Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 663 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/15/2024

Project Features

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Despite their three water sources on school grounds, the 663 students and staff at Matioli K Salvation Army Primary School never have enough water.

First, the school installed a hand-dug shallow well in 1989 when the school was built. But the well dries out more and more with each passing dry season. So then they got one small rain tank. And another. And yet, children are still sent out to collect water from a nearby stream every day. The well and tanks all run dry.

"We have been learning in dirty classrooms, said 12-year-old Felix M., seen below fetching water from the shallow well.

"We continue with our lessons when there is no water at the tank. It leaves classrooms dusty, hence [they are not] conducive for learning to take place."

As Felix observed, water scarcity means that the school must forego daily cleaning, and our field officers noted that the hygiene and sanitation situation at the school is "very poor."

Though the school has handwashing stations, they are often filled with unsafe water and used without soap. The jerrycan and rope used to bring water up from the bottom of the school's well are taken inside every night, which means the rope acquires a fresh coat of dirt and dust that is then plunged into the students' water supply (when there is water). And there are just 11 latrines for the school's 643 students.

"[The] rope used for pulling water [goes] rotten [after] long use," Felix explained. "Likewise, the sanitation facilities will be full of [a] stinking smell because of lack of water to be used for cleaning them."

And unsanitary conditions are not the only consequence of the school's water crisis.

"Students waste a lot of their precious time going for water rather than concentrating on their academics," said senior teacher, Violet Kwoma (in the photo above at the shallow well).

Violet told us of one recent occasion where she introduced a topic during her class and was surprised to hear the bell ring signifying class time was over. Students had spent so much of the class period off-campus collecting water that she'd hardly gotten to teach, with the teacher scheduled to use the classroom next already waiting at the classroom door. She had to tell her students to stay after normal school hours to teach them anything.

"And failure to utilize time properly will definitely lead to poor academic performance," Violet said. "The time that you want to create for them for learning is interfered with."

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

January, 2023: Matioli K Salvation Army Primary School New Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Matioli K Salvation Army 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.

"I will no longer be a victim of waterborne ailments, and now, I will be studying in clean and conducive classrooms as opposed to before. We used to waste a lot of time going for water outside the school compound, but now, since we are getting water from within, it has enabled us enough time for our studies, as well as enough time for playing with my friends," said 13-year-old Margret T.

Margret at the well.

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

"Since we are having our own water point, we will save on time. The water point will help me cover [the] syllabus on time, and I am very sure of good results come next year, which will be attributed to this water point. This is because students will not be wasting much of their time going for water outside the school compound as it used to be before. Also, [I] am expecting good performance and health as they will be having plenty of time for studies as well as accessing safe, clean water from known water sources," said 44-year-old teacher Moses Wambunya.

Mr. Wambunya.

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 80 meters with a final static water level of 10 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!

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 Jonathan, Olivia, Janet, and Tracy deployed to the site to lead the event. 28 students and teachers attended the training, which we held outside the classrooms under some shade trees.

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 favorite topic of the day was soap-making, which was new to the majority of the participants, who had only come across ready-made liquid soap. Everyone was involved in the process by having a chance to stir the mixture. Toward the end, the facilitator asked participants to reflect on the soap-making process. One participant noted that the soap they had made was much better quality than what they had been purchasing because it was heavier and not made up of so much water.

"Training was of great value to me. I learned some things I haven't been knowing before, like soap making. [And] the ones I have been aware of, like tooth brushing and hygiene topics, I [found I] have been doing contrary to the expectations. [The] knowledge acquired today will help me do things correctly as expected," said Margret, who was 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!

December, 2022: Matioli K Salvation Army Primary School Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Matioli K Salvation Army 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: Hope Rekindled!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Matioli K Salvation Army 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!

Ruth, 14, recalled what life was like in the Matioli K Salvation Army Primary School before her school's well was installed last year.

"It was very hard to pull water from [the] shallow well in school, especially on Fridays, where general cleanliness was to take place. Since the waterpoint could not provide sufficient water to run school chores, we had to go outside the compound to fetch water in a protected spring far from the school. The spring was seasonal, and during [the] dry season, it was so hard to get water. Long queues delayed achieving targets in school. The water itself was not safe for drinking, but since there was no other source, we used to drink [it] and could make some of the students miss schooling because of contracting waterborne diseases [by] consuming unsafe water," said Ruth.

Collecting water is now less strenuous for Ruth and the other Matioli K Salvation Army Primary School students.

"To get water now is very easy, because we have our waterpoint within the school. The waterpoint has helped us get enough time for learning and, more so, learning in a conducive environment as it has made it easy to clean classrooms and sanitation facilities regularly. Besides that, we [have] accessible clean, safe water which doesn't affect us as it used to be before," she shared.

Ruth cleaning the latrines.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Ruth, allowing her to learn in a productive, clean environment. Ruth no longer worries about getting sick from unsafe water but pursues her education and dreams.

"It has helped maintain cleanliness, and currently, [I] am not prone to waterborne diseases. Also, it has helped us get enough time to learn because water is within reach. This rekindles my hope of realizing my dream of becoming [a] high school teacher after my course," Ruth concluded.

Ruth and her teacher at the new well!

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 Matioli K Salvation Army 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 Matioli K Salvation Army 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.


Project Sponsor - H2O for Life
75 individual donor(s)