Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 436 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/05/2024

Project Features

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The 436 students and staff at Mwiyala rely on a broken hand-dug well and two small rain tanks for all their water needs. The water yielded from these sources is never enough for everyone.

The hand pump at the shallow well, which was installed when the school was built in 2009, breaks down frequently. The school cannot afford to fix the pump every time, which leaves students waiting in long lines at the school's two 10,000-liter rain tanks.

However, the tanks dry up as soon as the rainy season ends, leaving students with no other option but to miss class or go without water.

"I feel for [these] students," said deputy principal Rose Kotia (in the above photo). "Every 20 or 30 minutes wasted at this water point will cost them academically at some point. While other students countrywide are in class, our students are still at the tank trying to access water. I believe we can do better."

"Increased [water] collection time has...been shown to negatively affect the educational success of students, who report being late to school, lack of morale and ability to focus, and fatigue due to their water collection responsibilities." - David Hemson‘The Toughest of Chores’: Policy and Practice in Children Collecting Water in South Africa

"If the time I spend waiting to wash my plate and drink water from the tank was diverted to classwork, I assure you I [could] do better," said student Maxwell T (shown carrying water in the photo below). "Being in class on time means ample time to prepare for the next class, timely syllabi coverage, and subsequently good performance in the examinations."

“In addition to the necessity of water to maintain personal and environmental hygiene, reducing student dehydration in schools has been associated with improved cognitive abilities.” - UNICEF

Despite the school's water challenges, the school's enrollment numbers and student performance remain high. While this is a blessing in many ways, it also means the school's already-strained water supply will need to be stretched even further as more and more students join. This struggle is an unsustainable burden on the school community.

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: Mwiyala Mixed Secondary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Mwiyala Mixed 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.

"Access to reliable, safe water will definitely improve my health because I can access drinking water throughout the day. Good health, hygiene, and sanitation standards and good academic performance [are] in the near future," said Mark L.

Mark L.

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

"The impact on my life as an administrator will definitely be tremendous. Students scrambling for water will be a thing of the past, no more waiting for 30 or so minutes to access water," said deputy principal Rose Kotia.

Rose Kotia.

She continued: "This water point will help the school maintain top hygiene and sanitation levels and shorten syllabi completion time. This, in the long run, will help improve the academic performance of the students and further motivate other teachers."

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 70 meters with a final static water level of 17 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!

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 Olivia Bomji and Elvis Afuya deployed to the site to lead the event. 29 students and teachers attended the training, which we held in a newly constructed classroom large enough for the whole group.

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.

Dental hygiene session.

The dental hygiene session was well received by participants. Information was centered on general dental hygiene practices, both preventive and corrective, and the effects of poor dental hygiene. The participants explained what they do to maintain proper dental hygiene. One of them acknowledged that they do not use a toothbrush but instead chew a piece of sugarcane every morning to clean their teeth. Everyone was encouraged to follow their newfound knowledge of how best to practice dental hygiene.

Learning to make soap.

"This training was extremely valuable. We have learned new things which will be critical in improving our hygiene and sanitation if followed to the letter," said Mark, 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!

September, 2022: Mwiyala Mixed Secondary School Borehole Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mwiyala Mixed 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: "We feel good, and it has made our work easier!"

November, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mwiyala Mixed 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!

Christopher Wangia, 48, recalled what life was like in the Mwiyala Mixed Secondary School before his school's well was installed.

"As a school, we relied on the rain tank and hand-dug well. During [the] drought season, the two water points had no water. We also relied on municipal water, which was mostly rationed, and sometimes the pipes burst, and we could stay even a month without municipal water. During that time, we bought water, which was expensive," said Christopher.

Collecting water is less stressful for Christopher and the rest of the Mwiyala Mixed Secondary School.

"We are glad that we have water at our doorstep; we don't need to buy water. We are sure of water, whether during the rainy season or drought season. We feel good, and it has made our work easier," he added.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Christopher, allowing him to teach without distraction and creating a better learning environment for his students.

"Teachers have [an] easy time to manage students, especially during lunchtime when they used to crowd at the water point. More time is spent in classes, unlike in the past, when they crowded at the tank, wasting a lot of time," Christopher concluded.

Teacher Christopher Wangia with a student at the well.

Right now, there are others in <a href= "">neighboring communities</a> 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 Mwiyala Mixed 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 Mwiyala Mixed 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.


United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
Lytle United Methodist Church
The K-Kids Club at Poestenkill Elementary
Adrian's Campaign for Water

And 2 other fundraising page(s)
41 individual donor(s)