Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 645 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/12/2024

Project Features

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Three times a day, Silungai Girls Secondary School staff go down to the river to pump water into the school's reservoir tank. But the water is never enough for the 645 students and staff members, even when the river is flowing freely. When the river dries, the school purchases water from a local vendor.

Neither source yields water fit for human consumption, as can be seen from one of the school's drinking water storage containers shown below.

"I wish we just had an alternative source for drinking water," said 17-year-old student Rachael S. (in the photo below fetching water with her friends with the white bucket on her head). "This current source sometimes scares me to the core, but I can't die of thirst, so [I] am forced to drink it. I wish we just had some clean crystal clear water."

The girls must wash their uniforms using the brown river water which, over time, stains the white an off-white color. They bathe and do their laundry while standing in the river water they must later drink, which causes water-related diseases that are expensive to treat.

Our field officers reported that, even with all the struggle for water and girls going down to the river to fetch water when their reservoir runs dry, the school doesn't even get a quarter of the water it really needs.

As if all this struggle weren't enough, teachers also told us that the students take advantage of the chance while off school grounds collecting water from the river.

"My worry comes in when I have to supervise the girls to fetch water when the pump fails or when the season is dry," said 32-year-old teacher Beatrice Temba (in the below photo).

"They are many and they play tricks on you while on the way to the river. Some may end up getting into trouble with the boys out there or even community members, and [this] means trouble for me as a teacher. It translates to my incompetence, yet that is not the case."

With a reliable water source on school grounds, these girls will be able to live free of water-related diseases and use more time 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. 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: Silungai Girls Secondary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Silungai Girls Secondary 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.

"We have [drunk] dirty and contaminated water for so long," said 16-year-old student Jael M. "I can now drink water without the fear of contracting waterborne diseases. For so long, I have been a frustrated girl. I have gone for days without bathing and cleaning my uniforms. Our general school environment was so filthy and dirty, not conducive for my studies. All that is now gone, and behold—a new life has begun."

Jael pumps water at the new well while another girl cups her hands beneath the water.

"I want to take advantage of the time I was spending going to the spring to fetch water," Jael said. "I can now attend my class lessons in a clean environment, and I believe this will create a very conducive environment for learning."

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

"We shall now improve our standards of hygiene [and] convert the time [we once] spent going for water for academics," said 55-year-old teacher Benta Omollo. "Our performance must improve since water is no longer a problem [for] us. 'Success, success, success' will be our school anthem."

Benta fills a glass with water while another teacher pumps.

"Water is life, and this water will indeed inject a lot of life [into] our academic performance," Benta continued. "This year, our performance in the national exams must improve since we are fully sorted on issues of water."

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.

Students and staff gathered to watch the start of 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 110 meters with a final static water level of 75 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. This event was an excellent chance to acknowledge the school administration and students for their assistance and remind them of our continued support as they develop. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

"During [the] project handover, all activities in the school activities were suspended, and everybody was requested to gather at the water point just to witness the success," said our field officer, Jacklyne. "This confirms that water is the only substance that cannot be produced in industries. Water is life, good life [for] our girls at Silungai Girls Secondary 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 Jacklyne and Victor deployed to the site to lead the event. 24 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in the school's outdoor dining hall.

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.

On-site training.

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 girls' favorite topic was personal hygiene, because, as Jael mentioned, it was difficult for students to bathe since there was never enough water.

Jacklyne leads a discussion on dental hygiene.

"Girls informed us that the school was discouraging them from bathing daily for lack of water," field officer Jacklyne said. "Some admitted that they would even go for four days without bathing."

"Someone may not believe [me] if I tell [them] that I have been going for more than three days without bathing for lack of water," said 16-year-old student Faith C. "[I] am waiting for this training to end so that I can go and bathe. Initially, bathing was a luxury, but from today, I will be bathing twice a day."


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: Silungai Girls Secondary School Borehole Well Construction Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Silungai Girls Secondary 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: "It is safe and easy to get water now."

April, 2024

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Silungai Girls Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Joy. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Silungai Girls Secondary 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!

Joy, 14, recalled what life was like in the Silungai Girls Secondary School before her school's well was installed last year.

"Getting water was a challenge in our school. The water was never enough, and we could scramble for it, making some of us go without water for doing our laundry and even bathing. Going down to the river to get water poses a security risk to us. Personally, I used to imagine someone attacking us on our way to or from the river, but now we are safe in school," said Joy.

Collecting water is now much easier for Joy and the other students at Silungai Girls Secondary School.

"It is safe and easy to get water now. All we have to do is pump. We do our laundry on time and are sure of drinking water. Stomach pains associated with unclean water have now reduced in our school amongst the students," continued Joy.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Joy, allowing her the time and energy to focus on improving her future instead of wasting her time fighting for water.

"I am able to manage my time well now that there is water in our school. With this time, I am able to be in class at the right time, do my laundry at the right time, and even have a bath at the right time. Managing time well has seen me improve in my studies," concluded Joy.

Joy with TWP staff and her teacher at the 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 Silungai Girls Secondary 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 Silungai Girls Secondary 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 - The Patyrak Family
The Ward Family
Apes4Change Campaign for Water
32 individual donor(s)