Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,098 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/02/2024

Project Features

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With 1077 students to provide for, Bumwende Primary School’s two rain tanks and seasonal hand-dug well do not provide nearly enough water. 

The rain tanks are only effective during the rainy season: during the dry season, their water disappears quickly. The hand-dug well is seasonal as well. Sometimes students go to fetch water from the well only to find that there is no water to draw. 

"When it dries up, we lack drinking water. Also, there is hostility among the pupils because of the large lines waiting to collect water," said student, Phelisters A.

The delays affect students' class time, academic performance, and meals at the school.

"I have to carry my own drinking water in my bag from home daily," said Head Teacher Robert Indakwa.

The surrounding community members also depend on the same seasonal hand-dug well, which forces the school management to lock it up when school is not in session. This has led to tension between the school and the community.

The hand-dug well is also dangerous for smaller students to use. If they lose their balance while fetching water, they could easily fall in the well’s open top. Sometimes, students forget to close up the well when they’re done drawing up their containers, and they subsequently get sick from drinking the contaminated water. This leads to waterborne diseases like diarrhea and cholera.

The lack of water also creates unsanitary conditions in the students’ latrines. The school doesn’t have enough water to use for cleaning. Also, because Bumwende doesn’t have enough latrines per student, each latrine is overused, exacerbating the problem.

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 working. 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

January, 2022: Bumwende Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Bumwende 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.

Phelisters pumping water with a smile!

Phelisters A., a 13-year-old female student, shared her excitement regarding the new water point. "I will have enough time in class, unlike before when I was taking much time to go fetch water. I will work hard and perform well in class."

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

Head Teacher Robert Indakwa, 56, said, "I will not be infected with water-related diseases such as typhoid. Thus staying healthy will lead to an improvement in my service delivery to learners."

Head Teacher Robert Indakwa pumping clean 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 80 meters with a final static water level of 8.5 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 as church leaders, teachers, board members, parents, and pupils celebrated at the water point with singing and dancing.

Students celebrate clean water!

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 Emmah Nambuye, Elvine Atsieno, Joyce Naliaka, and Adelaide Nasimiyu deployed to the site to lead the event. 15 students and teachers attended the training, which we held.

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.

Learning about water pollution was an eye-opener for the students at Bumwende. They said they had been unintentionally polluting water both at school and at home by using dirty containers to fetch drinking water. They added that since they have a borehole at school now and have knowledge about water pollution, they will never pollute water again. They will keep storage containers clean, wash their hands before drinking water, and use clean cups for drinking. They promised to carry the knowledge they gained home and teach their families.

"I have gotten the general knowledge about Water sanitation and hygiene. I will use the knowledge to live a healthy life both at school and back home," said Shaban N., 16.

Valary A., 12, said that the most impactful training topic for her was the section on COVID-19. "This training has taught me how to take care of myself, my fellow pupils and friends at school, and my family at home, especially my grandmother. I will make sure I protect them from contracting this deadly disease."

Valary A.

We asked Valary 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 was negatively impacted because I remained at home [with] no studies. We could not even study as a group at home because there was no gathering. It dragged me back academically."

Now that she is back at school, Valary said, "I feel good because [I] am now able to continue with [my] education. I see my friends and play together during game time and [I] am happy. I thank God for it."

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: Bumwende Primary School Borehole Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Bumwende 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: "I no longer worry about water"

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bumwende 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 this borehole was drilled, we used to carry water from home. Carrying water every day to school, plus books, was a tedious experience. You [would] arrive at school exhausted and sometimes late. This made you not [able] to concentrate in class the rest of the day," said 14-year-old Felisters A., who we spoke to when first visiting the school.

Since students could not carry enough water to meet their needs, Felisters and her classmates would then be sent out to collect more during their class time, missing valuable learning. But now, the situation has changed.

"I no longer worry about water," said Felisters. "[I] now carry only books [to] school. I arrive in school early, energized [and] ready to learn."

"This water point has enabled me [to] achieve my target grade last term. The time that we used to be sent out to search for water, we now use that time to study. I have improved greatly in my studies because of the availability of water in the school compound. Next week I will be sitting for my final exams in primary school. With the hard work I have put in my studies, I believe [I] am going to pass and enroll into the high [school] of my dreams," concluded Felisters.

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 Bumwende 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 Bumwende 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
58 individual donor(s)