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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 108 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Community Profile & Stories

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 1957, Muthei Secondary School currently serves 100 students, 56 of whom are boys and 44 are girls. It also employs eight teachers and three support staff. Many members of the Kisaila Self-Help Group send their children to this school and are all too aware of the water situation here. That is why the group’s first project request, upon joining ASDF, was for a water tank at the school.

Water Situation

The school has two plastic water tanks, one with a capacity of 10,000 liters and the other is 2,500 liters. These fill up with rainwater during the rainy season, with the rain being dispersed between tanks and a tap by the kitchen. Students and staff can rely on this for a while, but not for too long. The 12,500 liters of water is barely enough to last the school for a whole term, since their daily water need is 450 liters. These tanks normally get used up within two months, plunging the school into an acute water shortage until rains return.

When this happens, the pupils bear the burden of providing water for their school day. They are required to fetch their own water and carry at least five liters every day. For the teachers’ cooking and drinking, the school buys water from some parents, who fetch and transport the water at 20 shillings per container. In turn, the school keeps upping the students’ fees to acquire enough water.

The children fetch their water from any source they can find on the way, whether it be a river, well, or puddle. The inability for quality control opens a window for contaminated water, and waterborne disease is thus a common issue at the school. These diseases force many students to stay home from school. Or if they make it to class, they suffer extreme discomfort. Some students even have to lie down on the ground throughout the day.

Deputy Headteacher Peter Kavutu says that “many students miss school when it is declared compulsory for the children to bring water to school. But we use this measure since it’s not possible for the school to run without water!”

Sanitation Situation

There are six pit latrines, but they are in poor condition. This coupled with a water shortage makes for filthy, smelly latrines. The resulting low sanitation standards are especially dangerous to the children who don’t have shoes.

There are no hand-washing stations on school grounds, because there wouldn’t be enough water to fill them. The school has dug a garbage pit out back, where frequent bonfires keep the pile low.

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 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 103,000-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; 103,000 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!

Recent Project Updates

07/07/2017: Muthei Secondary School Project Complete

Muthei 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 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge and Hand-Washing Stations

Hygiene and sanitation training was held on school grounds. There wasn’t a classroom large enough to host all of the students at once, so they brought their chairs outside for the sessions. This was also convenient because their new hand-washing stations were installed and ready to be used for demonstrations.

The headteacher coordinated with our trainer to pick out the best time for all students to take a break from regular classes and attend training. She was able to gather 125 students!

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All classes joined together to learn about hygiene and sanitation!

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)

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The ASDF trainer demonstrates all of the steps to thorough hand-washing. This includes soap!

We used this opportunity to strengthen the student health club on campus. These students will promote healthy practices and teach their peers about what they learned. The club will hold activities to help popularize using latrines and washing hands. We expect that when we visit the school again soon, we’ll find that more students have joined this club.

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Students look on as their peers practice hand-washing. They love giving each other feedback!

Project Result: Rainwater Catchment Tank

Muthei Secondary school is affiliated with the Kisaila 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.

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.

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We weren’t able to visit Muthei Primary School during construction, but here’s an example of what that looks like.

Right when construction wrapped up, a week of rain moved in. We had our painter delay his work, because his paint would just wash away. This rain was the only hiccup in our usual process.

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The tank is almost done – It just needs to be dry enough for the painter to make it look good!

Now, students and staff have the ability to capture and store 104,000 liters of water! This huge amount, if rationed properly, can carry the school through the entire dry season.

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04/25/2017: Muthei Secondary School Project Underway

Muthei 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!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Project Data

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Machakos, Masii, Muthei
ProjectID: 4803
Install Date:  07/07/2017


Project Underwriter - Jenifer Beaudean-White
McKesson Foundation - Lisa and Adam Lawrence
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
I-Shou International School
Michael and Kristi Ballou
Isla Vista Elementary 2nd Grade ALD class
Fernwood Baptist Church of Spartanburg, SC
Olivia Birthday Group
Isabella Sio
Loyola Academy
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Roberta Bondar P.S K3
NeeNee's Grand Givers
St Catherine of Siena 4th Grade Students
JD Perkins School
31 individual donor(s)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) supports self-help groups to harvest and conserve water through construction of sand dams & shallow wells, rock catchments and school roof catchments.