Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 202 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/11/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Every day, the 192 young students of Kaliluni Primary School must carry a jerrycan of water and a log of firewood with them to school along with their books and papers. By the time they sit down in class, they are already tired, which makes it difficult for them to concentrate in class.

Even with the water students bring, there is never enough for all the school's needs. The school's largest rain tank is broken, its guttering system disconnected. The other three are small, emptying almost as soon as they fill up with rain.

"We desperately depend on rainwater," said the school's headteacher, Elizabeth Maundu (pictured above). "The tanks in the school do not support us for quite long. After rains, the school utilizes the water for around a month. Thereafter, the school plunges into a water scarcity problem.

"Being the head of the school and having come from a different county that has water makes a very big difference for me. Although I have tried very much to adapt, things seem to be [out of control]. Watching pupils report to school in the morning with water and firewood makes me feel bad. It lowers my courage to work."

Ms. Maundu knows firsthand the toll the water crisis is taking on the students.

"We are unable to carry out government agriculture projects imposed in the new program. We are forced to request pupils to carry water with their jerrycans to the school every single morning, making it hard for them to even love school. Actually, it becomes a burden to them. They often collect water from unknown sources; hence when they drink it, they occasionally fall sick."

"I have been in this school for quite some time, and I have watched the hygiene and sanitation deteriorate day in and day out," said 13-year-old Jane. "I feel guilty living in a school that doesn't have a tree nursery, even. I wish to be an agriculturist, [but] I have failed to practice in my school due to [the] inadequate water supply."

The unclean environment likely serves to worsen the students' health along with drinking the dubious water they collect on their way to school. But a larger capacity rain tank will take full advantage of the limited rain that falls in this region. The tank will retain more water with each storm so their reserves will hopefully last them through the dry periods.

"Now, eyeing a water tank will boost me a lot," Ms. Maundu said. "I hope [with the new rain tank] I will have a good life in school, my pupils will be at peace, and we shall excel very well come exams."

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

January, 2024: Kaliluni Primary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Kaliluni 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.

Students excited for their new rain tank!

"Our pupils will no longer be late to school due to carrying water because we will have enough clean water for them to drink. They will also be attentive in class, unlike when they used to doze off in the morning due to the exhaustion of carrying water. We will also have enough water for hygiene and sanitation in the school, and we will clean our classrooms and latrines regularly," shared James Kalaa, 31, a teacher at Kaliluni Primary School.

"We will also be able to plant more trees in the school, and our pupils will always have clean water to wash their hands after using [the] restrooms. Instances of water-related infections will also plummet because our learners are drinking clean water, which does not expose them to infections and ultimately being absent from school," James continued.

Teacher James Kalaa.

10-year-old Mwalale K agreed. She said, "This water tank in our school will ensure a conducive environment for learning because the classrooms, latrines, and other areas will be cleaned regularly. This means I will be studying in [a] well-maintained environment. I will always be present for my classes because I will no longer be exposed to infections like typhoid or amoeba that forced me to seek treatment outside school."

Mwalale K.

"We have developmental plans that will now be achieved easily with the availability of water in the school. For instance, we will plant a lot of trees in the school to create a conducive environment for our learners. We are also planning on fostering a vegetable garden to help supplement our learners' daily diet," concluded James.

Rain Tank Construction Process

First, we met 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.

Bags of cement and supplies for 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.

Tank construction begins!

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.

Students are excited to have handwashing stations!

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.

We had 182 participants between students and staff!

Handwashing training.

The training was an exciting event! The students were enthralled with the topics, most notably soap making. In learning how to make soap, they can provide cleaning agents for the school and their homes and sell it to others. This will help support their families and contribute to their household incomes.

A lesson that went hand-in-hand with soap-making was disease transmission. The learners discussed with the trainer how disease is spread, especially through fecal matter, when handwashing isn't practiced. In the middle of this lively discussion, a teacher walking by with a chicken for lunch lost his hold on the bird, and off went the chicken! Causing a commotion as students raced off to help.

Disease transmission lesson.

Everyone agreed that this training was life-changing. Having access to clean water is just the first step. Now, students and teachers know how to utilize that clean water to keep themselves and their families healthy and their environments clean.

14-year-old Samson K. said, "We are grateful for the knowledge that has been imparted [to] us; it will be useful not only to us but also to our siblings at home and friends in different schools."

Samson (right) and his classmates learn how to make soap.

"We will also teach our guardians the skill of making soap and latrine disinfectant so that they can make an income that will help us meet our basic needs at [the] family level. I'm sure absenteeism from school will be minimal since poor hygienic practices have always kept us missing school because of diseases," Samson concluded.


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!

November, 2023: Kaliluni Primary School Rain Tank Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Kaliluni 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!


1 individual donor(s)