Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 323 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 323 students and staff of Kavaini Secondary School struggle to access sufficient water. They currently have small rain tanks on campus that cannot collect and store enough water to meet all the school's needs. Without enough water, they make many sacrifices.

Field Officer Alex Koech shared, "The available 60,000-liter rainwater tanks offer inadequate water that cannot sustain the entire school's population during the dry months. The tanks are made of plastic and succumb to the scorching sun during the dry periods, leading to leakages. When the rainwater is depleted, the school has to purchase water from the water boozer (water delivery service), which is mostly salty. Purchasing water is also costly, around 144,000 Ksh (almost $1,000) every year.

Teacher Ngui Mutemi shared his perspective. "Managing the school is very difficult because of the high water expenses, which forces us to send students home for school fees occasionally. It's also frustrating to ensure the school schedule runs as expected because water is scarce, which causes delays in meal preparation, and the classrooms are rarely cleaned. Constructing more infrastructure in the school is also impossible because we do not have water to engage in such activities. When the project will be installed, our students will have enough water to drink, and the water expenses will reduce which will be a great reprieve."

Without enough water, students miss out on meals, hygiene practices, and time in the classroom. The school is unable to expand or offer extracurricular activities because everything requires water. Students often don't even have enough to drink, and it's hard for anyone to focus on learning.

The students' self-esteem is also greatly affected. Their environment is dry, and their classrooms are dirty. They themselves don't often have the privilege of bathing. All of this makes life disheartening for kids who should be dreaming of their future potential.

"After taking our delayed meals at school, we have to struggle to fetch water for drinking at the school tanks. We use plastic plates, which at times break because everyone is trying to get some water before lunch break comes to an end and the tap is closed again. The water is so little, and it's a struggle to even get water to conduct personal hygiene like brushing teeth or taking a bath," said 15-year-old Mutua M., seen below.

"This usually lowers my self-confidence. I will be very happy when the proposed project is set up because I will drink water whenever I can, and I will be able to conduct my personal hygiene every day before going to class," she continued.

The installation of the 104,000-liter rain tank will enable students and staff alike to renew their passion for learning and give them the opportunity for a brighter future unencumbered by the water crisis.

Water at schools is unique, which is why we need unique solutions.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Handwashing Stations

Alongside each water source in Southeast Kenya schools, we also provide three new handwashing stations fitted with three taps each, allowing nine students to wash their hands at once. These will allow everyone at the school to wash their hands without running water. Handwashing is so important to help prevent future water-related illnesses in the school community.

The student health club will maintain the stations, fill them with water, and supply them with soap (which we will teach the school community how to make during the training!).

Project Updates

June, 2024: Kavaini Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Complete!

Kavaini 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.

"We will now get rid of water-related infections in the school because we have clean drinking water; thus our academic results will improve. I used to have occasional headaches when there was no drinking water in school, but now these symptoms will wane off because I will be drinking water whenever I can. The water from the tank will also be used in building classes which will also ensure a conducive stay here in school," said 16-year-old Samuel.


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 water tank has already harvested rainwater that has helped us a lot. Our water expenses have plummeted and we will now be able to host events in our school. We are also washing hands as required (thanks to the hygiene training), which will reduce instances of diseases and promote good health among our students and teachers. Our student enrollment is expected to increase because parents are more comfortable with having their children in our school. We are glad that we now have enough clean water for drinking and cooking," shared 53-year-old teacher Ngui Mutemi.

"Our students will have enough water for drinking and their meals will be prepared on time. They will also be able to practice proper personal and environmental hygiene which will create a comfortable learning environment and ultimately lead to better grades," continued Ngui.

"We are also irrigating trees in our school compound because we have enough water from the tank. We will also be conducting agriculture projects with much ease and our students will excel on the subject."

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.

276 students and teachers participated in the hygiene training.

"The pupils were introduced to soap and latrine disinfectant making; materials for making both were introduced, as well as the procedure," shared Field Officer Alex Cheruiyot.

"The skill of soap making will help us so much. We will teach our guardians and make income. Personally, I’ll talk to my parents to buy me materials and after preparing the soap, I will sell [it] and earn money that I will use to shop when schools open. That way I will have all my personal effects in plenty," said 16-year-old Sarah.

"This training will be of help not only to us 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 [the] good hygienic practices of handwashing, food hygiene, water treatment, use of latrines, [and] maintaining clean water sources 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," Sarah continued.



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!

May, 2024: Kavaini Secondary School Rainwater Catchment Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Kavaini 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!


Accelerator Match
Volunteer Coffee's 2023 Campaign for Water
Global Oasis Initiative

And 1 other fundraising page(s)
29 individual donor(s)