Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 329 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/19/2023

Project Features

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"Life has not been good since I joined this school," said John, a pupil at Friends Kaimosi Special Primary School.

"Challenges have occurred, weakening my ability to concentrate on my studies as I spend more time on collecting water due to its daily needs. Good hygiene practices cannot be achieved using unsafe water, thus giving me a hard time as I have to reuse my school uniform. Even bathing is not done daily."

"Due to the frequent consumption of unclean water, we regularly take pupils to health facilities who have contracted waterborne diseases because their immune system has been weakened over time," added Principal Florence Ondari.

John and Principal Ondari represent the daily challenges each of the 297 students and 32 teachers and staff at Friends Kaimosi Special Primary School face due to their severe clean water shortage.

Established in 1998 under the Friends Quaker Church's sponsorship, the school is proudly known for empowering pupils with education and co-curricular activities. But the school has always struggled to provide enough clean and safe water for students.

To date, there is just one small plastic rain tank that is meant to serve the entire school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. As an all-boarding school, the school's water needs are particularly high as students require all of their meals, showers, and laundry to come from the school.

The school relies on sending students and staff to a protected spring in the village to fetch additional water for school use. But not all students are physically able to access the spring, and many cannot be sent without staff to assist and supervise them. That means the same few students and staff are repeatedly sent to the spring, taking away a lot of their class time and time for other activities. This negatively impacts students' academic performance and drags morale down.

The jerrycans students use to ferry water are very dirty, and sometimes water is mishandled on the walk back to class, contaminating it. Students report cases of typhoid and cholera, requiring their parents to pay for their medical treatment. Economically, most of the students' parents are low-income earners and have little money to spare. Their children's water-related illnesses at school are draining their financial resources.

Without sufficient water, basic hygiene and sanitation practices have to be sacrificed. As John mentioned, laundry and bathing are not guaranteed, along with handwashing and cleaning the latrines. The students are living in unnecessary discomfort and unhealthy conditions due to their school's lack of water.

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 boarding 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, the school’s students and staff will use water from the well and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

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.

Handwashing Stations

The student health club will oversee the two new handwashing stations we will provide and ensure 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. These new latrines will have cement floors designed to be easy to use and 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, 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.

Project Updates

August, 2021: Friends Kaimosi Special Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that Friends Kaimosi Special 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.

"I thank God for giving us this chance of change in our lives. I really celebrate the new standard of hygiene set in our school. As a head girl, doing manual cleaning (washing clothes, bathing) will be easier compared to previous days when we had water challenges," said Mercy K.

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

"With water within our school compound, we are able to cover our syllabus, and this will lead to good results. Pupils will not waste their precious time," said teacher Belina Wanzala.

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 100 meters with a final static water level of 9 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.

Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. 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

Having a good laugh together

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 Victor Musemi, Erick Wagaka, and Amos Misiko deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-two students, teachers, and community-based leaders attended the training outside the classrooms under a shade tree.

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.

The teachers and Principal learn how to make soap

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.

Students thanking the trainers

"I am very grateful to be one of the participants during this training. I have really gained a lot of knowledge and am ready to share with other pupils and family back at home. This will help both of us to improve our sanitation standards," said Marcy E., a 14-year-old student.

"Through the training, we can now make masks and train others [about] which are the best and affordable. Creating more awareness in other areas, especially in our community, on the importance of adherence to COVID-19 measures," said Brian O., a member of the student health club.

Practicing safety measures

We asked Brian 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.

"Being at home for one full year is a big loss," Brian said. "Being a pupil, I really missed learning activities, sports, and socializing with others which affected my timetable [academic calendar]. It is a privilege to be back at school. My prayer is that each and everyone adheres to rules and regulations put in place so that schools cannot close again because of increased numbers of the COVID-19 virus."

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!

July, 2021: Friends Kaimosi Special Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Friends Kaimosi Special 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: Water is available all the time!

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Friends Kaimosi Special 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!

The students at Friends Kaimosi Special Primary School used to be sent to collect water from a local spring, but the trip was daunting and impossible for some of the students facing more serious physical challenges. And the water students collected often made them sick, causing them to miss valuable learning time in class.

"Previously, to get water was not easy," said 16-year-old Chelsea C. "It was like a dream to me because the school management did not allow us to fetch water outside the school compound. Personally, I used to be very sick every day because of drinking contaminated water and even not washing [my] hands when eating because there was no water."

But since a well was implemented on their school campus, life has looked different for students, and they are experiencing better health.

"Now that water is available all the time, as you can see, I am very clean, and I am able to wash my hands regularly. Additionally, [there is] no more wastage of time and money going to [the] hospital for treatment," said Chelsea.

"My goal is to ensure that other students are maintaining hygiene practices. I am going to be a role model to them, and more so, ensuring handwashing stations are filled with water every day," concluded Chelsea.

Chelsea washing her hands.

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 Friends Kaimosi Special 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 Friends Kaimosi Special 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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