Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 290 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/19/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Kisungula Primary School's 15,000-liter rainwater harvesting capacity is insufficient for all 276 students and 14 staff members. The tanks can't hold enough rainwater to serve the school for even a week after a rainstorm.

More often than not, students are mandated to carry water with them to school because the tanks are usually empty. Students get water from wherever they can in this arid region, and most of the time, their sources are scoop holes dug into a riverbed.

"We have to carry water from home, forcing me to arrive to school late," said 13-year-old Gloria M. (pictured below).

"For example, last week I was late because there was no water at home, and [I] had to borrow some from our neighbor, who had little to spare. When I arrived late, the teacher on duty gave me a punishment of collecting [some] liters [of water] around the school before going to class."

The school has never had adequate water, but the long drought periods and short, erratic rains of the last few years have only exacerbated the issue. Now, things are worse than ever. The school's agricultural program had to be put on hold because students couldn't secure adequate water to irrigate their crops. This impacts the students' futures, as they won't be able to take their agricultural exams until the school's water difficulties are resolved.

Student morale and performance are at an all-time low. But it's easy to understand why, given that the school is so unclean.

"The current water is insufficient, thus my students cannot indulge in activities like washing their classrooms and latrines," said headteacher Francis Kanika (pictured below).

"The learners are also often tired and late to school because they have to walk several kilometers while carrying water," Francis continued. "Subsequently, they miss out on some important lessons that are difficult to recover. This has contributed to the dismal academic performance. Since the school population grows each day, building more classrooms is difficult because water is scarce."

"There is no water for hygiene and sanitation; thus, we only wash our classrooms once [or] twice in a term," Gloria explained. "The latrines also emit foul and irritating smells, making learning uncomfortable."

With water on school grounds, students will be clean, on time, and better equipped to learn and dream.

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

July, 2023: Kisungula Primary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Kisungula 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 am glad that this point has now been completed because I will no longer carry water from home, and there is enough clean water in our school. I will easily fetch water from this tank whenever I feel thirsty without any fear of contracting stomach upsets or diarrhea. Now I can forget about the exhaustion of carrying water to school because I will be arriving at school feeling ready to study, not sleep," said 12-year-old Mary K.


"Our students will now have access to enough clean water which does not expose them to water-related infections like stomach aches, typhoid, and amoeba. They will be able to wash their hands to also prevent these diseases from spreading. They will also be drinking enough clean water throughout the drought period. Moreover, food will always be prepared on time. This means that most of our students will be present in class without any distractions. I will be happy to teach active pupils who can ask questions and give suggestions," said 37-year-old teacher Sarah Njeru.

She continued, "Due to the reduced absenteeism which was mostly caused by [the] lack of water in school and water-related infections, our pupils will always attend their classes and excel. More students will be admitted to better secondary schools that can propel them to better careers."

Students with their teacher Sarah Njeru (left) and another teacher by the completed rain tank.

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.

Community members put hours of work into the project as a team.

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.

The tank's foundation.

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 for a long time.

We built a reinforced concrete column up to the tank’s center, which holds 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.

The completed tank before the final paint.

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.

Putting their new skills to use.

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.

Students learn how to make soap.

"[This training] will help us improve access to safe, sustainable drinking water and sanitation facilities and improve hygiene practices. Since waterborne diseases are diseases of public health concern, we will be in a position to block the transmission channels of the diseases,” said 12-year-old student Agnes K.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we’re working toward complete coverage. That means 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!

June, 2023: Kisungula Primary School Rainwater Catchment Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Kisungula Primary School costs students time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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!


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation
11 individual donor(s)