Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 184 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/23/2022

Project Features

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Community Profile

Ilinge Primary School is located in Ilinge Village of Machakos County, Kenya. It employs 11 teachers and two support staff who take care of 171 students.

The school is affiliated with Mwanyani Self-Help Group. By virtue of them being either parents or grandparents of students at the school, they clearly understand the water challenges faced on a daily basis and the pressure that this scarcity piles up on their children. It is for this reason that they proposed to construct a rainwater catchment tank.


No matter how difficult it may be, Ilinge Primary School needs no less than 140 liters for drinking and cooking every day. There are two existing storage facilities of 5,000 liters each, but these plastic tanks are not enough to ensure a constant water supply to 171 students. If strictly rationed, these last only two months before they need rain again. However, rain is rare in southeastern Kenya.

Pupils suffer a lot due to thirst and can't concentrate in class. Sometimes, the cook can't even prepare lunch for the students because there isn't enough water.

Because of this short supply of water, students are required to carry between two to five liters of water every day, depending on their age. Children report that they fetch this water from scoop holes in the riverbeds. 13-year-old Syovili Muoki said, "I fetch water with a donkey every evening after school for our family use. Our donkey carries four 20-liter jerrycans. The river is very far from our home, and sometimes the donkey gets very exhausted while carrying the jerrycans. It’s always a tedious job but I have no choice. The same water I fetch, I always carry it to school."

Muasa Kavete said, "I have to be in school at exactly 6am with a five-liter jerrycan of water, a log of firewood, and my school bag. Our home is a one hour walk to the school. With all these loads, I always arrive feeling very tired. In case I fail to carry the water, I am punished by the teacher on duty and sent to the river to collect it. I always leave school in the evening and pass via the river to fetch water for use at home and for carrying to school the next day. I get very exhausted and I cannot do my homework."

Cases of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and amoeba are on the rise among pupils because of drinking contaminated water. This not only leads to absenteeism, but also denies pupils their right to play during games time as they are instead sent to collect water from the rivers. Absenteeism from the school has become the norm rather than the exception because when pupils realize that there’s no water at their homes that they can carry to school, they opt to skip school for the fear of being punished.

Kilonzo Munyao told us that his worst fear is falling down and spilling his water on the way to school. "In case I fall down and my water pours out, I always feel very bad because I am forced to borrow from my friends - whom I fear they might be carrying dirty water, thus risking my health."

Hygiene and Sanitation

Hygiene standards are wanting - pupils can't wash their hands with water after visiting latrines or even before eating their food. Under such circumstances, cleaning of latrines and classrooms becomes a luxury, and is rarely spoken of.

There are six pit latrines, but no hand-washing stations - nor would there be enough water to fill them. The school has a designated place for students to throw their trash, but no pit to keep it from blowing around and littering school grounds.

Students clearly understand that their environment is a danger to their health - but they are also aware that things could be turned around if they had easy access to clean water.

Here's what we're going to do about it:


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.

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.

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!

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

11/09/2018: A Year Later: Ilinge Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped us construct a rainwater catchment tank for Ilinge Primary 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...

03/15/2018: Ilinge Primary School Project Complete

Ilinge Primary 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge

The field manager works with the officers and principal to plan the best time and place for hygiene and sanitation training. This planning is done well in advance to make sure the students and teachers don’t miss any class time. Every single student and teacher ended up meeting our trainers outsider under the shade of a tree, since there wasn't enough room for everybody inside.

We took the first minutes to get to know each other and establish expectations for training. Open discussion about what the children observe at school and at home directed our trainer in what she'd address. For example, many of the students admitted to not using the latrine at home, but instead going outside behind other buildings or bushes.

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)

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

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

12-year-old Kilonzo Munyao said, "The training was good! It will help us prevent diseases. We will keep our environment clean. When we get back home in the evening, we will teach our parents and others about today's training. We will help those without latrines to construct one. We will no longer take dirty things. We will also treat our drinking water using the various methods we learnt."

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

Ilinge Primary School is affiliated with the Mwanyani 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.

Women sifting sand that will be mixed with cement 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.

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. There were smiles all around the group as we witnessed clean water come from the tap for the first time. Kilonzo Munyao said, "We will no longer carry water when coming to school. We will have water for drinking and cooking. We are happy because we will no longer suffer due to to water shortage. We will also have water for hand-washing and cleaning our latrines."

11/14/2017: Ilinge Primary School Project Underway

Ilinge Primary 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: Ilinge Primary School

November, 2018

“We are not required to carry water to school on a daily basis like it used to happen before this water project. Walking to school is now easy and less tedious, which has improved concentration levels in class.” – Kilonzo Munyao, 13

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ilinge Primary 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 Ilinge Primary 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 community now enjoys an adequate supply of clean water from the tank. School children are no longer required to carry water to school each day since the water tank provides enough water for all of the school needs. The school is planning to start a kitchen garden and grow vegetables using the available water, which will help boost the pupils' meals.

We spoke to Headteacher Damiana Nzii and one of her students, Kilonzo Munyao about the additional changes they have witnessed over the last year.

"Pupils and teachers are enjoying the smooth operations  and conducive learning environment since the availability of water has solved many delays we experienced in the past, especially for school meals," said Headteacher Nzii.

"The levels of hygiene and sanitation have improved with classes, latrines and other school facilities now being cleaned regularly. The school is planning to start an agroforestry plot and a kitchen garden to boost tree coverage and diets in school respectively."

From left to right: Headteacher Nzii, Titus Mbithi, and Kilonzo Munyao

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.

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 Ilinge Primary is changing many lives.

"We are now getting enough clean water for drinking," Kilonzo said. "We are not required to carry water to school on a daily basis like it used to happen before this water project. Walking to school is now easy and less tedious, which has improved concentration levels in class."

Student Kilonzo Munyao

"Water from the tank is being used in watering trees around the school compound. This is working well towards creating more shade and windbreakers within the school," he continued. "The availability of water and handwashing facilities is helping improve levels of hygiene and sanitation through washing of hands after visiting latrines and before meals"

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 Ilinge Primary 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 Ilinge Primary 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!


The Hermosillo Family
St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
36 individual donor(s)