Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 187 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/28/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

Due to the arid landscape, rampant drought, and short rains experienced in this region of Kenya, people are always on the hunt for water.

Kanyuuni Primary School has two rain tanks on its campus, but they are too small and leaking, so there is no way to store enough water to meet the needs of its 187 students and teachers every day.

Students carry water from home to fill the gap, but still, they run out. This forces the school administration to purchase water from vendors, which is costly and takes away from other vital programs at the school. A large amount of water is required for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and the agricultural program. Sadly, there is never enough to go around.

Students and staff feel so many negative impacts due to the lack of water. Hygiene and sanitation suffer, causing foul-smelling latrines and dingy classrooms that make learning uncomfortable. The school's agricultural program goes without water, leading to dismal performance from agricultural students due to no fault of their own. And the school feeding program has been discontinued, making everyone bring their own food to school instead of it being provided.

"We have had to stop irrigating crops that help in studying agriculture, hence the performance in the subject has dwindled. Construction projects within the school cannot be accomplished because of the acute shortage. The school's facilities also suffer from poor hygiene and sanitation because we do not mop our classes throughout the term, and latrines have contracted a foul smell," said 59-year-old head teacher Serah Kilonzo, seen below teaching students.

But the insufficient amount of water is not the only problem, so is the quality of what is being collected. The water from students and vendors is most often acquired from scoop holes in dry riverbeds that are contaminated by people and animals. Consuming the water exposes everyone to water-related illnesses like typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery, and students are often absent as a result of contracting them, which negatively impacts their academic performance.

"The water availed by students and the vendor is acquired mostly from contaminated scoop holes or unprotected dug wells, which exposes students to complications like stomachaches and diarrhea related to typhoid or amoeba. Every term, more than a dozen pupils are absent from school after contracting water-related infections," concluded Serah Kilonzo.

Carrying water and food to school is also time-consuming and exhausting for students, leaving them with less time and energy for learning.

"Carrying water to school is arduous and time-consuming because of the long distance. The exhaustion forces me to often doze off and [be] inattentive during class hours," said 13-year-old Martha C.(shown below).

The installation of a larger, well-functioning tank will make sufficient, safer water available to everyone. The school's sanitation should improve, and the chances of being exposed to water-related infections should reduce.

And hopefully, with plenty of water and better health, students will have a more enjoyable learning environment and improve their academic performance, lending to a brighter future.

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 its 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, 2024: Kanyuuni Primary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Kanyuuni 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 very happy about this water tank because I will no longer have to encounter the frustration of carrying water to school, which usually makes me late for classes. There were times when there was no water at home to carry to school, and I had to abscond classes on such occasions, thus leading to dismal performance in my studies. I am now happy that we have a large tank within our school which can store enough clean water for all of us. I will be drinking clean water and [will] always [be] early for my classes." said 14-year-old Ann.

"We are very glad about this project, especially because we will now have a nearby source of clean water in the school. It would feel selfish to purchase drinking water while my pupils had no water to drink or were drinking unsafe water," said 47-year-old teacher Tabitha Kamote.

Teacher Tabitha Kamote.

"Our learners will no longer be carrying water to school and will always be early for their classes. The presence of this water point in the school will now ensure students are always in school," concluded Tabitha.

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.

A whole community effort.

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.

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.

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.

Field Officer Alex Koech shared, "Before the hand washing demonstration, two students, a boy and a girl, were called in front to wash their hands following the process they normally use. This helped to identify a number of gaps on hand washing. One of the gaps identified was that the students dried their hands with their clothes after hand washing among others. The participants were taken through a systematic process on how to wash [their] hands properly using soap and flowing water. During the handwashing demonstration, the participants sang a short chorus about washing hands. The song made the handwashing exercise fun and very interesting."

The session about how to make liquid soap was a favorite. During the demonstration, 20 liters of soap and latrine disinfectant were made. The school was left with the remaining materials to make more soap and disinfectant on their own, following the learned procedures.


"We are thankful for the training. We have learned a lot about hygiene, sanitation, and health. The training will help us improve our hygiene behaviors and this will lead to reduced cases of diseases in our school. We have learned how to treat drinking water, and this will help reduce waterborne diseases. We have also been trained to make soap and a latrine disinfectant. We now have soap for hand washing, and our latrines are going to smell better. As the health club chairperson, I will be on the frontline in guiding the other students to improve the hygiene and sanitation situation in our school," said 13-year-old Samuel.


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!

January, 2024: Kanyuuni Primary School Rainwater Catchment Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Kanyuuni Primary School costs people 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!


19 individual donor(s)