Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 744 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/13/2024

Project Features

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Mali Mali Primary School is located in Kakamega County, Kenya. It was established in 1970 by the Catholic Church as a nursery school. In 1975 it became a government-run primary school.

The area near the school is busy with motorbike taxis and farms of maize, bananas, sweet potatoes, and sugarcane. Indigenous trees surround the school.

Pupils wake up very early to go and look for water to carry to school from different unclean springs that are risky for human consumption. Waterborne diseases, like diarrhea and typhoid, have really affected the students terribly, leading to absenteeism. They also spend a lot of time looking for water rather than being in class which has resulted in poor academic performance at school.

There are 744 people in need of a clean water solution in this area. "The situation of water has really affected us because sometimes we are told to go and look for water during class time. It has affected our academic performance," said Christabel, a 13-year-old female student.

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

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

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

February, 2022: Mali Mali Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Mali Mali 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.

Barrack, center left, and other happy students with teacher Nancy Ndakwa.

Barrack N., 12, said, "Access to clean, reliable water has alleviated our suffering, since we could trek for [a] long [time] in search of water with no avail. This wasted our time to learn. I'm now going to pass my examination, courtesy of and thanks to the donor."

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

Teacher Nancy Ndakwa said, "I will no longer incur hospital bills to treat water-related ailments [as] a result of consuming water unfit for humans."

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, 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 100 meters with a final static water level of 40 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!

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

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 Christine, Wanja, Viscus, and Simidi deployed to the site to lead the event. 21 students and teachers attended the training.

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.

The training was held under some trees outside the school buildings. The fresh air allowed participants to space out and concentrate. It was also a good space for effective demonstration exercises during the training.

Soap-making was a favorite topic for the day since it was new knowledge for participants. The students were very attentive, evidenced by their active participation and questions.

Laureen M., 12.

Laureen commented, "Learning is a continuous process. Every minute, we learn new things. The training has indeed shed more light to me in regards to observing good hygiene standards. For a long time now, I have neglected basic hygiene practices, and this indeed endangers my personal health."

Tyraline A., 12,  pumping water from the new well.

Tyraline, the new student water committee secretary, said, "We have been reminded that COVID-19 is real and that it kills. I have gained the skills on how to make soap. I will also act as an ambassador to train the rest of the children and also my parents at home."

We asked Tyralin what it was like for him 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 really missed socializing with my peers in school. They are of great help to me. I also missed attending lessons, bearing in mind I am a candidate [for final exams]. [Now] I find it restful since for a long period of time we have lacked knowledge and interacting with my fellow pupils. I also feel happy since I'm now certain I will pass my examinations."

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!

January, 2022: Mali Mali Primary School Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mali Mali 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: Water Solved a School-Community Conflict!

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mali Mali 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!

Mali Mali Primary School did not have its own water source last year, so students spent much of their learning time doing the exhausting task of searching for, collecting, and carrying water just to meet their basic needs. It was exhausting and frustrating for them.

"We would cover a long distance in search of water," said 15-year-old Samson A. "We were also quarreling with community members for the same water. They were claiming that [we] were making the water dirty whenever we went to fetch [it]."

But last year, a well was installed right on the school's campus, and since then, things have improved for everyone.

"The water point in our school has helped to solve [a] school-community conflict," said Samson. "Getting water from the school compound has also boosted my safety."

Not only are people getting along better and feeling safer, the students now have sufficient time and energy to focus on learning instead of fighting to collect water.

"[I] am now able to get water easily and faster within the school compound. I am now able to spend a lot of time in class. I will also be able to meet my deadlines in doing homework and other assignments," concluded Samson.

Samson with his teacher, Zipporah Kumani, at the well.

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 Mali Mali 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 Mali Mali 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.


H2O for Life
Project Sponsor - The Virnig Family