Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,248 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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Ingavira Primary School's hand-dug well only supplies the school's 1,248 students with water during the wet season. For half of the year, students must bring their own water from home—often from unsafe sources—and go out to fetch it during the school day.

Even when the school's well does have water, it is not safe to use for drinking or cooking, only for cleaning. The school used to pay for water from a closeby standpipe, but they no longer have the funds to do so and it was disconnected. The burden of finding water falls on the students. They must wake up very early in the morning to go and look for water to bring with them to school. However, the water they bring is never enough.

"The situation of water in this school has really affected us. We waste a lot of time looking for water instead of learning. This has greatly contributed to our poor performance in academics," said Boniface, a 14-year-old student.

"Pupils consume a lot of time going to look for water rather than being in class," said Margaret Nambivi, Deputy Head Teacher.

Because students fetch water from wherever they can find it, waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, and stomachache are common. Not only has this led to a high rate of absenteeism for students, but it affects students' long-term health. Most pupils' families cannot afford proper medication due to the high levels of poverty in the community.

Fetching water during the day is not only perilous to the students' health, but it can also be dangerous. The school is in a very busy area, as it is right across the street from the Western Kenya Sugarcane Factory. Motorists, trucks, tractors, and cab drivers zoom past the school each day, not always being mindful of children carrying heavy jerrycans back and forth.

"The school is just at the road where the tractors and motorcycles pass," Margaret Nambivi explained. This has caused accidents and contributes to high absenteeism since students hate crossing the busy road.

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 will help unlock the opportunity for these students to live better healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

There is currently nowhere for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or eating lunch, let alone the water.

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 that are 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 and 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: Ingavira Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Ingavira 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.

Kevin at the new well.

Student Kevin K. explained how this new well will affect his life. "I will be able to concentrate on my studies, which in turn I'm certain will improve my academic performance, because I will be no longer wasting my time going to fetch water. I plan to also raise my hygiene and sanitation standards."

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

Faith at the new borehole.

"It will impact the professional aspect of my life in a great way," said teacher Faith Wafula. "I will be able to teach my students while they're still fresh in the morning, when concentration is good. We therefore expect to have an easy time as teachers. We expect the number of water-related illnesses experienced before as a result of consuming unsafe water to reduce gradually. We also expect improved academic performance from our students because they no longer come to school tired and have all the time to concentrate on their academics."

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.

Curious students watch the well's progress.

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 five 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.

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 Mary Afandi and Elvis Afuya deployed to the site to lead the event. 29 students and teachers attended the training, which we held on the school grounds under some shady trees.

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.

"The training has been very valuable," said Shirleen, the health club's secretary. "I have learned a lot in the areas of hygiene and sanitation. Going forward, I'll be brushing my teeth in the correct manner. I will also be washing my hands correctly and frequently. I'll also strive to make our own soap back at home."

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 students' favorite topic was soap-making, which they found very engaging. Students volunteered to help add the ingredients and mix them.

"[The training] reminded me of various aspects about COVID-19 like the safety precautions, which I now have to adhere to so that I can keep myself safe," Shirleen said. "After the training, I also will be able to convince my family so that we can go and get vaccinated."

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: Ingavira Primary School Borehole Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ingavira 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: Sufficient time to learn!

May, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ingavira 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 well at Ingavira Primary School last year, students spent much of their day off the school campus searching for the water they needed to meet their daily needs.

"Before the completion of the project, we were carrying water from home, and during [the] daytime when there was not enough water, we [would] go out to look for water, which interfered with my lessons," said 13-year-old Scolastica L.

But since the well was installed, students now have easy access to water whenever it is needed.

"[I] am happy because I no longer carry water from home and also [do not] go out to look for water during [my] learning time," Scolastica said.

With the time saved, since students no longer have to worry about collecting water, they have gained precious time that can be used to concentrate on learning instead.

"The protected [water] has saved my study time. I now have sufficient time to learn, and I have improved on my academic performance," concluded Scolastica.


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 Ingavira 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 Ingavira 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 - H2O for Life
ChangeBox Foundation
19 individual donor(s)