Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 237 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/21/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the School

Founded in 2005, Uvaani Secondary School is now a full day school that serves 201 students. It is located in Uvaani Village of Makueni County, Kenya. These 201 students are taught by 12 teachers and assisted by four supplementary staff. Many members of the Maiuni Self-Help Group send their children to this school and are well aware to the water situation that they face during the day. That's why this group requests support in building a rainwater catchment tank for this children.

Water Situation

The school has collected four plastic water tanks as they've grown, totaling a potential 40,000 liters. However, one of the plastic tanks has a crack and is leaking, giving the school 30,000 liters that only lasts about a month. However, the dry seasons in this area of Kenya span for several months!

The parents had built a large cement tank of 30,000 liters when the school opened. However, it is in need of serious patching work. Our artisans said they might be able to make those repairs in the future, but the team said it shouldn't get in the way of constructing a new tank of 104,000 liters, which is the best solution to get this school through the dry season. If they can't repair the older tank, we're requesting that they tear it down.

The school needs more than 800 liters of water a day for cooking, drinking, washing latrines and cleaning classrooms. Water is so strictly rationed that students don't even get enough for drinking. With the current small capacity for water harvest and storage, the school is forced to hire water vendors to meet their needs. Men and women take donkeys to River Ngwani, which is two kilometers away. These donkeys can carry four jerrycans which are sold to the school for 20 shillings each. This isn't even clean water; it's dirty water collected from holes dug in the riverbed. Student Musembe Kilonzo told us, "The water supplied in school has been from an unsafe source, we have been using it without any treatment which has been a big gamble to our health and general well-being."

Students are sometimes sent along to the river with these water vendors. Mercy Mutheu commented, "Agriculture students are required to walk two kilometers to Ngwani River and fetch water for the projects; this has been tiresome and poses threat of bad behavior cropping from interactions with other villagers at the channel."

Sanitation Situation

The school had three blocks of latrines, but now only has two that serve females students and teachers. The pits under the boys' latrines collapsed, and so they're forced to relieve themselves behind the facilities. Garbage is now thrown inside the decommissioned latrines.

There are no hand-washing stations available for students or staff.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Students and staff will be trained for one day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices both at school and home. They will learn all of the steps to proper hand-washing, 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 rainwater catchment tank and hand-washing stations.

Plans: Hand-Washing Stations

Three hand-washing stations will be delivered at the project’s completion. These are 250-liter plastic tanks fitted with multiple taps. The health club and school management will be responsible for making sure tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is available.

Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rainwater catchment tank for this school. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff. Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, such as sand and stone. They will also lend some strong arms to help with the actual construction.

The huge capacity of this tank makes the others look tiny in comparison; this extra 104,000 liters should collect enough water to carry students through the entire dry season. As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking and cleaning!

Project Updates

October, 2018: A Year Later: Uvaani Secondary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment tank for students at Uvaani Secondary School. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

January, 2018: Clean Water Flowing at Uvaani Secondary School

We are thrilled to share news of clean water benefitting the students and staff at Uvaani Secondary School! We witnessed them using their water for both drinking and hand-washing during our visit, and we know it's also used for cooking and cleaning. We've added new pictures to the project page. Celebrate clean water with us and the school, and know this wasn't possible without you!

November, 2017: Uvaani Secondary School Tank Complete

Uvaani Secondary School in Kenya now has a new rainwater catchment system for collecting and storing water. Hand-washing stations have been installed, and students and staff have received training in sanitation and hygiene. Just imagine the difference these resources will make in the lives of these students and teachers! You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this rainwater catchment tank and many other projects.

We also just updated the project page with new pictures, so make sure to check them out! The report below shares the latest details of the project. We look forward to reaching out again once we've received pictures of students enjoying clean water from this tank.

Project Result: New Knowledge

Recruiting all of the hygiene and sanitation trainees was done via the respective field officer, a Mr. Benjamin Mukeka. Plans were communicated directly to the school principal, who in turn informed the rest of the teachers and students. After an agreement on a date was reached, the principal gave us a call about two weeks ahead of time.

The training was rolled out to all the teachers and students under a tree within the school compound. The trainer led sessions on proper food handling, preparation, and storage. Similar sessions on water were even more important, teaching how to safely fetch, carry, store, and treat water. We also covered topics including:

– Importance of using a pit latrine

– Prevention of diarrhea

– Hand-washing

– Flies and other spreaders of germs

– Personal hygiene (washing face and brushing teeth)

Students particularly enjoyed the demonstrations, role plays, and group discussions.

