Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,276 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Daily access to clean, safe drinking water is a high priority for Shihome Primary School in Western Kenya, as they currently have no way to store water for the large student body of 1,251 students and 25 staff.

Students must travel outside their school compound to a community borehole to get water and haul it back. The borehole has an electric pump that pushes water to a single standpipe (faucet). That is a single faucet for over 1,000 students, along with the others in the community that use the well.

The school must pay 3000 Kshs (USD 28) per term to access water that is often restricted. The pump motor for the borehole breaks down, often taking months to be repaired and become functional again.

Teacher Boaz Muchika (shown below at the single standpipe) expressed his concern for students, "As a teacher, I feel so bad when my pupils find it hard to get water, which we all depend on for survival."

He went on to share: "Seeing them queuing and carrying water from home makes me sad because they need to be learning in class and not carrying water from home or queuing for so long at the standpipe. Carrying water from home is not good at all because we don't know the sources of water where the pupils are getting water."

Even if the pump is functional, the long line to collect water from the single pipe means that students are often late for classes or do not collect the needed water and go without for the day.

Robai (seen below carrying water), a young girl who attends the school, commented, "I waste a lot of time queuing at the standpipe, and sometimes I can queue and not get water because the bell will ring before I get water. This forces me to go to class thirsty and tired, too."

When the borehole is not functioning, children must look for alternative water sources or carry water from home. There is a protected spring where students can collect water on their way to school or during their lunch or recess breaks if they have the time and energy. However, the protected spring is quite a distance away from the school, down a steep, narrow path. Fetching water there is a tiring, labor-intensive, and dangerous task, especially when it rains and the way becomes slippery.

Robai described the challenges she faces by collecting water at the nearby spring. "Carrying water from home is not easy too. Going to the spring to fetch water first, then later carrying [the] water to school is a task of its own, and it drains me both mentally and physically."

The school needs a well that will provide enough water to serve the school population so students can have more time in class and more energy.

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

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

April, 2023: Shihome Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Shihome 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 water source 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.

"My life has been changed for the better because I will no longer be carrying water from home," said student Lavender T. "I will be fetching clean water directly from the borehole. My time in class will also change because I will be in class fully now that we have water in school."

Lavender fills a jerrycan at the new well.

"I will no longer be late to school because I used to look for water to carry to school every morning," Lavender continued. "Now that the water is in school, I just have to wake up and prepare to go to school early for [our] morning discussion with our teacher. [I] am sure, with this routine, my grades and those of my classmates will improve."

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

"As a teacher, [I] am happy because I will no longer be worried about my pupils being sick and missing school," said teacher Moses Kiboi. "[I] am sure I will have enough time to interact with my pupils more in class because most of the time they were out of the school looking for water."

Mr. Kiboi at the well.

How We Got the Water Flowing

Parents, staff, and students all contributed to 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, our drill team and staff arrived at the school to begin work.

The school asked a local pastor to say a prayer for the groundbreaking ceremony.

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 70 meters with a final static water level of 38 meters.

Curious students monitor the well's progress.

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.

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.



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!

We officially handed over the new borehole to the school’s students and teachers.

VIP Latrines

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. 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 the 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 Olivia and Victor deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside the school administration building under a shady tree.

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.

Olivia shows students how to brush their teeth properly.

The students at Shihome Primary were particularly interested in learning how to maintain their new well, latrines, and handwashing stations.

"The participants were so happy to learn that the school also gave towards the project," explained field officer Olivia. "They promised to use the borehole, latrines, and the handwashing stations well so that [they will serve] the school and the community well."


"According to the participants, it was a dream come true for them to have their own water point in school," Olivia said. "Carrying water from home to school every day was hectic, and this made some of the pupils miss school. Now that the borehole is in school, the pupils are happy that life in school [will be] good, and they love being in school now. The school had only one hand washing station, and according to the participants receiving [an] additional two will enable the pupils to practice good hand hygiene as expected."

The training participants.

Lavender (quoted earlier) was elected as treasurer of the newly formed student health club, and she takes the role very seriously. "The training was valuable to me because I now value myself, and from today I have learned that general hygiene and sanitation is what defines human health," Lavender said. "So, it is important to ensure that sanitation and hygiene is key in school, back home, and as an individual. It's very important to be clean all the time."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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!

March, 2023: Shihome Primary School New Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Shihome 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

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


7 individual donor(s)