Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 682 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 10/12/2023

Project Features

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Lunyu village, which sits at the foot of the Muriola hills in Kakamega County, is a very quiet place. Even with its high population and fast-growing primary school, the place feels peaceful to be in and not at all crowded. Cold with a very large amount of green cover, the village is well vegetated and smells fresh. Sitting close to the edge of the village is Muriola Primary School, serving 665 students and 17 teachers and staff.

Muriola Primary began in 2009 as just a nursery school with about 49 students. The community, with the support of the Seventh Day Adventist church, established the school to put a stop to the threat that the many local streams posed to their children as pupils had to cross the streams to reach other primary schools farther away from home. This was because whenever it rained, the streams would flood, making the walk to school treacherous for the children. The flooded riverbanks often left students stranded for long hours on either side of the rivers, and incidents of pupils drowning were not unheard of.

Today, the streams in the village pose a different threat to students at Muriola Primary School: waterborne diseases. There is no water on school grounds, so every day beginning at 7:00 am when students arrive, they are responsible for collecting water for all of the school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs.

Teachers accompany the students to the stream throughout the day. Water fetched in the morning only lasts for three or four hours, at which time teachers select another group of students to go out and fetch more water. School days at Muriola Primary are characterized by frequent interruptions to class time, costing students in their energy and focus and resulting in poor academic performance.

The stream where the school gets its water is a seasonal waterpoint which has been their only water source since the school's establishment. Being surface water, the stream water is extremely unsafe for human consumption. Upstream of the school, community members let their livestock drink while standing and defecating inside the water, people wash clothes, bathe, and even urinate and defecate in the water. The school has a few filters, but not all of the drinking water makes it through them before students consume it.

"Not having water within the school is bad. To ensure that the water we get into the school is as clean as possible, we have to accompany the students to the stream for supervision. This, at times, eats into our teaching hours which has caused significant loss in terms of syllabus coverage and performance. The water, too, is almost always a gamble. You might be very strict in overseeing the students but still get an illness from the water," explained teacher Samwel Shango.

The specific place the school allows students to fetch water is next to a rocky culvert in the road, selected for its calmer and shallower waters - though it is also nearly stagnant at times. The water gets a fishy smell during the rainy season each year as it is a perfect breeding place for aquatic life. The culvert also helps students reach the water when the stream floods.

"I have seen my colleagues do things in their containers and later use them to ferry the water back to school for the purpose of drinking. Some of them have been spotted, but others, not yet. But this forces my siblings and me to only drink water at home. Initially, it would cause us to diarrhea violently and cause embarrassment to us," shared student Shadrack.

Students frequently report cases of diarrhea, stomach upsets, and malaria as a result of going to the stream and drinking its water at school. Though the school tries to boil water when it can, firewood is expensive, and it takes a long time to boil enough water for everyone to drink. As a result, typhoid cases still pop up among the students.

The time lost to the multiple daily trips to the stream compounds the time students lose to being sick from the stream water. Students' water-related illnesses drain their families of their financial resources as they seek medical treatment. As a school that could perform better compared to other schools at their level, the school's severe clean water crisis is holding its students back from reaching their full potential as learners.

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

June, 2021: Muriola Primary School Well Project Complete!

We are excited to share that Muriola Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to completing 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.

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've been carrying drinking water from home, but now, I am sure to drink safe water with the borehole. Also, we will no longer go to the stream to fetch water again. It will help me save time for my personal studies, which will make me improve on my class performance," said Naomy, a teenage student.

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

"First, I am grateful that this water point will minimize time wasted for pupils. They used to go downstream to fetch water. We will now be able to use the time wasted to improve the school's academic performance and improve our environmental hygiene. Secondly, we are now sure of the quality and reliability of the water we are drinking. Before, this was a big challenge," said Evans Mmera.

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 make cement. When everything was ready and the students went home for school holidays (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 90 meters with a final static water level of 26 meters.

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.

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, 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 directly following the student health club training.

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.

Mr. Mmera, the headteacher, was overjoyed by the project, which he said has changed the face of the school. He continued by thanking us for remembering their school and promised to take good care of the project. Later the school chaplain dedicated the project.

VIP Latrines

This project funded 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 Stella Inganji and Wilson Kipchoge deployed to the site to lead the event. Seventeen students and teachers attended the training, which we held.

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 club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst its 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.

"The training has come at the right time when we need to keep healthy, especially this COVID-19 time. We have been doing these things, but with no seriousness, so from today, things are going to change," said Naomy.

"The training will help so much. I have learned how to wash hands properly, and I will also show my classmates," said Dennis.

We asked Dennis 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 worried I'd lose my loved ones. But I thank God we are all ok and praying this disease ends to be free again. I missed my teachers, education, and playing with school friends. At school, we used to have morning review time, but at home, it was difficult, so I missed that a lot. Now that I am back in school, we can continue with our normal school program, and I will be able to complete my primary level education come next March."

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!

May, 2021: Muriola Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Muriola 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: Doctoral Dreams!

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Muriola 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!

Before we installed a borehole well at Muriola Primary School last year, the students' lives included much more hardship.

"We had [a] rough time getting water since we were normally sent to go fetch water from a stream. At times, it was [during] class time," said 13-year-old student Faith K. "Then, sometimes, one could get so thirsty, but the water was never available to aid in quenching the thirst."

But now, Faith doesn't have any concerns about finding water since it's always right there on school grounds. Faith explained what life is like now that her school has easy access to water.

"It's a nice feeling," she said. "[I] have never been worried that I'll get to school and miss water for doing the cleaning and even drinking when thirsty, since [I] am sure of the water's availability. Also, [I] am able to collect water from school that I use for bathing immediately [once] I get home, thus maintaining [the] cleanliness of my body."

With present worries diminished, Faith now has an eye toward the future.

"[My] class concentration has increased, thus helping me achieve my goal of being a doctor," she concluded.

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 Muriola 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 Muriola 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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