Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 133 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 121 students who attend Katangani Primary School are responsible for collecting water each morning and carrying it to school. Still, they can't bring enough water to meet the school's daily needs.

Students are physically and mentally tired from the burden of walking to the Iguini River, several miles away, to carry water. They miss a lot of class time and often must go to their classes thirsty and on empty stomachs.

The school administrators also pay someone to deliver water by donkey to try to make up some of the shortage, but that presents its own issues. The added expense drains the already meager school budget, the vendor is not always reliable, and the water quality of what is delivered is questionable at best.

And even with all the effort expended by students and the water vendor, it's still not enough to last an entire day.

Pupils' parents provided a small rainwater tank on the campus, but it can only hold enough water to last a few days.

"I am unable to perform my duties properly because I have to check who has brought water to school and who has not," said 35-year-old headteacher Michael Mutio (seen above). "Although I know that students get tired and late from carrying water, they depend on the water for drinking and preparing meals in school. Improving the school's academic performance and population is challenging because students get weary and inattentive from the long journey to school, and most are absent when they have no water to bring to school."

Sadly, after all the work it takes to supply the school with water, the water from both the students and the vendors is contaminated and salty, making it unfit for drinking or cooking. Both the students and the vendors collect the water from the same unprotected sources: scoop holes in dry river beds, open to dust and animal excrement. But without an alternative, the school has no choice but to use it.

Consuming this contaminated water commonly causes water-related infections such as amoeba, dysentery, and typhoid. Not only does this weaken students' health, but it also keeps them out of school, so their academic experience suffers.

"I get sick from drinking water from the scoop holes. For instance, last month, I had stomach upsets and could not hear a thing during the lessons," said 14-year-old Grace M. (seen below). "I had to leave school early and go home to ask my destitute parents to take me to the local dispensary. I also get tired from carrying water to school and cannot get enough play time because I have to help in fetching water at home."

The adverse water shortage has also led to poor hygiene and sanitation within the school's facilities. The poor learning environment challenges students' concentration ability, further diminishing their learning experience.

Installing a 104,000-liter tank will offer the school a clean and nearby water source. Students will no longer have to carry water from home, the school can reserve its resources for other essential things, and no one will risk water-related infections. And hopefully, absenteeism will decrease, and pupils will have more time to focus on their studies, creating brighter 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

April, 2024: Katangini Primary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Katangini 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 appreciate the implementation of this tank because it will offer enough water for all of us. We could only mop our classrooms once per term but we will now be able to clean our classes even three times weekly. I will no longer be carrying water to school, which means I will have more energy to concentrate on my studies. We will also have enough water to wash our hands and drink. Meals will also be prepared on time, and I will no longer resume the afternoon classes on an empty stomach," said nine-year-old Daniel.


"The water we brought home was carried in unclean open jerrycans and acquired from contaminated sources, which exposed my classmates and me to infections like typhoid and amoeba. I even went to seek treatment last week for a stomach ache and had to miss my classes. Once this tank harvests rainwater, I will be drinking clean water and always [be] present in school, which will improve my studies. My personal hygiene will also improve because I will be cleaning [my] plate after eating and washing my hands, unlike before when washing utensils was a challenge," said Daniel.

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.

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.

The completed tank.

"I am glad that this project has been set up in our school because pupils will now arrive early in school and ready to focus on their studies. They will no longer need to carry water from home, and they will be drinking clean water, which [will] not expose them to infections like stomach aches, typhoid, and amoeba. This means our pupils will always be present for their daily lessons. It will also feel great to teach learners who are active in class and not distracted by thirst or hunger because meals would [be] delayed in the past due to water shortage, which affected the pupils' attention span. I will also have enough clean water to drink in school and will have meals as scheduled because we have enough water in school," said 31-year-old teacher Samwel Muthui.

Samwel Muthui.

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.

One of the training's popular sessions was how to make soap and latrine disinfectant. The pupils learned the soapmaking materials and procedures and were grateful to have a new skill that they could use in their daily lives and share with their families.

Learning to make soap.

"This training will be of help not only to us as pupils but also to our families at home. It has really opened our minds and taught us how we’ve neglected good hygienic practices, some knowingly and others unknowingly. Through observing good hygienic practices of handwashing, food hygiene, water treatment, use of latrines, [and] maintaining water sources clean, among other practices, we will be able to keep ourselves away from diseases and live a healthy life. This way, we will be able to remain in school for a whole term without getting sicknesses," said 13-year-old Angel.



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!

February, 2024: Katangini Primary School Rainwater Catchment Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Katangini 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!


5 individual donor(s)