Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 656 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/07/2024

Project Features

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"There is never enough time to concentrate on studies fully as I am forced to fetch water from the spring daily. Sometimes, the drawn water is dirty, but I am forced to drink it to quench my thirst, and the consequences are always severe. Absenteeism is on the increase as sometimes I get so tired of helping the school fetch water," said Susan, a student at Kamuchisu Primary School.

Susan is 1 of 636 students and 20 teachers and staff at this school who face an enormous water crisis every day. Established in 1995 by local community members who longed to bring education close to home for their children, the school has never had its own water source. Students are responsible for carrying enough water to meet the entire school's drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs every day. However, with such a high student population, the students' water is never enough to satisfy these needs.

Students fetch water from an unprotected spring in the community, presenting many challenges. The spring is located in a deep valley with many rocks. The spring is open to all kinds of contamination, rendering it unfit for human consumption. Runoff from the rains pours dirt, farm chemicals, and animal waste directly into the water. The spring is also seasonal, meaning it produces very little water and sometimes runs dry for part of the year each dry season.

Pupils become exhausted climbing into and out of the valley while carrying water several times a day. Due to their large numbers, the students waste a lot of class time waiting in long lines at the spring. They are often late to their classes due to fetching water and sometimes miss them entirely while they wait their turn to fetch water at the spring. Between the missed classes and low energy when students return to class, their academic performance is poor.

Because water from the unprotected spring is unsafe, students frequently report waterborne diseases, including typhoid and diarrhea. These illnesses keep students home while recovering and drain their families of money as they pay for these diseases' expensive treatment. Many students, like Susan, decided to stay home some afternoons or even whole days because they get too tired and frustrated with being sent to the spring to fetch water.

"Most times, I have lacked water to drink because the water drawn from the spring is not clean. Also, the containers used to fetch water scares me a lot as they are always dirty," added teacher Philip Shitika.

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, 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: Kamuchisu Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that Kamuchisu 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.

Happy for clean water

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.

"No more going to fetch water as before, and also I will be taking clean water for drinking because the source is known. I will use the time for extra studies, which will boost my performance and behavior too. General hygiene also will improve to be better now that we have water around," said 15-year-old Emmanuel O.

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

"The water source has eased the burden of going to fetch water every day, which has been time-wasting for studies. So from now on, we will no longer waste time. Instead, we will use that time to improve on our performance," said Naommy Chimaleni, teacher.

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 90 meters with a final static water level of 16 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. 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

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, Betty Muhongo and Kristine Kayi deployed to the site to lead the event. Nineteen students and teachers attended the training, which we held.

Opening with prayer

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.

Practicing a safe distance

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 was held under a shade tree on the school compound to be comfortable and follow COVID-19 measures put in place by the government. It was well-organized by the school headteacher, who assigned the sanitation teacher to choose participants. The school already had a health club, so the participants were chosen from that group.

Learning how to make soap

"The training was good because I now know how to make liquid soap which I will teach my family too. We have been ignoring some things and take it [personal hygiene] lightly, but from now I will be a good health ambassador to the entire school," said Geoffrey B., CTC Chairperson.

We asked Geoffrey 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.

"At first I was happy we had an early holiday, but as time passed, the holiday was too long, making it boring and scary. I did not know if we will go back to school, and also, work at home was too intense. I missed my friends and teachers teaching us. Self-study at home was not easy and also, time for study was hard with a lot of noise from young ones. I am happy now. We can study without disturbance and more so being taught by our teachers. It is just a relief."

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: Kamuchisu Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kamuchisu 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 can testify that, really, life has changed."

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kamuchisu 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 drilled a new borehole well at Kamuchisu Primary School last year, students carried water with them to school from whatever source was easiest. This questionable water infected students and staff with debilitating illnesses. And even with a full jerrycan from each student, the water was never enough to serve all the school's needs.

"During [the] morning, I fetched water from a nearby stream to [bring to] school," recalled 15-year-old student Doreen B. "This [water] was not enough for [an] entire general [school] cleaning. The distance was very far, and I would get tired on the way, which contributed to [me being] late to class."

But with ample water available on school grounds, everyone at school is clean, punctual, and less hungry and thirsty.

"I can testify that, really, life has changed," Doreen continued. "No more wasting time like [in the] past collecting water. No more missing morning lessons, and classwork is done on time. The school environment is kept clean."

With her present feeling a lot more secure, Doreen now has an eye on her future. "Having access to clean and safe water, my aim in life is to bring light among the community," she said. "Moreso, ensuring my talent of being an athlete can shine."

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 Kamuchisu 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 Kamuchisu 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.


West Jeff Elementary Third Grade
4 individual donor(s)