Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 920 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/08/2024

Project Features

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Ibokolo Primary School is located next to the road on sloping ground. The area receives adequate rainfall throughout the year, making it a favorable environment for planting trees and grass. The vegetation gives the landscape a beautiful green look while also lending shade, a cool breeze, and serenity to the area.

With 901 students and 19 teachers and staff, Ibokolo is a large primary school with significant water need currently not being met. The high student population also demands attention to sanitation and hygiene through latrines and handwashing stations. That is why in 2019, when we first started working with Ibokolo Primary School, the school and we agreed to a project that would bring water, latrines, and handwashing stations to their school.

At the time, the latrines were in a particularly dire state that risked the school's closure by the Ministry of Health due to its lack of adequate sanitation facilities. That is when we decided in late 2019 to build two three-door blocks of ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, accompanied by two new handwashing stations and hygiene and sanitation training, to keep the school from closing. The water point would follow.

Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and all plans of constructing a water point for Ibokolo Primary School came to a halt. It is only now, with Kenya's recent reopening of all in-person learning for schools across the country in January 2021, that we have been able to resume plans with the school to help resolve their water crisis by installing a borehole well.

Currently, water at Ibokolo Primary School comes from students carrying it from one of two sources: home or the secondary school.

The water students bring from home comes from unknown sources, meaning its quality is questionable and sometimes makes students and staff sick. Because of their small containers, the amount of water students bring in the morning is never enough to meet all of the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. The water quickly runs out by late morning, and students are sent to the secondary school to fetch more.

The water from the secondary school's borehole is safe but extremely difficult to access. The primary students have to compete with the secondary school's large student population and community members for a turn fetching water. Primary school staff says there have been several cases of community members harassing, beating, pushing, and injuring the young students while scrambling for water at the well. And all of the time students waste standing in line means less time spent learning in class.

"Carrying water every morning when it is so cold is very tiresome and hectic because when you fail to come with water, you are punished by the teacher on duty. More so, fetching water in a borehole at the secondary is a big problem to us, especially young kids like me, who are looked down upon. You can't get a chance to draw water easily unless the line is short," explained pupil Gentrix.

"I am not comfortable when I see my pupils missing the precious commodity that is water, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic when water and soap have been confirmed as preventing the spread of the disease. More so, the Ministry of Education is on our toes; we comply with the set COVID-19 regulations, but we don't have the necessary funds to build those projects which can eliminate our water challenges," said Headteacher Mr. Austine Oduor.

Ibokolo Primary School has endured a severe water crisis long enough. It is time to complete their project by bringing clean, safe, and reliable water to their campus.

What We Can Do:

New Well

We conducted a hydrogeological survey at this school, and the results indicated the water table beneath it is an ideal candidate for a borehole well. Due to a borehole well's unique ability to tap into a safe, year-round water column, it will be poised to serve all of the water needs for this school's large population, even through the dry months.

The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. They will also provide housing and meals for the work team, in addition to providing local laborers. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans and drilling professionals, tools, hardware, and hand-pumps. Once finished, the school's students and staff will use water from the well and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a one-day intensive training session with students, teachers, and parents. This training will cover a wide range of topics, including COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use various methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and promote good hygiene practices within the school, including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

The school and we strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will help lead to better student academic performance and unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Project Updates

April, 2021: Ibokolo Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that Ibokolo Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new safe, clean water source thanks to the completion of their new borehole well! Students and staff are already using the well’s flowing water, which will provide them with a reliable water source for all of their daily needs.

Students pump and splash water at the new well.

We installed new latrines and handwashing stations for students, and we trained the school on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention. These components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Students drink clean water from the well.

"Access to reliable, safe water translates to good health, so with good health, I will perform better as opposed to before when you had to miss routine school activities because of attending to medications," said student Daisy.

"Since I will not be carrying water from home to school or going outside the school compound to fetch water, my performance will improve greatly because the time which I could have wasted going for water will be utilized for studies."

Handwashing at the well

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new well on campus.

