Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 166 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/27/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

For the 166 students and staff of Kiviu Secondary School, having access to sufficient water is a significant challenge they must face every day.

The school's plastic rainwater tanks, which drain into a small cement catchment box, only have a capacity of 59,000 liters. Therefore, they cannot hold enough water for all the school's needs, like drinking and cooking meals. Insufficient water also means classrooms are rarely cleaned, and students studying in the agriculture program get disappointing national exam scores.

The school's tanks inevitably run dry, especially during peak drought periods, causing the school administration to rely on a local water vendor or parents ferrying water by donkey from scoop holes. But even still, it is not enough. So ultimately, students suffer, finding it difficult to concentrate because they are thirsty and hungry.

"When there is no water within the school, the meals are delayed, and I have to resume the afternoon class while thirsty and hungry under the intense semi-arid heat," said 17-year-old Jane K.

Jane continued: "I was also sick last month from typhoid after drinking the water from the vendor. I had to seek medication at Mwingi Hospital before resuming my classes."

"During the common drought periods, there is inadequate water for drinking and cooking. When the tanks run dry, we have to purchase from vendors, which can be costly. The vendor is unreliable because there are times she comes late, leading to delays in meal preparation," shared 50-year-old deputy headteacher John Kimanzi.

"My students are affected by poor hygiene and sanitation because [our] water is used sparingly; thus, the latrines and classes are cleaned often [only] once per term. The unconducive learning environment caused by [the] acute water shortage has culminated into dismal academic performances," concluded Mr. Kimanzi.

The installation of a much larger rainwater tank can hopefully allow the school to collect sufficient water during the rainy season to improve sanitation throughout the year. Then, students will have plenty to drink and eat so they can focus on studying.

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: Kiviu Secondary School Rain Tank Complete!

Kiviu 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.

Students enjoy clean water to drink.

"I will have enough clean water for drinking and washing my hands after visiting washrooms, thus preventing water-related infections such as dysentery and amoeba. I am an agriculture student and will have enough water to irrigate vegetables and trees within the school," said 15-year-old Isaac K.


Isaac continued: "Previously, we had to pay more school fees to offset the water bill, but now I will no longer be required to pay more. We will also be cleaning our latrines and classrooms regularly to create a comfortable learning environment. These aspects will enable my grades to soar higher and put me in better tertiary learning institutions."

"The implementation of this project will ensure we have enough water for meal preparation and cleaning the school premises. Our students will also be able to irrigate their crops, which is crucial in the agriculture discipline. They will also be able to conduct personal hygiene and irrigate trees within the school, which are often susceptible to the severe drought and elusive rains," said deputy headteacher Elphas Kimanthi Ikiara.

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 helping.

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.

The completed tank.

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 techniques.

"The lack of proper hygiene and sanitation practices remains a challenge today, but one which can be brought under control. The children of today will be the adults and citizens of 2025, central to the future vision of a clean and healthy world. They will be the inheritors of an improved environment," said student Faith K.


"Today’s interventions, through the school system, are directly focused on the child’s impact on his/her chances of growing to be a healthier and happier person. By focusing on children today, by giving those tools and knowledge to change behaviors today, future generations can be stronger and healthier," Faith concluded.

Soapmaking session.

The session on soapmaking was a favorite amongst students. They learned the necessary skills to be able to make soap to improve the school's hygiene and sanitation levels, but also to share with family and friends and, hopefully, improve the sanitation and hygiene levels at their homes.


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: Kiviu Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kiviu 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

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.