Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/27/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Itinda Primary School relies on unreliable municipal water for the water needs of its 285 students and 15 staff members. The water comes through piping connected to a small holding tank, but the tank often sits empty.

"They have piped water in the school, [but] it is not reliable," said our field officer, Jefferson Mutie. "Sometimes a week or two can pass without a drop of water in the pipes. The water volume is also very low, and students are forced to make queues whenever it is time to fetch water. Students have to sacrifice their playing time to make up for water as the process is demanding [and] other activities are delayed when there is no water in the school."

When the pipes run dry, the other most relied upon option is to send students to local rivers to collect water, but it is not an easy or quick task.

"The water is very little," said 14-year-old Benjamin S. (seen below). "It cannot serve us for two days consecutively. When the water dries completely, we are forced to fetch water from [the] rivers Kavata and Wangutu, which are very far [away. Actually, it's a three-hour walk to and back."

Collecting water from the rivers exhausts students and forces them to miss valuable learning time. But the lack of sufficient water also leads to other issues.

Since Itinda is a boarding school, the pupils living on campus often suffer the most. They go long periods without bathing or being able to wash their clothes, which is demoralizing. Their dormitories are only swept and not mopped because of the water scarcity.

"I do not clean my clothes regularly and well due to the water shortage in the school," said Benjamin.

And the school's water crisis is also overwhelming to teachers.

"I have had students being taken to the hospital over and over again because of water-related issues," said 45-year-old headteacher David Musya (seen below). "Personally, I look at the pupils in my school, and I get worried so much about what I will give to them when there is no water in the school."

The school administration tries to alleviate some of the water shortage by paying water vendors to deliver water, but this isn't really a solution. The vendors are as unreliable as the piped water and costly, too, which leaves the school without sufficient resources to improve other programs.

"[The] water payment gives me a migraine," said Mr. Musya.

In the past, the school has tried to establish an agricultural program and improve the school environment by planting trees, but without water, the saplings dried up quickly. Agricultural students must forego that area of learning.

Installing a very large rainwater tank should allow enough water to be collected and stored so that pupils will have access to clean drinking water that assures them of good health. With the water, students can practice good personal hygiene even throughout the dry season and improve the school's overall hygiene and sanitation. The money previously used to purchase water will then give students access to necessary academic programs to strengthen their futures.

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: Itinda Primary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Itinda Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new, safe, clean water source thanks 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.

"It was very frustrating to teach pupils in an environment with scarce water availability because they had to draw water from unprotected and contaminated sources, usually far away. They would arrive at school feeling exhausted and inattentive in class," said 39-year-old teacher Frida Mbuli.


"I am very happy about this installed project because our pupils will no longer be burdened with carrying water to school, and the teachers will focus on educating students rather than using their time to fetch water for the students," Frida said.

Students are also excited about the new waterpoint!

"We normally drew our water from Katse River, a journey that took almost two hours under [the] burning sun. The water was contaminated because it was also used by the livestock and unprotected. However, I often had to drink that water because there was no other source, which led to stomach upsets," said 14-year-old Benjamin S.


"I am happy that I will always have clean water within the school to drink and wash my hands. This proximity and adequate availability of water will also ensure that I will take my meals on time and perform personal hygiene chores like washing my plate and cup after use, bathing, and washing my uniform. We will also be mopping and cleaning our latrines, dormitories, and classrooms to ensure a comfortable stay for everyone," said Benjamin.

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 participating in 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.

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 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 identified the soapmaking activity as the most memorable since they had seen liquid soap around but did not know how to make it. The knowledge they acquired was important. Pupils were excited about the possibility that the idea could be transformed into a money-making venture to provide for their basic needs.


"Water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are essential for children and their families to live healthy, prosperous lives. WASH is at the core of child health and development and is vital for a child's well-being. Thank you for bringing clean water, dignified sanitation, and effective hygiene education to our school and the nearby community," said 12-year-old Alpha 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 have 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!

September, 2023: Itinda Primary School Rainwater Catchment Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Itinda Primary 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!


PKS The Harvest
1 individual donor(s)