Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 496 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/14/2024

Project Features

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Founded in 1972, St. Teresia Primary School was founded with hopes that students would not need to walk to faraway neighboring communities for schooling. Students in this community now have a nearby school, but still walk long distances. Now, they walk in search of water.

The school has a shallow well with a pump on its campus (shown below), but it failed long ago. Since the pump breakdown, no one has known how to repair it, and the financial challenges for reinstating it have left the water point unattended.

Of course, the school still needs water for drinking, sanitation, and hygiene, so students bring water from home each morning. They arrive early, by 6:30, pour their carried water into the kitchen containers, and some in the handwashing stations. Then they must go outside the school compound in search of more water.

Their first option is a community hand-dug well. Students wait in long lines to collect water, missing valuable class time. But if a community member is not at the well when they arrive, the water point is locked, and students must move on to the next option: an open source where community members often take their cattle to drink that is also quite far away.

According to the 42-year-old senior teacher, Jafred Mmasi (pictured below), water-related diseases are rampant in the school, especially during the rainy season. Drinking from so many unprotected, contaminated sources leaves students ill, needing medical treatment, and missing school.

He also noted, "Extra time created for morning prep gets wasted looking for water and queuing for water at the shallow well. Besides that, fetching water is very involved as you must monitor students so as to do their things as expected."

The lack of water also means that it can only be used sparingly, which means that classrooms and latrines often go uncleaned, which is damaging to both health and morale.

"The environment for learning sometimes is not favorable because cleanliness is not done on [a] regular basis," explained Sharlyne M. (in the photo above), 14. "Besides that, to access the pit latrines is another big challenge because they are full of bad smells that may choke one, as it [is] hard to breathe well while using those facilities. Also, we don't have sufficient water because we lack a water storage facility."

Currently, students waste time and energy, and their academic potential is limited, but the proposed well intervention will solve their water challenges. Students and staff will have a safe, reliable water source, and they can stop walking long distances and fighting illnesses to focus on learning instead. With easily accessible water to clean their grounds and some new latrines, these students will be well-equipped for bright futures.

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.

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

We will construct two triple-door latrine blocks using 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 borehole 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 borehole, 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.

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.

Project Updates

July, 2022: St. Teresia Primary School Borehole Complete!

We are excited to share that St. Teresia Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new, safe, clean water source 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 also installed new latrines and handwashing stations and trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

13-year-old student Susan K. has multiple reasons to be thankful for the school's new source of water. She said: "The accessibility of water will help me a lot because I will no longer use a lot of effort carrying water and books, which used to be very heavy and tiresome. Additionally, I will no longer be prone to waterborne diseases because I am accessing clean, safe water."

Susan waves, holding a full glass of water from the borehole.

Without these worries on her mind, Susan is looking toward her future. "My plan is to improve in academic performance," she said. "This is because there is no more wastage of time carrying water in school."

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

Deputy headteacher Jafred Mmasi shared his own reasons for being grateful. "The reliability of water in the school compound is a precious gift in my life because I will no longer be prone to diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea which are caused by drinking contaminated water from different sources. This will impact me positively because I will be accessing safe clean drinking water all the time."

With this new tool at hand, Jafred sees an opportunity for big changes at St. Teresia Primary. "My goal is to improve hygiene and sanitation practices in the school by ensuring the latrines and classrooms are cleaned."

Jafred also has plans to improve the school's landscape by planting trees, which will support a peaceful and conducive learning environment and encourage rain in the surrounding ecosystem.

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 from the government to begin drilling.

To prepare, the school collected fine sand and water for cement-making. When everything was ready, and the students went home from class for the weekend (drilling is very loud!), our drill team and staff arrived at the school to begin work.

Drilling commenced with excitement in the air. The team drove down a temporary casing to keep the walls from collapsing as the rig progressed. We continued drilling to reach a final depth of 80 meters with a final static water level of seven meters.

The drilling process can take up to three consecutive days to complete due to this region’s hard bedrock, so the drill team set up a camp where they could rest and refuel. The school’s kitchen staff and 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.

Once we reached the required depth, the team replaced the temporary casing with a permanent version, then bailed out the dirty water at the bottom of the well. The workers installed pipes, flushed them, tested the well’s yield, and chlorinated the water.

Pump testing.

After water treatment, we constructed a cement well pad to seal off the well from any ground-level contaminants. Tiles are installed beneath the spout to protect the cement from the erosive force of the water.

We also included a short drainage channel to carry spilled water away from the pump and prevent standing water. A soak pit absorbs runoff at the end of the drainage channel, further eliminating any stagnant water.

When the well pad was dry, we installed a new stainless steel AfriDev handpump and sampled the water for a quality test. The results showed this water was safe for drinking!

The school's 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 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 to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a well right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Handwashing Stations

We set up two handwashing stations outside of the girls’ and boys’ latrines and handed them over to the newly formed student health club. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, fill the stations with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent 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 Nelly, Olivia, and Jonathan deployed to the site to lead the event. 27 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under a huge tree on school grounds.

Our training covered several topics, including personal hygiene, oral hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, environmental hygiene, child rights, leadership, and operation and maintenance of the well and pump, latrines, and handwashing stations.

Students elected their peers to lead their student health club during the leadership session. Members will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community. The students really enjoyed the session on leadership and the chance to pick their own peers for the club.

Everyone's favorite topic was soap-making, which the students found both interesting and informative. A few of the older students even said they would like to make soap to sell at their local market.

"The training was so valuable to me because I have acquired important knowledge of soap-making process," said our friend Susan (13). "This will help me personally to improve in hygiene and sanitation practices such as handwashing, cleaning latrines and classrooms in the school. At home, [I] will also adhere to proper hygiene practices and teach my family the importance of hygiene."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2022: St. Teresia Primary School Borehole Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Teresia Primary School drains students’ and staff's 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: More Time to Learn!

July, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Teresia’s Primary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Jason. 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. Teresia Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Teresia 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!

Jason S., 14, recalled what life was like at St. Teresia's Primary School before his school's well was installed last year.

"Before the water point was installed, to get water was so tiresome and hectic. My home is located two kilometers (1.25 miles) away from the school [and] it was so tiresome for me to carry water and books from home," Jason said.

But life is much better for Jason and the other students at St. Teresia's now.

"[A] reliable water source in the school compound has impacted my life positively. Firstly, time wasted has now been recovered because we are no longer going outside the school compound looking for water, which has helped me to improve [my] academic performance," said Jason.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Jason, allowing him more time for learning.

"My plans or goals were to ensure that I improved my academic performance, which has now come through because the time wasted has been recovered," concluded Jason.

Thank you for helping Jason access clean water and regain his time so he can focus on a brighter future.

Right now, there are others just like him in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can't wait to introduce you to the next person you'll help.

Jason collecting water.

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. Teresia 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 St. Teresia 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.