Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 148 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/10/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Masukanioni Secondary School administration buys water from water vendors and the students' parents for one Kenyan shilling per liter. The water-sellers fill the school's small water storage tank and then students collect water from a connected standpipe. Unfortunately, the water they are collecting is from the only sources for kilometers around: open scoop holes dug in a dry riverbed.

The water from these scoop holes is not safe for consumption to say the least, but water is so scarce in Southeast Kenya that there is no alternative. The scoop holes are shared with domestic animals and wildlife who often excrete around the source as they use it. According to the headteacher, the school's 136 students constantly seek medical aid due to infections like typhoid, diarrhea, and waterborne parasites.

"[The] management of the school is difficult because most [of our] problems are caused by [the] water shortage," said headteacher Patrick Musyoka (shown below).

"For instance, most of my students cannot perform well because there is little water to drink," Patrick continued. "A lot of money is spent on purchasing water rather than getting more learning materials to improve the school's academic performance. Getting water is difficult because of the rampant drought, and there was a time I had to use motorcycle taxis to transport water to school."

17-year-old Eunice (pictured below near the standpipe that is connected to the small rain tank) is an agricultural student. Because there isn't enough water at school already, she must carry a 40-pound jerrycan with her to school every day in order to water her crops.

"We have insufficient water for drinking and washing our classrooms," Eunice said. "We also have agricultural projects that require water, which is inadequate. Meals [are delayed] because we have to wait for water. Like yesterday, we took lunch towards the evening, which disrupted the evening lesson. It is difficult to concentrate in class on an empty stomach."

The installation of a much larger rainwater tank will take full advantage of the few times it does rain in this region. This water source will ensure the school has enough clean water for drinking and cooking. Meals will be prepared on time, and students' academic performance will get a boost. The school's water expenses will also reduce, and those new funds can be allocated to improving the school's facilities. And, most importantly, clean drinking water will ensure students are no longer exposed to water-related infections.

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

October, 2023: Masukanioni Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Project Complete!

Masukanioni Secondary School in Kenya now has access to a new, safe, clean water source thanks to their 104,000-liter rain tank completion! 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.

Kids playing with water!

"It was very uncomfortable resuming class with an empty stomach and no water to drink because meals would delay and the water vendor would also be late. I am happy now that I will be taking my meals on time and drink clean water whenever I need to. I will also be using clean classrooms and latrines, which will make my stay in school comfortable and learning easier. I will now drink clean water that does not expose me to infections like typhoid. I will always be present and attentive in school, which will positively impact my studies. I will also excel in agriculture because I have water to irrigate my allocated garden in school," said 17-year-old Peter M.


"Life without water in the school was frustrating because students would remain thirsty most of the day under the uncomfortable semi-arid heat. My voice would become hoarse when teaching because there was no water to drink in school. Students will no longer be restless in class due to thirst and hunger because meals will be prepared on time, and clean water is easily available. This will improve their concentration during lessons, and we will be able to send more students to better tertiary institutions. My students and I will now be happy to have clean water to drink every time we feel thirsty.," said 28-year-old teacher Monicah Mwende.

Monicah collecting drinking water.

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.

Building the foundation.

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.

The completed tank.

Handwashing Stations

We delivered three new handwashing stations in time for training. Each new station has three taps so 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 lack of proper hygiene and sanitation practices remains a challenge today but can be brought under control. Today's children will be the adults and citizens of 2030, central to the future vision of a clean and healthy world. They will be the inheritors of an improved environment. 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," said 16-year-old student Sharon 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 facing functionality, seasonality, or water quality challenges. 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!

August, 2023: Masukanioni Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Project Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Masukanioni Secondary 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!


Melanie 's Campaign for Water
3 individual donor(s)