Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 954 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/14/2024

Project Features

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St Paul's Ebusia Secondary School is located along the Malaa-Isongo road in Mumias East. At the back of the school, there are households and farmland, and on the left is the Lusumu River. The secondary school neighbors a polytechnic school and a church. It was established in 1887 on a Harambee basis, the Kenyan tradition of community self-help events where people come together to accomplish something for the greater good of the group. The school's original objective was to enable young girls and boys from humble backgrounds to access secondary education. The dream was achieved 10 years later when the school got registered with the government in 1998.

Madam Josephine Khadiagala was the first principal and that same year the school became a Catholic school. Students' performance at the school in Kenya's national examinations have slowly improved over the years, but they are being held back by how much time they waste searching for water to cover their needs throughout the school day.

There are more than 650 students and teachers at St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary, including a boarding section of about 155 students. With water needs ranging from drinking, cleaning, handwashing, showering, and laundry, the school faces a high daily demand for water yet falls short of meeting their needs.

The main source of water on campus is a hand-dug well that dries up during the dry season each year and is easily contaminated. The water often gives off a foul odor and is colored - indications the water is not safe for human consumption. The school has experienced outbreaks of Cholera, which it attributes to the contaminated well water.

The only other source of water at school is a small plastic rain tank that quickly dries up after each rain due to the high rate of use. To complement these sources, the school also requires students to walk to a spring off-campus throughout the day to fetch more water to bring back to campus, causing them to miss class.

"During lunchtime, there is no water to wash your plates or to drink water. Because of the contaminated water in the hand-dug well, this forces us to go out of the school to fetch water, hence, it wastes our time," explained student Jacinta.

"The well is inconsistent in that the water is not available all the time. Also, during the scrambling for water, the students contaminate the water, which the teachers also drink. This causes a hazard," said teacher Dominic Wamalwa, referring to the way students have to lower a bucket on a rope into the well to pull up the water. Each dip of the bucket carries germs and dirt from aboveground, and students' hands, back down into the already-contaminated water.

Nearby community members here also face challenges accessing sufficient clean water. The school has made an agreement with the homes around the school, totaling some 300 community members, that they will also be allowed to fetch water from the planned borehole well following a mutually agreed-upon schedule so that the adults do not disrupt the students' school day or water needs.

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 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, 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

December, 2021: St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary 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.

Student Jacinta M., 17, said, "[The water] is clean to drink, hence reducing waterborne diseases. It also helps the boarders to save time since they will have enough time to bathe."

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

Teacher Dominic Wamalwa, 37, said, "The project has helped us to get clean and reliable drinking water. It helped us to achieve our goals. It will reduce waterborne diseases. It will also boost community relations since the community will be drinking [from the well]. It will help the students to have enough time to study since they were walking long distances [for water]."

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 100 meters with a final static water level of 9 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.

Making the new well sparkling clean!

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 priest who dedicated the new well pumping water.

The staff and students of the school, accompanied by the school choir held a wonderful celebration. Invited guests included the local priest, the school board, the community administrator, and a community elder. There was a short service and afterward, the priest prayed and dedicated the water point.

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 Joyce, Adelaide, and Elvine deployed to the site to lead the event. 16 teachers attended the training, 8 men and 8 women. The training was held in the lab located near the form 3 block.

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.

A favorite session was soap making. The participants said that they had never ever seen how liquid soap is made because they've only seen soap bought by the school or at their homes. They were very happy with the new knowledge of how to make soap and promised they will make enough soap so that they carry some to their homes.

Joel A., 17, commented on the training, "It was valuable to me since we have been equipped with the knowledge on how to make use of the CTC club through awareness about the importance of hygiene, environmental health care, and COVID-19 awareness."

Elizabeth O., 18, said, "[The training] was valuable to me since I have been equipped with the knowledge and I can educate the others on the dangers of COVID-19."

We asked Elizabeth 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.

Elizabeth (front center) at the well.

"I missed my fellow students and the teachers. I also missed most of my studies because I didn't have a conducive environment to study. I am grateful because now I have more time to study and finish my secondary education."

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!

November, 2021: St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary 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: "You can access the water any time of the day or night"

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Paul’s Ebusia Secondary School Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Linet. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary 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 a well was installed at St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary School last year, students spent much of their time and energy finding and collecting water because their school did not have a reliable water source on campus.

"It was hard because we had to carry water from home, which was not enough," said 18-year-old Linet S.

"It was hard because the hand-dug well use to dry. We told students to come with water from home," said 33-year-old teacher Gabriel Wanguche.

But things changed for the school once the well was installed.

"Basically, in terms of health, we are drinking clean water. We have developed our school by building classrooms. Also, we have a good relationship with the community," said Gabriel.

Linet notes that she can now practice better time management because of her steady access to water.

"Even for the boarders, you can access the water any time of the day or night," said Linet.

Not only does she have more time and energy for learning, but she can also now practice feminine hygiene without fear of having insufficient water.

Linet splashing.

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 St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary 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 St. Paul's Ebusia Secondary 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.


CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.