Mahiga Rainwater Court

View this project on the Open Architecture Network >


The Rainwater Court is a multi-purpose, full-size basketball court designed for the St. Joseph Mahiga Primary School and community of Nyeri, Kenya. The facilities include a shade structure that has integrated rainwater collection and UV purification system with solar panels for the water system and night lighting in areas without electricity. The full-court configuration has a 2,500 sq ft playing surface covered by metal roof and guttered to collect an estimated 40,000 liters of water per year. The building incorporates 25,000 liters of rainwater storage, with UV purification.

Facility Program:

In addition to serving as a major source of fresh water for the community, the complex includes a small stage facing the court, with a permanent, hard-wall backing designed as a movie projection screen. The structure serves multiple functions for the school, providing a sport facility, purified drinking water, a covered performance space for local music and theater, an outdoor/covered classroom and dining area. It provides the area’s only community meeting space and a covered location for farmer’s market.

Community Design Workshops helped to highlight additional community needs and led to the incorporation of a multi-purpose room to be utilized in the future as a temporary health clinic and indoor community meeting space.

Project Sponsor:

St. Joseph Mahiga Primary School, a rural school in a low-income area near Nyeri, Kenya, is working with Architecture for Humanity and The The Nobelity Project. With recent improvements, the school has progressed to one of the top-rated schools (out of 600 in the district).

The Nobelity Project is a non-profit organization working on solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems. In our collaboration with the The Nobelity Project and the local community, we have brought electricity to the school, built a rainwater system with UV purification, a computer lab and other facilities. The Nobelity Project has partnered with the Education District to build Mahiga Hope High School, a four-year high school with 4 blocks of classrooms and with an innovative, multipurpose structure that will be the first high school in the area.

Watch this video by The Nobelity Project.


The Rainwater Court can transform this community and is a key component of the new Mahiga Hope High School. The local community has two primary schools with approximately 400 students each. With all boys and girls admitted to the schools without tuition charges, there is an even mix of gender. Education in the area used to end at 8th grade. Mahiga Hope High School – a partnership between The Nobelity Project, the Kenyan Regional Education District, and the people of Mahiga will provide a full 12-year High School education for every child.

Water Wide Web: Bridging Water and Education in Kenya
WorldChanging: Kenya’s First ‘Net Positive’ Basketball Court Kenya’s Rainwater Basketball Court

GameChangers Program

GameChangers is an initiative run by Architecture for Humanity with Nike Social Innovations. It is an open RFP to fund and build sports spaces that are successful catalysts for social change. The intention is not to play it safe (pun intended), but to support the raw innovation and creative spirit of projects that normally don’t often receive support from traditional grants. The fund would support multiple projects and match up to 70% of the building costs.

When selected, the local organization will work with Architecture for Humanity to utilize a matching grant fund established by Nike Inc. Additionally Architecture for Humanity will connect Community Partner with a professional design team to develop and refine their proposed facility. This fund will provide access to funding towards the cost of construction of the proposed project. Architecture for Humanity will provide construction oversight and will manage the funds during construction.

Community Partners will be required to demonstrate a minimum of 30% of the final estimated construction cost in the form of matching funds or in-kind contributions (such as land or donations). Nike, Architecture for Humanity and the Community Partner will work together to identify additional sources of matching funds if needed.

The Mahiga High Rainwater Court was selected by the GameChangers evaluation committee as a project to be funded during the first round.

Explore Architecture for Humanity projects from around the world on the Open Architecture iPad app!