Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 859 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/05/2024

Project Features

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Mahola Primary School was established on land donated by community members in 1983. It's located next to the main road and surrounded by homesteads, sugarcane and maize plantations, and a small public market. Mahola is quite well known for producing the best livestock and dairy products in the county.

For the last couple of years, the school has been producing champions in football (soccer) and volleyball. Three female students received high school scholarships through volleyball, and two male students now play for the national Kenyan football team.

The main source of water on campus is a hand-dug well that is connected to an electric pump. It pumps water into a water tank but goes dry quickly because students and community members immediately drain it. Once the hand-dug well goes dry, the electric pump risks burning out, and everyone has to wait for the water to refill. During the dry season, the hand-dug well at the school does not refill, so students bring water from home every morning. During the rainy season, the hand-dug well is at risk of contamination due to rainwater flowing into the well. Water has to be boiled using lots of firewood.

The alternative water source is a spring located in the middle of a sugarcane plantation a long distance from the school. Students have to go in groups for safety.

"When our tap goes dry, I have to go to the spring that is a very good distance from my school, and I usually come back tired and all sweaty. You cannot be comfortable in class since your dirty," said Fathila, a nine-year-old female student.

"My students are really struggling with water. We have a water source but with very limited water. To be honest, I cannot deny community members access to water because some were students here and have families and their kids come to this school too. Denying them water is not an option. Being a Christian, I just have to share the little the Lord has blessed us with," said John Wasonga, a teacher.

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

November, 2021: Mahola Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Mahola 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.

"No more carrying water from home!" said nine-year-old Fathila W. "Sometimes my water jerrycan gets lost, misplaced or [forgotten] in school when playing. I [would] start crying, because my mum [was] going to be annoyed with me. Now I don't have to go through that anymore."

Fathila at the new well.

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

"Before, we had an electric pump that was never efficient," said Head Teacher John Wasonga. "Sometimes the electricity bill would be high. Sometimes our funds would delay and I would have to chip inside my own pocket and pay. With the new waterpoint, I already feel a heavy burden has been lifted. It will save the school some good amount of money and also my own money. Thank you."

John Wasonga at the new well.

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.

A local reverend came and said a prayer before drilling began, with some parents and community members in attendance.

Reverend praying before drilling begins.

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 20 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.

The children were very curious!

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.

Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. The same reverend who anointed the beginning of the construction process returned to mark the occasion. 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

Boys goofing around at their new latrine.

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.

"We have always been taught that washing hands will help me keep safe from COVID-19," said Fathila. "Now there is water. I can keep washing my hands always."

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. We were surprised to find out that the school already had a student health club, so the Head Teacher suggested we train those students, who could then share the lessons learned with their fellow students.

When the training day arrived, facilitators Adelaide Nasimiyu, David Muthama, Joyce Naliaka, Emma Nambuye, and Julius Mwerema deployed to the site to lead the event. 18 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in a spacious classroom.

We found the students very excited and eager to learn, with plenty of participation, questions, and discussion. 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.

The health 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 have had a Health and Sanitation Club for [a] long [time]," said Eugene O., 13. "Yes we have been meeting from time to time, but it was just meetings. Now with the good and helpful information you've given unto us, you have given our Club something to do. We can now go and share this information with our fellow students."

Eugene outside the training classroom.

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.

13-year-old Patricia A shared what she learned. "I now know the proper way to cover up while sneezing. I used to do it the wrong way, and not only me, everyone in my class does not know how to do it. I will help them by sharing this information with them."

Patricia also plans to use some of the knowledge gained during the training to help her family at home. "I have learned how to make soap, and I have some savings I can use to get the necessary materials to make soap for our use at home and place soap next to our leaky tins."

Patricia outside the training classroom.

We asked Patricia 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] am glad the schools are back on," Patricia said. "I don't have to stay at home and do nothing. I [would] usually finish my chores very early, and that [would] mean I have to stay idle for the rest of the day. Here, we are always busy. I really missed getting more knowledge. I love learning something new each and every day. It usually makes me feel nice and sleep well knowing I have achieved something new."

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.

"Personally for me, I love drinking a lot of water. Having so much water around, [I] am going to always stay hydrated," concluded Head Teacher John Wasonga.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

October, 2021: Mahola Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mahola 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: Dreams of becoming a model!

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mahola 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!

Last year, the students at Mahola Primary School often had to bring water to school because the school's hand-dug well was drying up.

"I had to depend on myself for water, and it was very tough. I stay with my grandmother, who is not strong enough to go look for water. I had to do double work [to] get her water, then get mine. Sometimes I could go a day without water because I could not make it to bring some water to school," said nine-year-old Fadhila W.

But now that we installed a well on the school campus last year, water is now easy for Fadhila to access, and her everyday life changed.

"It is very easy, and it feels good. I can say studying has become fun because, with water available, we have all the time to ourselves," said Fadhila.

"I want to become a model someday, and someone once told me drinking a lot of water helps repair our skin. I do drink a lot of water to stay always fresh and hydrated to keep my skin shining," concluded Fadhila.

Keep your eyes peeled for Fadhila on the runways of the world!

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 Mahola 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 Mahola 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.


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