By the last day of training, a student health club of 10 members was established to carry out the following objectives:

– Teaching other students about hygiene and sanitation

– Ensuring the latrines and school compound are always clean

– Ensuring that students always wash their hands with clean water and soap after visiting the latrine, and ensuring these hand-washing stations have clean water and cleaning agents at all times.

This is what John Muchina, a teacher at the school had to say about the training; "The training was good. Our students really benefited. It was very educative. We have learnt how to protect the tank and the hand-washing stations. My students are bright and as you have noted from the recap, the trained content has sunk. We will help make hand-washing a daily habit."

Teacher John Muchina sharing his perspective with staff.

Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

Our trainer was excited that hand-washing stations were delivered before the scheduled training so that they could be used for demonstrations. Students learned how to use and maintain these, and look forward to using them again after they're back from December break.

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Uvaani Secondary school is affiliated with the Maiani Self-Help Group, since most of its members’ children attend here. These parents and school administration approached the self-help group committee and requested their help in alleviating the water shortage at the school. A meeting with all of the parents and the headteacher was then held to plan out the project. Parents agreed to collect construction materials like sand, rocks, and water. They also helped our artisans with manual labor quite a bit.

All of the stones that parents helped deliver to the school.

Construction for this 104,000-liter rainwater catchment tank is much like the construction of a concrete house. First, the ground is leveled for foundation excavation. Alternating layers of impermeable rocks are laid upon mortar up to seven feet high, with internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet respectively. A reinforced concrete column is built right up the center of the tank, which holds up the roof and prevents it from caving in. The walls are then plastered both internally and externally with waterproof cement. After that, several feet of guttering is installed and channeled into the tank.

The tank is now complete and can begin catching rainwater. Teacher John Muchina said, "There has been a very serious water problem in our school. We have been hiring donkeys to supply water for students. We sometimes even lacked drinking water! We are grateful for the new tank, [and for how] the cost has been cut down." Rumor has it that the tank already has quite a bit of water in it, but we will not return for those pictures until students are back from Christmas break in January.

September, 2017: Uvaani Secondary School Project Underway

Uvaani Secondary School in Kenya will soon have a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your donation. A rainwater catchment tank is being built, hand-washing stations are being provided, and the school is being trained on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Imagine the impact this will have on these students! Thank you for noticing the need here, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Thank You for your generosity that is unlocking potential for students in Kenya!

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!

A Year Later: Uvaani Secondary School

October, 2018

“The water is always sweet and many of us enjoy drinking it.” – Naomi Ndinda

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Uvaani Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Uvaani Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

A year ago, generous donors helped build a rainwater catchment tank for students at Uvaani Secondary School. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from Titus Mbithi with you.

The school has been relieved of buying water from unscrupulous vendors who took advantage of water shortages to inflate their prices. This was an expensive line item for a school as young as Uvaani Secondary.

Since the installation of this rainwater tank, free, good water has been available at all times. Absences have gone down, and students enjoy classes without interruptions. The school compound looks neat and clean with facilities such as classrooms and latrines being washed on a regular basis.

"Cases of waterborne diseases initially reported by students have reduced, owing to the availability of clean drinking water from a trusted source," shared Teacher Patrick Kyalo.

From left to right: Teacher Kyalo, Student Naomi, and Titus

"Operations at the school science lab have also been boosted by water availability since water is needed during experiments and washing of apparatus used in the lab. The school is planning to channel money initially used on water purchases towards development activities and improving academic standards."

Constructing this rainwater catchment tank was only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

We spoke with 17-year-old Naomi Ndinda, who joined us at the tank for a drink of water. She agreed with Teacher Kyalo that cases of illness have gone down thanks to good water and a clean environment.

Naomi with her teacher, Mr. Kyalo

"Many students used to complain of stomach problems, which have ended in the era of this tank project. This has ensured many students remain in school to work hard for a better future in the now conducive learning environment. Moreover, the water is always sweet and many of us enjoy drinking it," Naomi said.

She continued, "Life in school has become more fun and enjoyable with enough water from the tank for cooking, washing classes, planting trees and using at the lab. Water has also been used for the handwashing stations where we wash hands after visiting the latrines and before meals."

Students using the handwashing station outside the girls' latrines.

"We are not carrying water to school anymore like it used to be the case before having this project."

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this school and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Uvaani Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Uvaani Secondary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


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