Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 810 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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Matete Primary School is just a few kilometers from Kakamega Eldoret, a busy highway. Stepping outside during the dry season may make one mistake the area for an arid region. But during the rainy season, the growth of vegetation leaves the environment very serene.

The school was established in 1946 with support from Friends Quaker Church. They aimed to eradicate illiteracy in the community and reduce the long distances that learners had to travel for school by going outside the community. The school has been doing well, producing pupils with good performance in the national examination. Some of those students have gotten an opportunity to study in national schools here in Kenya. Their achievements are also marked by the current number of members of the county assembly who were students of the school.

Early in the morning, students have to carry water to school for use within the school. Because the water collected in the morning is not enough to cater to all of the school's water needs, learners are sent to fetch water outside the school compound at a local stream during break and game times. The stream is situated a few kilometers away from the school on a gradual slope that makes it easy for runoff water to deposit all types of contamination. It is also very dangerous, especially for young kids, during the rainy season.

"At our home, we draw water from a spring which is quite a distance away from our home. So very early in the morning, I have to go and fetch water at that spring to be carried to school. When I arrive home from the spring, I prepare myself, eat my breakfast then take my books together with the fetched water to school. By the time I reach school, I am totally exhausted," said 12-year-old female student Lavender.

The school relies on several sources for drinking water, including water fetched from a nearby stream, water carried by pupils from their various homes, and water from a well at a nearby secondary school. All of these have their own challenges. Pupils carrying water from their homes are not always using safe, clean containers and sometimes find water along the way in questionable places. The stream is situated a few kilometers away from the school, so it takes time and energy. A teacher has to accompany the kids to collect water because it is dangerous to access. At the Secondary School, the water point is not reliable because it is prone to breakdown, is often overcrowded, and has restricted use. Regardless of where they gather it, collecting water is tiresome and consumes time that learners could utilize for their studies.

"We are experiencing a great challenge when it comes to water in our school. It has impacted us negatively because pupils going for water outside the school compound consumes a lot of time for the learners and me personally because when teaching, pupils might have gone for water. It also paves the way for absenteeism because of sickness, meaning some of my learners will be missing what I have already taught to the rest of the pupils," explained Headteacher Francis Changu.

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 working. 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

November, 2021: Matete Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Matete 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.

"Access to reliable, safe water translates [to] good health!" said Lavender N., 13. "The reliability of water will impact me positively as I will be able to access safe clean water all the time. My goal is to improve in my academics because there is no more time wastage looking for water outside the school compound."

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

Francis Changu, the school's Deputy Head Teacher, is hopeful for the future of the school and the students. "Students will not be wasting their precious time seeking water outside [the] school compound, hence concentrating on their studies."

"Also, hygiene and sanitation practices in the school will be greatly improved," Francis continued. "I am much optimistic that there will be no more cases of waterborne and water-related diseases affecting my students hence there will be minimal or no absenteeism at all."

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 started work. But not before the very excited students could pose for a photo with the drill rig!

Infectious enthusiasm!

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 38 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.

Yield test.

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.

Students, teachers, and staff members could not hide their joy in having their own water point within the school compound. Teachers joined students in dancing and some students recited a poem thanking everyone for the new well, latrines, and handwashing stations, which will help them improve hygiene and sanitation practices in the school. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Everyone saying "thank you!"

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 Jonathan Mutai, Amos Emisiko, Wilson Kipchoge, and Nelly Chebet deployed to the site to lead the event. 26 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside the classrooms in the shade. We were expecting around 20 students but were more than happy to accommodate a few extras.

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.

Training ice-breaker.

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 of great value to me," said Lavender. "Mask-making and soap-making catch my attention most because [this] morning, I almost missed coming to school because I had no money to purchase a face mask. But [I now know] how to make a washable face mask using used pieces of clothes. I will make a lot so as my parents save on [the] cost in purchasing masks."

Everyone's favorite topic was soap-making. The students and teachers alike were very curious to watch the soap being made. After the soap was finished, everyone had an opportunity to test it, and all affirmed it to be better than what they had been using.

We asked Lavender 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.

"[The] closing of school impacted me much negatively," Lavender said. "I was so disappointed and so stressed. Every time I was sent for shopping in our local center, I was not comfortable to take change, thinking it was one route of transmitting the disease. Besides that, after resuming, I was forced to repeat a class. My parents refused my siblings and me to interact with my fellow kids in the village, so I had no freedom."

Lavender continued: "Since I have acquired knowledge [in] today's training, I will have to teach my fellow students, friends, and parents at home on how to make soap and also how to construct a leaky tin using used vegetable [oil] containers for them to be washing their hands. This is one way of curbing the spread of the disease."

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!

October, 2021: Matete Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Matete 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: Re-energized for learning!

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Matete 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!

In the past, the students of Matete Primary School had to get up very early to collect water from the local spring before school each morning. Not only were they tired from getting up early, but hauling heavy containers of water to school each day left them without enough energy to focus in class properly. Then, later, they would need to fetch water again since there was never enough.

"[The] lack of water in our school has been a great challenge to my academics. I used to get so tired carrying a jerrycan full of water to school, both in the morning and afternoon," said 13-year-old Mitchell N.

But since we helped install a well on the school grounds last year, things have improved for students, and their school environment is more conducive to learning.

"We now have a lot of water in school. The tiring act of carrying water to school daily is over," said Mitchell.

"Nowadays, I arrive [to] school early enough and re-energized to go through the day's lesson. I am planning to be arriving [at] school early enough and create more time to cover as much content as possible. This will, in turn, assist me to improve on my academics," concluded Mitchell.


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 Matete 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 Matete 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.


Project Sponsor - Milliman IntelliScript