Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 437 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/19/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

The 437 students and staff at Musuani Primary School, which is both a day school and a boarding school, are suffering without adequate water to meet their daily needs. The school has two small rain tanks, but even together, they don't hold enough water to fulfill all the students' needs—especially the ones who must bathe and wash their clothes at the school.

If it often rained in this region, the tanks would have ample opportunities to fill up, but since it only rains a few times a year in Southeast Kenya, the tanks mostly sit empty. The school has been unable to build anything larger because such a large construction project is an expense they can't afford.

"The school water rationing is a practice that has been very rampant in this school. Water rationing occasionally causes chaos in the school, often the school has cases of pupils wrestling for water," our field officer Jefferson Mutie said.

He continued: "Students are forced to skip bathing and washing clothes at times. The school experiences hard times in cooking food most of the time."

The boarding students are tasked with collecting 10 small jerrycans of water each day, while each morning the day scholars must haul a large container of water with them to school first thing in the morning. But still, the school never has sufficient water to meet the demands, and administrators must ration the water.

"Water scarcity in our school calls for us as an administration to plan on water rationing such that everyone gets water. I also need to plan on making a polite request to day scholars to bring water in the morning when they come to school," said 58-year-old headteacher Boniface Kyangati (pictured left).

Even with students contributing all the water they can collect, and administrators rationing the water, often they run out. When that happens, the staff are forced to purchase water from vendors who deliver water on carts, but it is a costly expense that the school can't afford without sacrificing other meaningful programs.

"The water situation at the school makes me feel bad about my school. We stay in very dusty classes as we cannot have enough water to wash the classes. Our health is not very okay as we experience numerous health-related issues related to the condition of the water we drink," said 17-year-old student Joseph M. (pictured below).

Not only are students thirsty, their school is dirty, and their personal hygiene lacking, but their school learning opportunities are limited as they do not have enough water to run programs like the agricultural one Joseph participates in.

"Our agriculture programs are left hanging, and sometimes the little we plant dries up very fast," said Joseph.

With a reliable source of water on the school campus, students should have plenty of drinking water, be able to make academic progress, and practice good hygiene.

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

December, 2023: Musuani Primary School Rain Tank Complete!

Musuani 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.

"Getting water for drinking in the past was difficult, let alone bathing; thus, I would forego personal hygiene on most occasions because there [was] insufficient water in the school. Being a border, things were hard because mopping our dormitory was an occasional affair, and latrines had a foul smell. I am happy now that this waterpoint will take that difficult past away. There is enough drinking water, and conducting personal hygiene is now an easy and regular affair," shared 13-year-old Ben M.

Ben (left) and a friend collecting clean water!

"I would contract stomach aches or ringworms in the past and had to often abscond classes to go home and seek treatment. Now, I drink clean water and perform personal hygiene chores (such as handwashing and bathing) on a daily basis. This will keep the diseases off and ensure my continued presence in school throughout the academic days. I believe my grades will improve, and I will make my teachers and parents proud," Ben continued.

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.

Materials needed to begin construction.

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 a sturdy construction (the walls have internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet, respectively!), the tank will stand for a long time.

Rain tank construction.

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.

Constructed and painted rain 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.

Handwash stations ready for 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 soap making.


"The training was very useful to us, personally, through the topic on personal hygiene. I have learned how to keep myself clean, [and] I have also learned how to prevent diseases and infections using simple acts like handwashing and covering food. I feel our school [will] never [be] the same again. We have been shown how to make soap and liquid disinfectant. Our hygiene standards will go high. We are happy and grateful," shared the 14-year-old vice chairperson of the newly formed student health club, Lailah N.

Lailah is excited about her new knowledge!

Liquid soap making was an exciting topic! Field officer Alex Koech shared, "The whole process of making the liquid soap takes time and involves a lot of stirring. Each participant took turns stirring the soap. To increase the patience of the learners, the teachers in charge of the health club engaged the learners to discuss how they will use the soap to improve hygiene and sanitation in their school going forward. The students participated so well and came up with many ideas. Some said they would use the soap for hand washing, or washing latrines and bathrooms in the school while others said they would use the soap for washing their lunch dishes and washing dormitories."

With this new knowledge, students and faculty alike have the tools to create a healthier environment conducive to learning.


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, wwe'reworking 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!

October, 2023: Musuani Primary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

The lack of adequate water in at Musuani Primary School cost 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!