Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 166 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/23/2022

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

Matheani Secondary School was started in 2006 to serve the children of Matheani Village, Makueni County, Kenya. It is a boarding school for dozens of students. The school employs nine teachers and six support staff.

The school has enjoyed a close relationship with Wumiisyo wa Muangeni Self-Help Group, which has been working with ASDF since 2015. Members of Wumiisyo wa Muangeni are parents of students at Matheani, and are well aware of the issues they face every day. It is for this reason that they proposed the construction of a water tank to help alleviate the suffering that their children go through.

Water Situation

The school only has two plastic tanks guttered to tap rainwater. One is 10,000 liters and the other is 5,000 liters.

Water is bought from vendors who go to River Athi, eight kilometers away. Using donkeys, these vendors are able to transport four 20-liter jerrycans which they sell at 150 shillings per drum. When delivered to the school, it is dumped in the plastic tanks.

Students themselves are sometimes sent to the river to fetch water for use at school. The available tanks are guttered to tap rainwater from the roofs. Even when both tanks are full of rainwater, they only last the school one week. The school needs more than 1,400 liters a day for cooking, drinking, washing clothes, bathing, watering the agriculture projects, and washing latrines and classes. Because Matheani has so many student boarders, the water shortage is severe.

18-year-old Joshua Munywoki is a form three student and boys' dorm captain. "Sometimes we have been required to go down to River Athi to fetch water for our use in school. This complicates our academic life as the time taken to the river and the associated tiredness often contributed to poor grades in class," he said.

Sanitation Situation

There are seven pit latrines between boys, girls, and staff. The teachers' latrines are the only ones in good condition. There are bathing shelters available for the boarding students, and there is one hand-washing station. There is a designated area for throwing garbage, but a pit needs to be dug to prevent the trash from blowing around and littering the school grounds again.

18-year-old Nancy Mwangangi is also a boarding student at Matheani. "Boarding students are provided with one bucket of water per day. This is way too much below the personal requirements for bathing and washing, especially for us girls. This has created cases of water thefts among students, and low levels of cleanliness," she shared.

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 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with four 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; 104,000 liters should be 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

11/02/2018: A Year Later: Matheani Secondary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped us construct a rainwater catchment tank for Matheani Secondary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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...

02/21/2018: Matheani Secondary School Project Complete

Matheani Secondary School in Kenya now has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your support: A new rainwater catchment system has been built. Hand-washing stations were 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge

As soon as we started this project, we informed the school's principal about the need for hygiene and sanitation training. The principal immediately arranged for us to hold sessions in their biggest classrooms, and informed all teachers and students. It was a full house with 174 students, all who were excited to be there.

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

– Proper handling of food and water

– Hand-washing

– Flies and other spreaders of germs

– Personal hygiene (washing face and brushing teeth)

Using illustrations to teach about the spread of germs.

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

New hand-washing stations were delivered in time for a demonstration during training.

By the last day of training, a student health club 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

19-year-old Benson Mwendwa Kimatu spoke on behalf of his peers, telling us "Today's hygiene session was exceptional; a training that has never been done in our school. It was very involved, and through that we have learnt a lot of new things that are very beneficial for us. For instance, a very important activity that we have done on hand-washing with clean water and soap. Non of us were aware of the right procedure, but now we know. In addition to that, I have also learned that there is an alternative if one does not have soap to wash their hands, one can use ash."

Benson Mwendwa Kimatu

Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

Large, multi-tap hand-washing stations have been delivered to the school and placed outside of the latrines. The student health club has already filled these up with water so they can be used.

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Matheani Secondary School is affiliated with the Wumiisyo wa Muangeni 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 worked hard alongside our artisans.

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.

Once the tank has cured (dried) sufficiently, it can begin to collect rainwater. We met students at the tank as soon as construction was completed, and then again when we heard the tank had received a good amount of water. "We are very grateful. There will be a big difference on water safety. Imagine we have been getting our water four kilometers away from the river Athi. The water is very dirty and harmful for our consumption. This has been consuming a lot of our study time which affects our studies. Sometimes we even go to class without bathing. Waterborne diseases have been a serious problem, which we believe now will not be an issue any longer," shared Benson.

11/13/2017: Matheani Secondary School Project Underway

Matheani 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

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater is collected off strategic areas of a roof, enters a custom guttering system (which filters out debris) and leads to a storage tank. Tanks can vary in sizes and are determined by population and average rainfall patterns. Water can be stored for months, is easily treated in the tank, and is accessible through taps. These projects are implemented at schools with proper roof lines and gutter systems to make them successful.

A Year Later: Matheani Secondary School

November, 2018

“Life in school has become more fun and full of joy with the classes and latrines being clean, the learning is smooth, with high levels of concentration.” – Peter Kiilu, 17

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Matheani 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, your generous donation helped us construct a rainwater catchment tank for Matheani Secondary School in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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 enjoying an adequate clean water supply for cooking, washing, and cleaning since the implementation of the water project. The school is saving a significant amount of money initially spent on purchasing water for the school. Now, this money is being utilized to support academic-related activities such as the purchase of new books sets for the library.

This water supply has been especially useful for boarding students.

Cases of students suffering from water-related diseases have also significantly gone down since the available water is clean.

We talked to Teacher Hilda Muumbi and her student, Peter Kiilu, about some of the other changes they have witnessed over the last year.

From left to right: Peter Kiilu, Titus Mbithi, and Hilda Muumbi

"We have enjoyed a steady supply of clean water from the water project for the last one year," confirmed Teacher Muumbi.

"This has enabled the smooth running of our routine with minimal interruptions. The health status of the school community has significantly improved with cases of water-related diseases among students becoming few."

Teacher Muumbi taking a sip of water at the tank.

Teacher Muumbi continued, "The tank has been used as a teaching aid with students getting to learn from the hygiene messages inscribed on the walls. This is helping promote good standards of personal hygiene and general cleanliness in school."

Construction of the rainwater catchment tank is 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.

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.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This tank at Matheani Secondary is changing many lives.

The handwashing stations have plenty of water for the students.

"The water project has provided us with adequate clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. Availability of enough clean water from the water tank has led to improved levels of hygiene and sanitation in school as students wash hands before meals and after visiting latrines," said Peter Kiilu.

"Life in school has become more fun and full of joy with the classes and latrines being clean, the learning is smooth, with high levels of concentration."

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 community 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 Matheani 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 Matheani 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!


Elizabethtown College
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