"Access to reliable, safe water will translate to good health, so l am very optimistic that the challenges of waterborne and water-related diseases which we used to experience before from consuming water from unknown water sources will be no more. The water point will impact me much positively because I will not be purchasing bottled water for drinking. More so, I will get water for use from within my proximity anytime I am in need of it," said Headteacher Augustine Oduor.

Headteacher Augustine Oduor

"The water point will help us a lot. One, we will be expecting great performance in the school because pupils will not be wasting their precious time going to fetch water outside the school compound. Also, the rate of absenteeism in the school will reduce greatly because water-related diseases will have been curbed."

Headteacher Oduor tries out the pump at the handing-over celebration.

How We Got the Water Flowing

Parents, staff, and students all played a part in this well’s success. After determining the best site for the well through a hydrogeological survey, we obtained approval and a license through the government to begin drilling the new well. After awaiting this project since Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures last year, the school and we were eager to see this borehole drilled!

To prepare for the project, the school helped collect fine sand and water for our artisans to make cement. When everything was ready, and the students went home from class for the weekend (drilling is a very loud process!), our drill team and staff arrived at the school to begin work.

Assembling tools for drilling

The drilling process can take up to three consecutive days to complete due to this region’s hard bedrock, so when the drill team arrived, they set up a small camp where they could rest and refuel in shifts near the drill rig. The school’s kitchen staff and a few parents helped provide meals for the team, while the school provided a safe place for the artisans’ accommodations and materials. People of all ages came to watch the well’s progress throughout each day.


Drilling commenced with excitement in the air. As the rig progressed, the team drove down a temporary casing to keep the walls from collapsing. We continued drilling to reach a final depth of 83 meters with a final static water level of 18 meters.

Drill rig in action

The team replaced the temporary casing with a permanent version and then moved to bail out the dirty water at the bottom of the well created in the drilling process. They installed the pipes and flushed them, tested the well’s yield, and chlorinated the water.

Director Catherine Chepkemoi and team conduct a yield test.

Following chlorination, we constructed a cement well pad to seal off the well from any ground-level contaminants. The pad includes tiles beneath the drawing area to help protect the cement from the water's erosive force and a short drainage channel to carry spilled water away from the pump, preventing standing water at the access point. At the end of the drainage channel, we also dug a soak pit that helps absorb the runoff into the ground, further eliminating stagnant water.

Well pad and soak pit construction

When the well pad was dry, we installed a new stainless steel AfriDev handpump and took a water quality test to send to a government lab. The results came back announcing that this water is safe for drinking!

Clean water flows from the completed well.

When the students and teachers arrived back at school, their enthusiasm for this much-anticipated project was overwhelming. We officially handed over the new borehole to the school in the presence of parents, school board members, teachers, pupils and invited guests together with our implementing team and regional office staff. The event was an excellent chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we have given and remind them of our continued support as they develop.

The Chief cuts the ribbon to the well during the handing-over ceremony.

We tied the water point with a blue and white ribbon which was to be cut by the area chief to mark the well officially open for use. After the ribbon-cutting, the area chief began pumping water. Simultaneously, she was surrounded by songs and dances from pupils, teachers, and parents—people celebrated by washing their hands, drinking clean well water from a glass, and splashing water.

Enjoying the official first drops of clean water from the pump.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, three for the girls and three for the boys. We constructed the latrines last year before putting the remaining construction on pause due to the pandemic.

Posing in front of the new girls' latrines (pre-pandemic).

These new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents designed to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Boys pose next to their new latrines (pre-pandemic).

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were set up during the initial training following the latrines' completion and handed over to the student health club. These were placed outside of the girls’ and boys’ latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, make sure the stations are filled with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

Students handwashing at training (pre-pandemic).

New Knowledge

We held hygiene and sanitation training in two parts with this school. We conducted the first part of training when we finished constructing their latrines last year, just before schools closed nationwide in Kenya due to the pandemic. We then held the second part after completing the borehole, including a refresher on the first session's topics.

