Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 244 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Gambaragai ADC Primary School does not have its own water source. The 231 students attending the school must try to find and collect enough water to meet everyone's water needs daily, including the 13 teachers. It is a responsibility that steals from them in many ways.

"As a school, we have suffered a lot on water issues. Our students [drink] the stream water direct without treating [it], which has affected our school performance both academically and [in] school attendance," said 39-year-old teacher Emmanuel Nalobile, shown below, accompanying students to collect water.

Students bring water from home every morning, but that water quickly runs out. When it does, students are sent off campus to a local stream to collect more.

Three times a day (each morning, after lunch, and every afternoon), students leave their school when they should be learning and playing to collect water. Spending so much time off the school campus searching for water leaves students with little time for studies, and understandably, that leads to poor academic performances.

And the trip is not easy, especially for young children.

The road is rocky and uneven, and they must pay special attention as they cross a rickety wooden bridge. Once they reach the stream, they climb down an embankment, kneel beside it and submerge their container to collect murky, dirty water.

After filling their containers, they work hard to carry the heavy, full jugs back up the incline, over the bridge again, and back up the road back to the school.

Sadly, after all their effort, the water collected makes them sick with water-related illnesses, such as diarrhea and typhoid.

"Since I joined this school, there is no single day our class attendance has been almost 100%. Just last term, towards the end, five students of our class were diagnosed with typhoid after consuming the water. Their absence affected the whole class, which led to poor performance," said 10-year-old student Marion Z., shown above carrying water.

“Universal access to safe drinking water is a fundamental need and human right. Securing access for all would go a long way in reducing illness and death, especially among children.” - UNICEF

"When I visited the stream, I was short of words. The water was too dirty, and to my surprise, I got [to see] some students taking (drinking) the water [directly] from the stream. The source is not recommended for consumption, and I would not dare drink that water," our field officer Stella Inganji said.

The school needs a reliable water source on its campus, so students can reserve their time and energy for learning and not suffer from repeated illnesses that steal from their futures.

"If assisted with our own source, [I] am sure it will change a lot of things," concluded Mr. Nalobile.

Water at schools is unique, which is why we need unique solutions.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Handwashing Stations

Alongside each water source, we also provide two new gravity-fed handwashing stations that will allow everyone at the school to wash their hands without running water. Handwashing is so important to help prevent future water-related illnesses in the school community.

The student health club will maintain the stations, fill them with water, and supply them with soap (which we will teach the school community how to make during the training!).

VIP Latrines

In addition, we will construct two triple-door Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine blocks designed to prevent fecal disease transmission. Each latrine will have a cement floor, which is easy to use and clean regularly. Three doors will serve the girls, and three doors will serve the boys.

Project Updates

May, 2024: Gambaragai ADC Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Gambaragai ADC Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new safe water source thanks to the completion of their 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.

"I will drink safe water from our new borehole here at school. At last, I will rest from the burden of carrying water daily from home every day and every morning. My health will greatly improve and I will always be happy with no absenteeism as witnessed previously," shared 12-year-old Consolata.

Consolata (left) at the new well.

"I will comfortably come from home directly straight to class, without worrying about water issues or needing to carry containers because in our school we have enough containers. [I] am going to redeem my time and convert it to learning programs and improve my performance academically," she continued.

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

33-year-old teacher Hilary Kering, was eager to share his joy! "I will not be sick again from consuming dirty water from suspicious sources. I will be able to discharge my duties well as a teacher because [I] am confident and very much alive to the fact that the water I drink is safe and fully sealed from contamination."

Hilary (right, white shirt) celebrating the new well!

"We are planning to do irrigation on our school plot. We intend to plant vegetables of different varieties to enable the students [to] learn more [about] agricultural practices that can earn a living [for] those who engage in it well. Also, now that our educational system has introduced [a] competence-based curriculum, most of our practical work will be done at the farm for easy learning," Hilary continued.

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.

Drilling begins!

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 118 meters with a final static water level of 13 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.

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!

The well is complete!

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

VIP Latrines

Representative photo of 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, Wilson Kipchoge and Jonathan Mutai deployed to the site to lead the event. 29 students and teachers attended the training.

Facilitator Wilson Kipchoge was blown away by the school's and community's interest in the training! "The attendance was beyond our expectation, as more community members came for the training than the school representation. We had requested to have [a] few representations but community members wanted to hear everything directly from us without speculation or exaggeration. This was due to the fact that the borehole at the school will be shared between the school and the community. No member wanted to be left behind as this was also a memorable moment for them to witness the project at the school," he shared.

We focused on personal, menstrual, oral, and environmental hygiene; proper water handling; soap-making and the ten steps of handwashing; the importance of primary health care, the prevention of teen pregnancy and COVID-19; child rights; the operation and maintenance of the pump, well, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

Dental hygiene was a fun lesson!

The student health club 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 topic of discussion was 'project operations and maintenance'. Community members wanted to know their part to play as they candidly urged the school management to kindly allow them to access the water from the waterpoint since this is the first safe water source to be provided in their community in their life history. As a point of discussion, the issue of annual subscription arose sparking [a] sharp reaction from the board of management chairperson and the headteacher, who told the participants that for smooth operations of the borehole, all parties must play a role. To achieve this, one of the community members proposed for rules to be laid down to eliminate any misunderstanding that may arise in [the] future. All the participants agreed to the proposal and a committee was formed to deal with the issue and present it to members for review and recommendations before [it is] officially used as law," facilitator Wilson shared.

12-year-old Valery eagerly shared her experience in the training. "I am interested to learn more [about] hygiene because this is the topic that everyone must study to get knowledge on how to manage local diseases through maintaining high standards of hygiene; like handwashing with soap and use of locally available materials to make leaky tins or tippy tap (handwashing stations). I enjoyed that area. Also, upgrading our environments by simply planting trees, flowers and other crops caught my attention."



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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we’re working toward complete coverage. That means 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!

April, 2024: Gambaragai ADC Primary School New Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Gambaragai ADC Primary School costs students time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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!


Project Sponsor - Heights Church
Selah Covenant Church
Moharimet Elementary School