it several kilometers to the school. The tiring journey not only makes them late, but leaves them exhausted and without the energy to face the school day ready to learn. The scoop holes are open to contamination, and regardless of the effort, the water collected is questionable at best.

Sometimes students acquire water from a community standpipe (shown in the background above) instead. But this is three kilometers away from the school, the lines are long, and it runs dry from overuse and drought conditions. Also, the water they collect from this source is salty and should not be used for cooking or drinking.

"Getting water to bring to school is difficult because the public stand tap and scoop holes are seasonal and run dry during peak drought periods. I have to walk for about two kilometers carrying water, firewood, and [my] school bag, which drains most of [my] energy, making learning difficult," said student Onesmus M., shown below. "For instance, last week, I dozed off in class, and the teacher made me sit [in] the front seats, but that did not help. I was forced to go outside and take a walk before resuming the class session."

As an alternative, the school can purchase water delivery, but this drains an already depleted school fund and steals from other valuable needs.

Wherever the water comes from, it is unsafe for drinking, and those consuming it are paying the price with their health. There are regular stomachaches reported alongside cases of typhoid, amoeba, or dysentery.

The installation of a larger, 104,000-liter rainwater tank will ensure the school has enough clean water, and hopefully, students will have better health, more time to study, and the energy needed to improve their academic performance.

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: Kalaa PAG Primary School Rainwater Tank Complete!

Kalaa PAG 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 had to carry water from my home every day, which is located several kilometers away. I would arrive at school late and exhausted because I also have to carry my school bag on my back," said 11-year-old Solomon M.


Solomon continued: "Now that this waterpoint is in the school, we can clean our classes and reduce the bad odors from latrines. We will have enough water to wash our hands after visiting the latrines or before meals. I will be able to drink clean and fresh water during my stay in school. Our lives will improve, and I will have more energy and time to play with my friends or study."

"We live in a rural and semi-arid region that features a lot of water scarcity issues. We are often forced to ask our pupils to carry from home for drinking and cooking. The water is often acquired from unclean sources, which exposes our students to stomachaches, typhoid, and more. This rainwater project is set up within the school; thus, we will be able to get enough clean water in a few minutes. The water will also be enough for cleaning classrooms and latrines that were barely cleaned in the past. We will also be able to irrigate crops in our school, which will supplement our learners' diet and improve their health," said 54-year-old headteacher Christine Muvea.


"This project will ensure our learners get their lessons in a conducive environment that has plenty of water. They will no longer have to carry water from home which will improve their concentration in class," continued Christine.

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.

Community members helped with the project.

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.

"The students identified the soap-making activity as the most memorable since they have been seeing liquid soap around but did not know how to make it. The students showed a lot of interest during the stirring of the liquid soap. So the knowledge they acquired was quite important in their day-to-day activities. The school was given 100 liters material of soap but managed to make 40 liters of liquid soap while we made 40 liters of the latrine disinfectant," said our field officer Alex Koech.

"The whole process of the session has allowed us to become more familiar with methods to treat water, that is [the] SODIS method (solar water disinfection) and [the] use of chlorine and water guard. It has helped us to reflect on our daily lives by focusing on common health and hygiene problems, hence connecting knowledge about the spread of disease and their prevention to better hygienic behaviors," said 12-year-old Kyalo M.

"Cleanliness and good sanitation in schools is a matter of high importance. Good hygiene is all about keeping yourself and your environment clean. Hygiene is essential for preventing diseases and maintaining good health. Excellent personal hygiene is also needed for maintaining social relationships," Kyalo concluded.


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: Kalaa PAG Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kalaa PAG 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: "I want to be a pilot when I grow up, because now I have enough time to study."

March, 2024

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Kalaa PAG Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Dennis. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kalaa PAG 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!

Dennis, 10, recalled what life was like in the Kalaa PAG Primary School before his school's rainwater catchment was implemented last year.

"Life before the construction of this water point was unbearable because of the immense water shortage in school. I had to carry water to school every morning, and I would arrive late leading to punishment by the teacher on duty. I often had to skip school when there was no water at home because it was a requirement by the school administration to do so," said Dennis.

Collecting water is now less stressful for Dennis and the other Kalaa PAG Primary School students.

When asked how water has impacted his school, Dennis said, "The school has managed to construct a staff latrine using water from the water point. You will also find a garden in the school with seedlings of kale and spinach, which are instrumental when learning the agriculture subject that is part of the recently enrolled Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). There is water in the handwashing points where students wash their hands."

A student watering the school garden as part of their agriculture program, made possible by water.

Having ready access to water from the rain tank has made a difference for Dennis, allowing him time to study without worrying about finding water or getting sick. Dennis has big plans for the future, and with access to clean water, he is one step closer!


"My studies have improved because I feel good when I drink clean water. I feel that I have good health and I am very happy. I want to be a pilot when I grow up because I now have enough time to study," he 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.

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 Kalaa PAG 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 Kalaa PAG 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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