Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 729 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/10/2024

Project Features

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Shirulo Primary School's 729 students and staff do not have a reliable, safe water source available at their school. Every day, they face the challenge of finding enough water to meet their current needs.

Pupils wake up very early and go to a nearby spring to fetch water on their way to school. They aim to get to the spring before community members, so they don't have to waste time waiting in line due to overcrowding. But the collection of water first thing in the morning is not enough due to the large school population, and by midday, teachers will appoint more pupils to leave class and go back to the spring again to fetch water. Of course, this means students are missing valuable learning time and using their energy to collect and carry water, leaving them tired and unable to concentrate in the afternoon.

Nancy J., a 15-year-old student at Shirulo, shared, "Water is life! Without water in our school, we do not have peace. Also, our performance academically is not good."

Although the spring is protected, it is not in good condition, and the area around the spring is dirty as not correctly maintained. The discharge of water is low and not enough to meet the needs of both the community and the school. Students collect water in often-dirty containers, then transfer the water collected into barrels (shown below), leading to cross-contamination.

Oliver Gadi, the Deputy Head Teacher at the school, shared his concern about students missing school because of water-related illnesses resulting from contaminated water. "We use a lot of money on medication instead of development. Our children are more often than not sick, absent from school, which makes them perform poorly in their academic work."

The school has a 3000-liter rainwater tank, but again it is not enough to serve the school as it runs out quickly, and when it does not rain, they have no water.

The proposed project will be a reliable, safe water source for the school. Having sufficient water readily available on the school property will mean pupils can concentrate on their studies and save their energy for learning.

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

August, 2022: Shirulo Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Shirulo 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.

"Easy access to clean and safe water will enable me to improve my academic performance since I will be capable of spending a lot of time in studies instead of going to collect water from the rivers before I attend classes," said 15-year-old Hillary K.


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

"Clean water will improve my health since the water I will get from this water point has no germs. It will make my body strong since I expect no disease from this water," said 38-year-old teacher Naomi Judith.

Naomi Judith.

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, 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 75 meters with a final static water level of 70 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.

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.

The village elder, the assistant village chief, parents, teachers, and pupils all celebrated the new well.  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

Girls outside their 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

Boys at the handwashing station.

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 Mary Afandi, Godfrey Okinyi, and Rose Amulavu deployed to the site to lead the event. 23 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under a tree in the school's courtyard.

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.

Soap-making session.

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.

A student practicing proper dental hygiene.

Dental care was a favorite topic of the day. Most of the pupils participated in the demonstration of how to properly brush their teeth. The facilitator asked them when they brush their teeth, and the majority of students answered that they brush their teeth before their morning tea. Pupils were encouraged to continue brushing and were excited to receive the gift of a new toothbrush at the end of the session.

Mr. Lubanga.

"[The training] boosted my sanitation level as an individual. I learned the basics of the proper maintenance and treatment of water [that] I should always observe in our school," said Maurice Lubanga, the school's 60-year-old head teacher.


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!

May, 2022: Shirulo Primary School Borehole Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Shirulo 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 Access Makes the Future Brighter!

October, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shirulo 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!

Phinias K., 15, recalled what life was like at Shirulo Primary School before his school's well was installed last year.

"We used to fetch water during lunchtime, in the morning, or during game time. We wasted time crowding at [the] spring. It interfered with our afternoon classes," said Phinias.

But life is much less burdensome for Phinias and the other students at Shirulo now.

"Time management has been enhanced, [and] our hygiene and sanitation has improved due to [the] frequency of washing our classes," said Phinias.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Phinias, allowing him time to be in class and for the school to make improvements.

"We have vegetables in the school courtesy of water in the school that we use for watering. This water [also] helps our parents who come to fetch from here because this water point is closer to some homes than the spring [which] is far," concluded Phinias.

Students water the school garden with water from the 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 Shirulo 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 Shirulo 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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