Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Program: The Water Promise - Kenya

Impact: 429 Served

Project Phase: 
Under Community Care
Initial Installation: Sep 2015

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is part of Bridge Water Project's program in Western Kenya. What follows is direct from them (edited for clarity):


Samitsi Girls High School is a girls boarding high school started in the year 2010, and it is sponsored by the Friends Church (Quakers) Malava Yearly Meeting. The school began to empower and nurture exemplary girls in the locality. The main objective was to provide Secondary Education to the girls of the entire area and from its neighboring communities who would walk long distances in search for Education since there was no school nearby. However, among many challenges, that the school has no access to a clean and reliable water supply is major challenge. The school management learned of Bridge Water Project development activities in the water sector in Malava subcounty, and made an application requesting them to intervene in their lack to access of quality water at the school.


Currently the students fetch water from unprotected Muriri River. The river is located in a valley 500 meters away from school. The water from this river records a turbidity value of 60, way below the World Health Organization parameters for water good for human consumption. The water is an open source and therefore not safe. It is further contaminated by human activity such as people bathing and washing their clothes as well as watering their livestock in the river.

The girls are endangered especially during the rainy season. The pathway to the stream is slippery causing them to injure themselves on occasion while walking and also breaking their jerricans. It can also be unsafe for the young girls to walk alone on pathways, as there can be predators waiting for them, and they have no way to protect themselves.


The school records a total enrollment of 395 girls, 22 teachers and 12 subordinate staff . Therefore the school has a population of 429 people.


The school has permanent classrooms which are washed daily. The school has flush latrines in the Dormitory but due to lack of water they are not being used. Flush latrines have an S-trap water seal to keep odors from escaping the pit. The latrine is 'flushed' by pouring water from a bucket into the latrine receptacle to wash waste into the pit. It has 20 pit latrines for the girls and 4 for Teachers.

The school has a utensil rack located near the kitchen and a compost pit is present where litters are dumped and burned. There are bathrooms and clotheslines for drying their uniforms. There is only one Hand washing station in the whole school that is for the teachers, hence the sanitation situation is not at a satisfactory level. This leads to many of the students getting sick from unhygienic situations.


There is need to drill a reliable borehole and provide training that is aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene in the school and also to enable student's access quality water for their domestic needs. With water available in school, this will relieve the girls from having to fetch water from the river and also allow them extra time for studying.


If the borehole is drilled, Samitsi students and teachers will be the direct beneficiaries.


The school management committee will be in charge of the water source when provided and Bridge Water Project will do capacity building training with them before the implementation of the project.



Being a young school that faces a number of challenges, hygiene and sanitation is one of the major problems in this school. The life of a girl in this school requires close attention since the situation is made worse by the lack of clean and sufficient water.

Because the school has good infrastructure (classrooms) and latrines, one may think that all is well with this school. The classrooms are well painted and well equipped with furniture, but the way to keep the classrooms and latrines clean remains a mystery.

Teachers and students have little knowledge of good hygiene and sanitation. To make it worse, the little knowledge they do have is not used. Deeper knowledge is needed in order to bring change in attitude and behavior. It is a shame that, at the start of this project, the girls were aware of the good practices of hygiene and sanitation like methods of water treatment, proper hand washing before and after eating, and after visiting the latrine, but only theoretically,not practically.

Having considered the situation of this school, training was conducted for the students and teachers in order to bring change to this community’s behavior and attitude towards good hygiene and sanitation conditions.

Several aspects of proper hygiene and sanitation were dealt with:

Fetching and drinking clean water

The water used by the students and their families must not only come from a safe source, but also be stored in a clean closed container to protect it from contamination even at the household level.

The importance of using a latrine

Latrine use is critical for stopping the spread of bacteria through contact with fecal waste. Inadvertent contact can cause contamination of food and water, leading to disease outbreaks.

Germ free food

In addition to washing hands, food should be prepared and stored properly in order to prevent contamination from insects or other animals, or from contact with dirty utensils.

Use and maintenance of all the latrines in the school

The latrines should be properly maintained through regular cleanings to reduce odor and the presence of flies, keeping them locked when not in use, and keeping a clear path to the door.

Proper hand washing

Hands should be washed thoroughly after visiting latrines and before eating. To enable this, the school must ensure the availability of hand washing stations, soap, and water.

Good personal hygiene

The school must help ensure the pupils have clean clothes, trimmed fingernails, short, neat hair, clean face and body, and clean handkerchiefs.

Maintaining cleanness of the school compound and the classrooms

The school infrastructure can be kept clean by making duty rosters, regular inspections, and making sure cleaning materials are available.

