Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 724 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/03/2024

Project Features

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Bunuku Primary School shares its far-away borehole well with a neighboring community, which makes for a long walk and long wait times when students get there.

The well used by the 719 students at Bunuku Primary School was originally constructed in 1990 and rehabilitated by The Water Project in 2015. Thankfully, the students' water is clean - it just takes them quite a while to get it.

When community members visit the well at the same time, students wait for hours to draw water, costing them lesson time and resulting in poor academic performance.

Bunuku students collect water for all of the school's uses: cooking, cleaning, handwashing, and drinking. Before lessons begin, students are expected to fill all of the drinking and handwashing containers on the school grounds.

A lot of water is needed to keep 700 students hydrated, healthy, and hygienic...which means a lot of time is spent trekking back and forth from the school to the well.

"Lack of water within the school compound makes me miss school sometimes," said 12-year-old student, Brian S. "This is because it is tiresome fetching water, and more boring when I miss my favorite lesson (mathematics class)."

It's easy to miss class with a water source so far away, which is why Bunuku Primary School needs its own water source for students to thrive.

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

October, 2022: Bunuku Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Bunuku 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.

"Access to reliable, safe water from this water point will impact me greatly," said 13-year-old Mildred M. "Carrying water every morning to school was something I hated most. Going for water outside the school compound, where a lot of traffic with the community members in one water point was encountered, thus waiting in a queue for so long for your turn, was also something which could not bring joy in any way."

Mildred splashes water at the new pump.

Mildred continued: "But since we have our own water point, [I] am very sure a lot of positive things will come along, like good performance and hygiene practices in the school, and good health because water will be accessed from one known water point where treatment can be done with ease."

"We can now have time to enjoy and play with my friends," Mildred concluded. "Initially, it was very hard to get time for playing because before, when you arrived at the school in the morning or after lessons were over, a lot was expected from us, ranging from going to [get] water outside the school compound to doing cleanliness in times meant for games or relaxing."

Mildred fills her jerrycan with other kids at the well.

Adults were just as excited about the new waterpoint.

"Access to reliable, safe water will impact my life in so many ways," said school chairperson Peter Muya. "One: safe water implies good health, which is of very great importance because you can't do much when you are sick. Two, my kids, who are learners at this school, also will not be prone to waterborne ailments, hence I will not be wasting my resources in seeking medications for them. Generally, we are expecting school performance and hygiene to improve, which is an aim of every leader in any capacity."


"The water point will help us save on time wastage," Peter continued. "When we had no water point within the school compound, our learners and teaching staff were wasting a lot of their time going for water outside the school compound. So teaching staff would have to wait for learners, hence failing to utilize or maximize their lesson times 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 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.

Our staff with school leadership and the drilling team say a prayer before groundbreaking.

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 60 meters with a final static water level of five 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.

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.

Testing the well.

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!

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.

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 Jonathan and Nelly deployed to the site to lead the event. 21 students and teachers attended the training, which we held 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.

Handwashing lesson.

The students, teachers, and parents in attendance all enjoyed the session on soap-making. They were surprised to learn they could make soap using easily attainable local ingredients and without any fancy machinery. Students took turns adding the ingredients and stirring the mixture, and everyone gathered around to see the final product.

Another memorable topic was personal hygiene. When we asked students how often they bathed, some said twice a day, while others said they won't even bathe once a day if they are particularly tired. One boy said he only ever washes the top of his head and legs since they're always the dirtiest, making everyone laugh.

Group photo of the training participants.


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!

August, 2022: Bunuku Primary School Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Bunuku 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: Water provides more opportunities for students!

November, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bunuku 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!

Teacher Agathar Shisanyi, 39, recalled what life was like at Bunuku Primary School before her school's well was installed last year.

"There is a community borehole that we used to access water. Our pupils crowded the well with community members; this could lead to the wastage of a lot of time. When the water point broke down, it was hectic for us because accessing water meant we sent our pupils far away to the spring to bring water," said Agathar.

Collecting water is now much simpler for Agathar's students at Bunuku Primary School.

"This water point has reduced the strain on the well with community members. It has saved us a lot of time in classes," continued Agathar.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference, allowing teachers and students time in class and resources to improve the school's syllabus towards a more hopeful future.

"We have improved our management of time. We feel this project has played a significant role in implementing projects such as agriculture that are implemented under this curriculum," concluded Agathar.

Students collecting water at the school well.

Right now, there are others 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.

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 Bunuku 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 Bunuku 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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