Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 962 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/01/2024

Project Features

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There is no on-campus water source for the 942 students and 20 teachers and staff at Khaimba Primary School. In the face of their severe water crisis, the school requires students to carry water from home to school every morning. But the students are also carrying their books, and the water is an added burden on their walk. As a result, the school struggles to provide a clean environment for its pupils.

Without a central storage container on campus, students are sent back out during lunchtime and sometimes during classes to fetch water again when their morning water runs out. To do so, students typically either return home or go to a spring in the community. But there are increasing conflicts between the school and the community members who use the spring, with farmers accusing the students of snacking on their sugarcane along the path to the spring. At the time of our last visit, the community had placed an indefinite ban on the school children using the spring.

The next-door secondary school has also banned the primary school from using their well, saying that the primary school students overrun the secondary students in their need for water.

With so many students, teachers are not able to track exactly where each pupil collects their water. Some students opt for sources they know are unsafe just because they are on the walk to school, helping to ease their morning walk and help them get to school on time. Because students' water is combined for use at school, even one contaminated source can mean the entire school is at risk of water-related illnesses. Stomachaches, amoeba, and fatigue are the most commonly reported conditions among students.

"When I come to school, I cannot use the water from school. I don't trust it, so I carry my own. Sometimes, when we need water for practical lessons, we cannot use water. School meals are also delayed due to the search for water," explained teacher Dorcas Wanyama.

Absenteeism is a major problem at Khaimba, caused both by students' fear of showing up at school without water and from their contraction of water-related illnesses. Sometimes students will not return to class when they are sent out to fetch more water during the day, too tired and downtrodden from the routine.

"It's heavy to carry, and I waste time every morning. When the water is finished, we have to go back home for more water," said student Nesbit.

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 season.

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 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 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 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 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

October, 2021: Khaimba Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that Khaimba 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.

"I will [have] more time to study since I will not go home to bring water," said Dickson K., age 12.

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

"I feel so happy and appreciate you for giving us this project. I used to carry water from home since I feared the water that the students brought from home. We now have water for cooking and cleaning very easily," said teacher Dorcas Wanyama, age 41.

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 80 meters with a final static water level of 13.5 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.

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.

The handing over celebration was attended by representatives from the Mumias East Water Office, community administrators, and the school's Board of Management. They were really grateful and have promised to ensure that they take good care of the project. Both the school and the community have agreed to work together for the common good of water for all.

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 Jacky Chelaget, Emmah Nambuye, Protus Ekesa, and Joyce Naliaka deployed to the site to lead the two training events.

First, the student and teacher training was conducted in a classroom. Next, the village health volunteers, self-help group members, and community-based leaders attended training at the borehole for them to understand the importance of safeguarding the project. Twenty-eight people were trained through the two events.

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 topic of water point management made for great discussion amongst the community participants. There were questions about why the use of the waterpoint is restricted during school hours. The community members had issues with the school administration because they were locking the pump and asking the community not to fetch water [during school hours]. After agreeing that it is an institution and must adhere to discipline, the water user committee was formed with the school headteacher as the secretary so that the school and community can both take good care of the project.

"I have learned so much. I will ensure that I drink water as many times since it is important to my health," said Kelvin W.

"The virus [COVID-19] is real and not a myth and if I am not careful I will get it. I will share the knowledge with my friends and family," said Valery M.

We asked Valery 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.

"I really felt bad because I love school very much. I missed writing and playing with my friends. I also missed my teachers. I am very happy to be back and I am looking forward to moving to grade 4."

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!

July, 2021: Khaimba Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Khaimba 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: Better health and time to learn!

October, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Khaimba 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!

A year ago, life at Khaimba Primary School was challenging since students were constantly out of class, wandering the community in search of water. Not only that, but everyone suffered from water-related diseases from drinking the questionable water they worked so hard to find.

When we asked 13-year-old student Dockson K. what it was like for him before the well was installed at the school last year, he said he often suffered from sickness because of the dirty water he collected.

But since Dockson now collects water from the school borehole, things are different for him and his classmates.

"It has helped me have good health because the water point is clean," said Dockson.

"[I have] good results in school since I don't go out to fetch water during school time," concluded Dockson.

And with more time to focus on learning, who knows how bright the future will be for Dockson!

Dockson 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 Khaimba 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 Khaimba 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.