Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 149 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 149 students and staff of Mumbuni Secondary School face a water crisis every day.

The school has a couple of water options, but neither of them is ideal or sufficient to meet the needs of the school, leaving everyone thirsty and wasting valuable time and resources that should be focused on learning and preparing for bright futures.

The school administrators have two choices: they can either purchase water from expensive vendors or use the salty, contaminated water from a community borehole that is piped into the school. Understandably, both options present significant issues.

Purchasing water is expensive and drains the school's already meager budget, causing administrators to make difficult decisions that regularly mean eliminating important learning opportunities for students.

The water from the well, especially during peak drought periods, cannot be used for cooking or drinking, and the small rainwater tanks on the school campus that collect and hold the water are too small to hold enough water for everyone. And during the short rainy season, it is not uncommon for the piping system to wash out and leave the school stranded without water from the well until it can be fixed.

"The water we are drinking is salty, and we are unsure of the sources. This exposes us to infections like typhoid and amoeba. Using salty water also affects [the] skin. Thus, various students have had to seek medication leading to absenteeism and, ultimately, poor academic performance," said 52-year-old headteacher John Kabanda (seen below).

Without sufficient water on campus, not only are the students and staff left thirsty and school meals delayed, but personal hygiene and the overall sanitation of the school are negatively affected. And sadly, when students are thirsty and hungry, and the environment is dirty, it is that much more difficult for them to concentrate and learn.

"In addition to the necessity of water to maintain personal and environmental hygiene, reducing student dehydration in schools has been associated with improved cognitive abilities." - UNICEF and WHO

"Agriculture projects are stalled due to water inadequacy. Also, we cannot wash our classrooms, often leading to uncomfy conditions during learning," said 19-year-old student Bernard (seen below).

The installation of the proposed 104,000-liter rainwater tank will ensure the school has enough clean water for drinking, so students are not exposed to water-related infections that often lead to absenteeism. The school's water expenses will also reduce, and the funds can then be allocated to improving the school's facilities and the student's overall academic experience.

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

March, 2024: Mumbuni Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Mumbuni 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.

"I will have enough water for drinking and washing my hands after visiting the latrine. I will also be more attentive in class because I can easily drink clean water whenever I want, unlike before when I would have to bear with thirst. I will also no longer [be] exposed to stomach pains or amoeba because I will be drinking clean water. We will also be washing our classrooms and latrines on a regular schedule because we will [have] enough water. This will create an impressive and tidy learning environment, and I will be able to improve my grades. Meals in school will also be prepared on time because there is enough water, and I will not have to resume my classes on an empty stomach again," said 16-year-old Zachariah M.


"I am very happy about this waterpoint because our students will now have [a] clean source of water, unlike before when we used to depend on water from rivers, which was mostly unclean. I will also be drinking clean water, unlike when I had to purchase my own water," said 43-year-old teacher Josphat Mutuku.


"We will have enough water to clean our classrooms and latrines, which will create a conducive and sanitary learning environment for all of us. Teaching students will be easier because [we] will always be present and active in class. They will no longer [be] absent looking for treatment due to water-related infections. Our students will also excel and perform better academically because they will always be present in school and free from distractions such as thirst. We will also be able to store enough water to sustain us during the drought period because we will be using this tank as a reservoir for the harvested rain. Our tree cover in the school will also increase because we will be planting trees and irrigating them," continued Josphat.

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.

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.

Starting the 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.

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.

The students were especially excited about the session that taught them how to make soap. They were happy because the process does not require an expert to prepare the solution or expensive machines to prepare it. Anyone can make it with the right knowledge.

"Cleanliness is the first law of health. We shall not defeat any infectious diseases plaguing the developing world until we have won the battle of safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care. Hygiene and sanitation are matters of education, and like most great things, they ought to cultivate a taste for them. Good hygiene is all about keeping yourself and your environment clean. Hygiene is essential for preventing diseases and maintaining good health. Excellent personal hygiene is also needed for maintaining social relationships," said 16-year-old Mary N.


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: Mumbuni Secondary School Rain Tank Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Mumbuni 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!


8 individual donor(s)