Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,089 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/30/2024

Project Features

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"Our school population is very high, but we lack a reliable source of water. Students suffer a lot and most of them miss school due to waterborne diseases," said Charles Otunga, the Deputy Principal at Lunyinya Primary School.

There are 1,065 students and 24 teachers and staff at Lunyinya Primary, yet hardly any water on campus to meet all of their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs.

The school has three small plastic rain tanks that combined have the ability to store 25,000 liters of water - a very small amount. With such a large student population, the tanks quickly run dry in just one to two days after it rains.

Each morning, to make up for the school's severe clean water shortage, students have to carry water from home along with their school books. With so many students coming from different parts of the village, however, teachers are not able to monitor exactly where students fetch water. Water from "home" can easily be from unsafe sources such as streams and puddles along the road to school, chosen by students simply for their convenience to help ease their burdensome walk to school while trying to get to class on time.

During break time and lunchtime, students are again sent out for more water. They have to rush to a spring in the village where community members force students to wait until all adults present have fetched water first. This sometimes puts students at odds with their own parents for water, and conflicts at the spring are increasingly common as frustrations rise due to the students' large numbers.

Though the spring was protected at one point, it has fallen into disrepair. The collection area is now difficult to access as it is flooded with muddy water, and the catchment area protecting the spring's source has been compromised. This brings even the spring water's quality into question.

Even if students have safe water sources at home, or if the spring water were safe, students' jerrycans are dirty from the inside out. Even clean water would be contaminated carried in a dirty container. Because water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated source means everyone is at risk of water-related illnesses. Students frequently report stomachaches and cases of diarrhea as a result of drinking the water at school.

All of the time students spend at home sick from their school water combined with the time lost to long morning walks and trips to the spring mean a lot of missed classtime for pupils. Students' academic performance is, as a result, lagging. Waterborne illnesses are also expensive to treat, draining students' families of their financial resources when seeking medication.

Without sufficient water, drinking and cooking are not the only activities negatively impacted at school. Basic sanitation and hygiene measures are frequently sacrificed due to the lack of water.

"With the current COVID-19 condition, we have to wash our hands frequently with soap - but the water gets finished very fast. We end up not washing our hands as required. We risk catching the virus since we do not follow preventive measures as needed," said student Reginah.

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 the hand-pump. Once finished, water from the well will then be used by the school’s students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

We and the school 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 will help unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

Two triple-door latrine blocks will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. Three doors will serve the girls and three doors will serve the boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and to clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

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, and 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 a variety of 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 at home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

September, 2021: Lunyinya Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Lunyinya Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water 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 source of water for all of their daily needs.

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.

Derick at the well.

"The water is very clean and reliable," said Derick S., a 12-year-old student at Lunyinya. "Therefore, we will no longer suffer from waterborne and water-related diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea."

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

Lucheli Otunga drinking water from the new well.

"My students will no longer waste time and strain as they walk for a long distance to fetch water and walk back to school," said Head Teacher, Lucheli Otunga. "With a reliable source of water in school, students will be able to take plenty of water, which will increase concentration and productivity in class. Students will be more focused and alert, too. In addition, time that was wasted before will now be channeled into studies. As a result, the school performance will improve tremendously."

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.

To prepare for the project, the school helped collect fine sand and water for our artisans to use in making 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.

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 80 meters with a final static water level of 12 meters.

The team replaced the temporary casing with a permanent version and then bailed out the dirty water at the bottom of the well. They installed the pipes and flushed them, tested the well’s yield, and chlorinated the water.

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 erosive force of the water, 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.

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!

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.

The project was officially handed over through a colorful ceremony that had representatives from the church that sponsors the school, the Curriculum Support Officer (CSO) from the Kakamega North Sub-County office, the area chief, the village elder, the school board, teachers, parents, and (of course) pupils. A drilling report was handed over to the school. Then, a ribbon was cut. The day was marked by prayers, tree planting and sharing a meal with all stakeholders.

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. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, three for the girls and three for the boys. 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.

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were set up during training 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.

New Knowledge

We scheduled hygiene and sanitation training with the school’s staff, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for pupils and teachers. When the training day arrived, facilitators Christine Masinde and Mary Afandi deployed to the site to lead the event.

When we started the training, there were only nine participants, but as time went by, students kept coming in until there were 32!

We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance.

During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club. All three officials of the student health club appointed themselves, which showed the confidence they had in themselves. We were assured that, through their leadership, the borehole, VIP latrines, and handwashing stations will be taken care of.

The new treasurer of the club, Juliana O. shared what she thought of the training and shared her resolve for upholding its principles. "Through the training, I have gained more knowledge about general hygiene promotion and how to manage and maintain WaSH facilities implemented in our school. We will enlighten other learners when schools open so that we can all live a healthy life and prevent diseases caused by poor hygiene practises."

Juliana, health club treasurer.

The club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will be responsible for encouraging 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.

Derick demonstrating dental care.

"The training is timely, since most people are no longer keen on practicing COVID-19 preventive measures," Derick S. said. "I am going to emphasize to my friends and other learners on putting on masks well and social distancing. I hear the virus is most dangerous, especially to vulnerable groups like me since I am physically disabled. Masks are too expensive for my parents. I pray that this COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end soon."

We asked Derick 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.

"During my stay at home when schools were closed because of [the] COVID-19 outbreak in Kenya, I missed my teachers," Derick said. "They always make sure that I study well and they offer help whenever I am faced with any problem."

But the training seemed to give Derick new resolve for counteracting the pandemic. "Having learned how to make [masks], I will teach [my parents] how to make them so that we can save cash. I will wear masks correctly, social distance whenever in crowded areas, and I will also wash hands properly with soap and clean running water."

When an issue arises concerning the well, 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!

August, 2021: Lunyinya Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Lunyinya Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

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 am sure my dream will come to pass."

October, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lunyinya 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, the students of Lunyinya Primary School were fetching water three times a day from unprotected sources, yet the school still never had enough water to meet all of the staff and students' needs. Consuming the unsafe water also deteriorated the health and happiness of the entire school community.

"Each morning, I was to carry water from home, then during breaktime and lunchtime I had to rush to the spring to draw water to school," said 14-year-old Regina N.

But since we installed a borehole well in the school compound, things have continued to improve every day.

"Getting water has been made easy because it's within my reach, and it's always available throughout the year," Regina said. "Since the time this borehole was drilled, I no longer waste my precious time in search of water. My academic performance has really improved. [I] am sure my dream will come to pass."

"There is [a] great change," said 45-year-old teacher Wilfred Wechuli. "Nowadays, there is no interfering with pupils' lessons as in the past where they were asked to stop their lessons to go and get water. Water is always available within the school compound, and there is a lot of confidence in using water because the source is well-known."

"Having water within my school compound has enabled me and other pupils to complete our syllabus on time and have time for revision (study) in areas we did not understand," Regina concluded.

With so much time spent learning and studying, the future is looking bright at Lunyinya Primary School.

Regina and Wilfred at the well.

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 Lunyinya 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 Lunyinya 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.


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