Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 646 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/10/2024

Project Features

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Mukhungula Primary School's 630 students spend so much of their time ferrying water. They bring full jerrycans with them to school each morning. Then they are sent back out again during lunchtime. Sometimes, if the water runs out, they go out again once more before the end of the school day.

The sources from which they gather water are questionable. When they bring water from home, it is sometimes sourced from surface water, which is unfiltered and contaminated. Not to mention that it is difficult for children to carry their school books as well as a full twenty-liter container of water (approximately 44 lbs).

"Coming with water from home every day is tiresome," said 13-year-old Sheila M. (in the above photo).

When the water from home inevitably disappears as the school's staff and students clean, cook, drink, and use the latrine, students trek a formidable distance to a partially protected spring. Due to seasonality and disrepair, this spring sometimes fails to provide water.

When this happens, they go to a cloudy-watered river and submerge their containers in the opaque water. Then they hike back to school, likely having missed some of the classes they need to pass their exams.

"Sometimes we are forced to skip lessons just because we have to go fetch water," Sheila explained. "This has affected my performance negatively. I am not happy at all."

Another thing that negatively impacts school performance is absenteeism, which is caused by drinking unsafe water from the only sources available. Cases of typhoid and cholera are common, with one teacher having been admitted to the hospital recently for typhoid.

"[I] have been in this school for some time now and clean and safe water has been a big challenge," said Senior Teacher Peter Aswani (in the photo below teaching).

"When I joined the school, I used to have stomachaches every now and then without knowing the cause, so one day I decided to go for [a] full check-up, where I was told that [I] have been drinking dirty water, which was the cause of my persistent stomachache."

A reliable source of water will lessen the physical and mental burdens on Mukhungula's students. It will free up time and energy they can devote to study or play and allow them to live happier, healthier lives.

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 rain tank 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 rain tank, 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

November, 2022: Mukhungula Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Mukhungula 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.

"Coming with water from home every day was boring and tiresome. Sometimes we were forced to skip lessons just because we have to go fetch water, I thank God this has ended. It's now my responsibility to sit down and give good results since the challenge has been addressed. No more excuses," said 12-year-old Cynthia M.

Cynthia (second from left) with classmates and a teacher at the new well.

"With water within our school, I will be able to attend all lessons during the day. Initially, some lessons were skipped so that we [could] go and get water. [I] am happy that I will be at school throughout the [entire] school calendar year," concluded Cynthia.

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

"Initially, pupils were forced to come with water every morning from home which wasted a lot of time for their morning studies. They would also fetch water every lunch break and sometimes in between lessons and [anytime] when there was an urgent need. This really affected their studies, which resulted in poor performance," said 47-year-old teacher Peter Aswani.

Mr. Aswani pumping water.

He continued: "But with water within our school compound, everything will change, and there will be a great improvement in pupils' performance. [And] teachers will be at peace since the water source is known and is safe for human consumption."

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.

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 90 meters with a final static water level of three 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!

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 Betty and Stella deployed to the site to lead the event. 23 teachers and 20 students attended the training, which we held in one of the Early Childhood Development classrooms.

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.

Student health club leadership.

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 most interesting topic that captured the participants' attention was personal hygiene, including dental hygiene and handwashing. We realized that most of the pupils did not brush their teeth daily or wash their hands correctly. So we explained the importance of these practices and their proper procedures to promote better hygiene. Students committed to putting the new information into practice.

Practicing dental hygiene.

"[I] am very happy to be part of those pupils who were chosen to attend the training. I have acquired knowledge on sanitation matters, and this will help improve sanitation standards at a personal level, at home, and at school," said 13-year-old Vivian C.


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!

October, 2022: Mukhungula Primary School Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mukhungula 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 Allows Improved Health and Academic Focus!

March, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukhungula 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!

Vivian, 14, recalled what life was like at Mukhungula Primary School before her community's well was installed last year.

"I had a difficult time accessing clean and safe drinking water within the school premises. This led to reliance on potentially contaminated water sources, in this case, an unprotected spring or bringing water from home, which may not always have been feasible. As a student, fetching water from the unprotected spring required a lot of time and inconvenience," said Vivian.

"At the unprotected spring, other students or even myself would have had to compete with community members to access water. This competition led to conflicts and tensions, particularly in the dry seasons when water was limited or unreliable. There was no assurance that there would be enough water or that the quality would be safe to drink, even if we, the students, were able to get to a water source," continued Vivian.

Collecting water is now much more convenient and safer for Vivian and the other students at Mukhungula Primary School.

"Clean water eliminates the need for me to spend time fetching water from unreliable sources. This frees up time that can be used for studying, participating in extracurricular activities, or simply enjoying leisure time with my friends and family. My hygiene has improved greatly since access to clean water enables me to practice better hygiene habits, such as regular handwashing and bathing, which I remember [we] were taught during the hygiene training. This has improved overall health and reduced the risk of infections and diseases," said Vivian.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Vivian, allowing her time to improve her studies and enjoy life.

"Having more time available due to the reduced need for fetching water allows me to engage in several activities such as studying, relaxing, recharging, and participating in extracurricular activities, which contribute to my personal growth, well-being, and academic success. I have been doing well academically because, with access to clean water, I can focus more on my studies without the distraction of worrying about water scarcity or health issues," said Vivian.

"I hope to contribute to the betterment of people in my community by working on projects that address sustainable development, healthcare, education, and access to clean water. I want to help bring about constructive change and build a better future for everybody," Vivian concluded.

Vivian drinking clean water!

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 Mukhungula 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 Mukhungula 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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