Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 950 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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A beneficiary of a spring we protected in May 2021 alerted us to the water crisis going on at Mugai Primary School. When we learned of the situation beleaguering the school's 950 students, we knew we had to help.

The well on school grounds has been broken for longer than any of the students or staff can remember. Instead, they have to go next door to the secondary school's standpipe for water. But this isn't as simple as it sounds.

A barbed-wire fence separates the two campuses. But because the fence cannot be taken down for security reasons, students must pass through a gap in the fence instead. The barbs catch on their clothes, hair, and skin.

Then, once they've surpassed this challenge, they are often met with animosity and bullying from the secondary school's students and staff, who would prefer the primary students go elsewhere for water, because there is never enough for both schools.

"Many times, I have to [go] to the secondary section and beg for water before the pupils can be allowed to fetch," said 55-year-old teacher, Kennedy Wekulo. "It's a repetitive thing. The humbling and begging irritates me."

"The intimidation from the high school students at the water point is what irritates me most," said 10-year-old student Francis K. "Missing classes is also another issue, all because I have to fetch water when called upon."

When primary school students come back without any water, they are often punished. It's no wonder that absenteeism is high when the students are being bullied and punished for something out of their control.

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: Mugai Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Mugai 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.

"Having reliable, safe, and sufficient water in the school will majorly impact my academic life. I will have enough time to study because initially, during morning hours, breaks time, lunch hours, and at times when lessons are on, we would be asked to go fetch water," said 11-year-old Basil. "We are now safe to stay in school all the school days of the school calendar and have our studies."

Basil enjoying water.

Basil continued: "I have wished all along to go to a national school and perform well in my national examinations. This would only be achieved if I perform well in my academics at this primary level. From now henceforth, this dream will be valid because I will not waste time. Learning that every drop of water counts, I will use it appropriately to ensure my time is not wasted."

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

"Reliable, safe, clean water will make our life easy and very bearable at school. No more struggle for our pupils to sneak through the fence as they go to queue at the secondary section in search of water. The academic targets and goals set as a school will be accomplished since we have time for remedial lessons, and also no more absenteeism will be experienced," said 56-year-old sanitation teacher Kennedy Wekulo.

Mr. Wekulo at the new 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.

Founder & President Peter Chasse and the board of The Water Project were visiting Kenya during the well's construction, so they were excited to join the groundbreaking ceremony.

Peter Chasse begins the drilling.

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 5 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.

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. 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 Jemmimah, Victor, and Mildred deployed to the site to lead the event. 24 students and teachers and one parent attended the training, which we held under some shade trees on the school playground.

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.

Soapmaking 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.

The dental hygiene session was memorable. It was discovered that most of the participants do not brush their teeth every day. Participants said they mostly only brush their teeth on Mondays and Fridays because those are the days they attend the school parade (assembly). It was also noted that many do not brush their teeth because they lack toothpaste. The trainers emphasized that participants can use locally available materials like salt and a chewing stick.  Going forward, participants should be able to maintain their oral hygiene more easily with their newfound knowledge.

Practicing dental hygiene during the training.

"The training was so valuable in that it will give us an easy time in ensuring the health club is vibrant and working. We have been suffering due to the lack of enough water in the school. With our water [now] on the school ground and knowledge about how to maintain it, we are assured of quality water and long-term sustainability," said Kennedy Wekulo (quoted earlier).


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: Mugai Primary School New Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mugai 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 can really celebrate and enjoy the joyful moments. . ."

November, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mugai 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!

Cyprian B., 14, recalled what life was like at the Mugai Primary School before his school's well was installed last year.

"As a pupil from this school, each and every day, I used to collect water from home and carry it to the school. This was so difficult as, at some point, I could get tired and also be absent from school. The [water] source which was around the school could get dry, making it so difficult to do manual cleaning on a daily basis," said Cyprian.

Collecting water is now much easier for Cyprian and the other students at Mugai Primary School.

"I can really celebrate and enjoy the joyful moments which I have now. I have really seen tremendous success brought by the new water source: cleaning done on time and clean, safe water for drinking. No missing morning lessons or being late to school," continued Cyprian.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Cyprian, allowing him to celebrate access to safe water each day. He and the other students can prioritize their educations and strive for a brighter future.

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 Mugai 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 Mugai 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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