Organize school hygiene and sanitation events

These events can serve as regular reminders of the importance of good hygiene and sanitation practices.

Having provided all the necessary training for the girls and teachers, more is anticipated in terms of good practices of hygiene and sanitation improving the situation of the school.


Little did the students and teachers of Samitsi Girls School know that the long awaited dream of a clean and safe water source could be finally realized at their school.

Many of the local organizations and government ministries had made unrealistic promises of providing water solutions to the school but all in vain. Besides the local organizations and the government ministries, the politicians took advantage of the dire situation to acquire votes from the local people with the hope that they would fulfill their promises of channeling funds to the school which could be used to drill a well for the girls, but all was in vain.

Having experienced a wave of empty promises since its inception, the remaining and last hope for the school was The Water Project through Bridge Water Project as a partnering organization.

Mrs. Sasaka Wilbrodah, who is the school principal, does not hesitate in sharing the experience and attitude she had towards us (Bridge Water Project) since we began to visit the school. She said, "I did not want to believe your good news of making it possible for the school to have an access to clean and safe water. I quickly compared your organization with others who came in for a lie. Once I saw a drilling machine roll into our school compound, that is when everything begun to be real for me and hope has been established".

The loud sound of the drilling rig as it penetrated the school's ground attracted the attention of the girls, teachers, and the local people from the neighborhoods including the assistant chief of this area, Mr. Zachariah Lunani.

With songs of hope and joy, the girls carried buckets on their heads lifting water from the far stream to the site for drilling. Isabella Ambani, a form three girl, did not hide her joy when she said, "I don't mind going to the stream ten times and more to fetch water to be used for drilling since I will never go back their once we have clean and adequate source of water in the school compound".

On the first day of the drilling process, a soft layer was experienced to a depth of 11 meters. This required the use of an air compressor which was used to drill the well to a depth of an aquifer. The well was then cased and flushed by the use of the air compressor to remove all the dirt and soil particles.

It’s worthy to note that once the well is complete, more is anticipated in terms of good hygiene and sanitation and improved academic and curriculum performance.


The Bridge Water Project construction team mobilized to the site in preparation for the construction of the well pad. During this phase, the schools were busy preparing for their end of term exams. This meant that the construction team was all alone at the site, doing all the responsibilities like fetching water which is normally done by students when available.

Even though it is a rainy season, the team did the construction work for three days and ensured that the work was well done.

The school prepared meals for the men working.

After the well pad had cured, the team mobilized back to the site for pump installation. This phase was done when the girls were not present in school. All the schools in Kenya had gone for August holidays.

The pump was installed successfully and is now waiting for a handing over once the schools resume. It’s worthy to note that the handing over has delayed due to the ongoing teachers strike in Kenya.

The teacher’s strike began on the 31st of August 2015 as a result of the salary increment demands from the teachers. Recently, the Kenyan high court favored the teachers who are demanding a 50 to 60 percent increment due to high cost of living in Kenya.

From the previous strikes the teachers have had in the past years, it has taken approximately two weeks to resolve. We are anticipating that the schools will resume the second week of September, as the government is committed to solving the issues with the teachers.


Even after the resolution of the teacher strike in Kenya, silence is a word that one could sense at the entrance gate of the school. This time round, not because no one was in school but the examinations were going on. The candidates who are the form fours have started their final paper. No one could easily be allowed to enter the school since the security was tight to avoid any chance for exam cheating.

Heading to the principal's office, we found her busy organizing her things. She quickly recognized us and welcomed us with a heart full of gratitude and thanks giving. "We are so lucky to have the new well in our school. It's really of great help since the school workers can longer go far distances in search of water," said Mrs. Wilbrodah.

She continued to explain to us how the girls are nowadays relaxed in their classes without any kind of the pressure which comes as a result of water problems.

She quickly called the teacher on duty who she assigned the responsibility of assembling the girls at the water point. On hearing the call, the girls ran cheerfully to the water point singing songs of "Igwe, Igwe," meaning, "thank you mighty God." Asked why they were singing the songs, the girls said that it was a sign of the beginning of the road to success.

They were all surprised to have the picture of the Martin family who has a close connection to the new well. Reading down the beautiful and inspiring words written right below the picture, their hearts were touched seeing how one could sacrifice for the life and well being of a girl in Kenya.

"Pass our heartfelt thanks to the Martin family and the water project organization. They have left a mark in our hearts." These were there last words as we finally dedicated the well to the school.

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Project Photos

Project Type

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


Project Sponsor - The Matthew Martin Family