Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 234 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/09/2023

Project Features

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"Sometimes the community members deny us water because a few students tend to damage their farm produce so we can stay thirsty a whole day because we cannot get the spring water - that is the only water we drink."

This is the reality of the water crisis for the 719 students and 20 teachers and staff at Namagara Primary School, as explained by student Timinah. This school's fight for clean water has been a difficult one with many ups and downs, but they refuse to rest until their students have clean water.

The school's main water source is supposed to be a standpipe that was installed on school grounds, but for the last year, the pipe has sat damaged and unusable. The tap was stolen and the pipe cut, making the water point completely nonfunctional. There have not been any communications or repairs from the water company to help fix this pipe.

Now, more than 700 students are back to relying on 2 different water sources in the community for all of their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. Drinking water is collected from a spring located downhill from a community member's farm which relies heavily on animal manure. A large amount of it is visible in the spring area. The spring's makeshift protection was not done up to standard, allowing the uphill farm runoff to seep into the spring. The spring water itself sports particles in it, indicating damage from within the spring box. The water here is not safe for consumption, and the spring's discharge is said to be extremely low over the dry season. With long lines for both students and community members to fetch water, this is where arguments and bad feelings come into play such as Timinah mentioned.

There is also a stream in the community where students are supposed to fetch the water used only for cooking and cleaning, but Head Teacher Mr. Felix Soita noted that some mischievous kids fetch it for drinking anyway to avoid going to the spring, which is further away. The stream is used by everyone and everything in the community. Some bodaboda men (motorcycle taxi drivers) wash their motorcycles in it, and others take their animals there to drink. Women will also wash their clothes directly in the stream. All of these clear signs of contamination are done mostly upstream from where the students fetch water, as the stream is shallower and a little slower there.

The stream water is extremely unsafe to drink, yet the cross-contamination of dirty water and dirty containers is all too common at school. At one point a few years back, a community member died of misdiagnosed cholera as a result of drinking the stream water. The community was cautioned against this water source and since then most people stopped drinking from the stream, but the school still relies on it for their needs. Currently, using the dirty stream water has made both students and teachers develop chronic diarrhea and dysentery, among other symptoms.

"As for me, I cannot drink this water. Every time I drink water that is not clean, it only takes a few seconds before pain emanates from my throat and this has cost me peace and a lot of money. To be on the safe side, I only drink boiled warm water," said Head Teacher Soita.

Time wastage and incomplete syllabi have been linked to the frequent water collection trips outside of the school compound. The first trip is made as early as 7:30 am when students are supposed to clean the school compound, followed by more trips throughout the day since students are asked to fetch water whenever it is needed. Students tend to make merry while out of class which has really poked into class time, teachers report. School finances have also been hit hard as a result of treating the illnesses arising from drinking the dirty water.

Namagara Primary School began in 1937 under the sponsorship of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and the community, originally hosting 180 pupils. The reason behind its establishment was to counter the distance their children walked to the other nearest schools, all of which were located more than 8 kilometers away and required pupils to cross dangerous rivers without bridges. Today, these pupils' challenges with water have taken a new form, but their fight for clean water continues.

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

January, 2022: Namagara Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Namagara 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.

"Drinking water is now readily available in the school compound," said Favour S., an 11-year-old student.

Favour getting a glass of water.

"We will no longer walk for a long distance and risk our lives as we cross the road to go look for water from the stream and spring. We will concentrate more on classwork than before and, as a result, our grades will improve."

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

Head Teacher Solomon Rapando explained why the well means so much to the school's students and staff. "We do not have to worry about water running out at any time. We have clean water for cleaning, cooking, washing hands, and drinking."

Solomon fetching water.

Solomon continued: "The installation of this water point will promote good hygiene standards, which, in turn, will reduce cases of absenteeism caused by waterborne and hygiene-related illnesses."

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 55 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.

Flushing the well.

Following chlorination, we constructed a cement well pad to seal off the well from any ground-level contaminants.

Students bring bricks for the building artisans.

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!

The students' and teachers' enthusiasm for this much-anticipated project was overwhelming. We officially handed over the new borehole to the school.

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, Amos Emisiko, Olivia Bomji, and Sheila Kanaitsa deployed to the site to lead the event. 30 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in the school compound.

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 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.

"I am happy to be part of today's training because I have acquired new knowledge about water, sanitation, and hygiene," Favour said. "My hygiene standards will improve and I promise to put in practice what I have learned today both at home and in school."

Favour brushing her teeth during the dental hygiene training.

At one point, one of the students asked what they should do if the borehole well dried up. The facilitator reassured her that there is a team always on standby to fix such an issue.

"We have been taught how to make soap and also how to wash hands properly and frequently," said student, Joseph I. "I will wash my hands as recommended because now we have soap and a frequent supply of water from the hand pump well."

We asked Joseph 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.

Joseph at the training.

"I always hear from the radio that the virus has spread to villages, unlike before when it was only in urban areas. I pray that no one in our school or village will catch the virus," Joseph said. "Now that we have a constant supply of water in the school I will personally make sure that I wash hands frequently and also encourage other pupils to do so too."

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!

December, 2021: Namagara Primary School Borehole Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Namagara 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!

A Year Later: "I feel good fetching water here"

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Namagara 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 collected water from a passing stream near the school. We had stomachaches, and it was very cloudy during the day because it was made dirty upstream. The water [only] helped us for cleaning and other school work," said 13-year-old Joseph M.

"We no longer carry containers from home to school. I feel good fetching water here because it makes me not worry about class. It has helped the school to manage time. We go for games uninterrupted, and I feel we will pass our exams well," said Joseph.

Not only does Joseph feel better about collecting water and more hopeful about his schoolwork his health has also improved.

"The problem of stomachache has been solved," concluded Joseph.

Joseph splashing water.

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 Namagara 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 Namagara 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.


Alan and Lesley Pedersen
Darling Deers NFT
Folsom Memorial United Methodist Church
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Luke and Jessi's Wedding
12 individual donor(s)