We scheduled the training with the school staff's help, who ensured that the date would be convenient for the students and teachers. When the training day arrived, facilitators Joan Were and Jonathan Mutai deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-one students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside under a mango tree's shade within the school compound.

Trainer Jonathan leads the handwashing exercise (pre-pandemic).

In the second training, we focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included refreshers on personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights, operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Small group activities (pre-pandemic).

The club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. We involved stretches, dances, and physical activities between each topic to keep the pupils’ energy up and their minds active. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

Dental hygiene session (pre-pandemic).

"I personally learned a lot from today's training, especially on dental hygiene. For me, I have been wasting my toothpaste, thinking that applying a lot of it will give a better result. It's not until today when I learned the correct way of doing things. For instance, the ten steps of handwashing and proper tooth brushing without injuring the gums. The knowledge gained will impact me greatly because I will be doing things as required and not as I knew," said student Joy, the elected Secretary of the student health club.

Student Joy

"Training was very valuable to me. It comes at the right time when things have to be done with know-how, and not only in the school but also at our various homes. The importance of washing hands with soap is something that most people in the village don't know. The knowledge gained will not only be helpful to me alone, but I will also have a duty to disseminate the same information to my siblings and the rest in the community," said pupil Jeff, referring specifically to the second session of training on COVID-19 prevention.

Student Jeff

We asked Jeff what it was like to be at home for most of the last year due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures and what it has been like coming back to school.

"I was so disappointed to miss going to school because, from that period, I missed interacting with my friends, playing together, and more so, I missed school routine activities. The very worst thing was that no one was in a position to tell or know the period closure of the schools could take before resuming," Jeff said.

"While school was closed, I personally missed a lot, right from the school routine activities to playing and interacting with teaching staff and my friends. Now being back at the school, I am so delighted to follow school routine activities, interacting with teachers and my fellow pupils. It also makes me see the future through schooling and achieving my goals."

Jeff fetching water at the well.

"My worries of the virus had reduced, unlike during its onset, but when we get to hear of the virus as it keeps on changing and being much more infectious, we then worry most. The school has been trying so much to stop the spread of the virus...The school had purchased several handwashing stations...and they have been emphasizing handwashing with soap. More so, they have been teaching on ways to deal with the virus."

"Now that I am informed, I have a duty to disseminate the same information to my siblings and the rest of the community members as I teach them how to construct a simple leaky tin for washing their hands, being one way of preventing the spread of the virus."

Field Officer Janet celebrates clean water flowing.

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2021: The Ibokolo Primary School Borehole Well Is Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ibokolo Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. We are excited to finally begin construction on their borehole well - and we thank you for your patience in this process!

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!

A Year Later: "I drink water anytime I feel thirsty"

July, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Ibokolo Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Pauline. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ibokolo 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!

We asked 12-year-old student Pauline what it was like to collect water before we installed a well at Ibokolo Primary School last year.

"Getting water was very tiresome for us. This affected us both mentally and physically, resulting [in a] lack of concentration in class, hence poor performance," said Pauline. "We could spend the whole day without water to drink. If one was lucky, she could only take half a cup."

But now that Ibokolo has a well of its own, things are different for Pauline and her classmates, and water is plentiful.

"No more carrying water to school since the water source provides us with reliable and safe water," said Pauline. "I drink water any time I feel thirsty, and this has resulted [in] me being well hydrated all the time, which has improved my attention during class lessons."

Not only has Pauline's academics improved, but so has her health.

"I don't remember the last time I suffered from waterborne diseases like stomachache and typhoid since the water is very clean and safe for drinking," said Pauline. "We wash our classes and sanitation facilities daily, unlike before when we could only do it once for lack of enough water. In addition, we wash our hands frequently with water and soap to prevent hygiene-related illnesses."

Pauline (center) fetching a glass of water with a classmate and her teacher, Mr. Oduor.

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 Ibokolo 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 Ibokolo 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.