Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 717 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Kilimo DEB Primary School currently has 701 students and 16 staff members who rely on two small plastic rainwater tanks (total capacity 4800-liters) to provide its daily water needs. Tanks of this size are grossly insufficient for such a large school population. Therefore, when the tanks do fill, they run dry within a few days, leaving students searching for other water.

Over its 35 years, the school has taken pride in its consistently good performance and ability to attract many students each year, but that is more difficult with an insufficient water source.

Students collect water from an alternative water source, a hand-dug well located at the local health clinic, when the tanks are dry. To do so, pupils must cross a busy road, dodging speeding motorcycles.

Students most often walk to the well early in the morning during their class time, missing valuable learning opportunities. But due to the nature of activities at the health facility, access to the water point is sometimes restricted, leaving the students returning to the school without water.

Student Elijah K. (shown above collecting water) said, "Water is a problem in this school. We are usually sent to the health center to collect water, but sometimes the hospital management denies us access to the water point. This in itself means no water for use and a waste of our precious class time."

Deputy Head Teacher, Arunga Rodah, (shown above in class), said, "My worry has always been sending the students to the health center. What do you tell the parent, your child has gotten [into] a road accident while others are in class? That is the hardest part of my job."

A new borehole will reliably provide clean and safe drinking water within the school grounds, allowing students to return to learning and keeping them safe.

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

May, 2022: Kilimo DEB Primary School Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Kilimo DEB 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.

"Unlike our previous sources, which either dried up or had restricted access, this new water point will help us maintain high levels of hygiene and sanitation," said student, Elijah K.


"It will also reduce the incidences of us going across the road to fetch water, thus reducing the risk of us being involved in accidents. Due to the full availability and reduced water access time, we hope to greatly improve our hygiene and sanitation standards and improve in our academics as well."

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

"My work as a deputy headteacher will now be easier," said Rhodah Arunga, the school's deputy headteacher. "No more worries about the safety of our children who have been previously crossing a busy road to access water. We are grateful for the installation of this water point on our school grounds."

Rhodah pumps water at the new well.

"This will definitely improve the safety of our students," Rhodah continued. "Due to the saving of the time and efforts previously used to fetch water outside the school, we hope to perform better in our academics in the coming years."

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 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 42 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.

Drilling underway.

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.

Testing the well's yield.

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.

An artisan installs tiles on the newly constructed well pad.

When the well pad was dry, we installed a new stainless steel AfriDev handpump and sampled the water for a quality test. The results show this water is 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.

The completed water point.

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.

The school management was extremely grateful for the new well and promised to responsibly manage it. In attendance at the event was the school board chairman, the headteacher, his deputy, and the school board members among other invited parents. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

VIP Latrines

Girls give thumbs up at their new latrines.

This project funded the installation of six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines: three for the girls and three for the boys. 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 of the girls’ and boys’ 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 and Elvis deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under a shady tree on school grounds.

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.

Students practice handwashing in their seats.

The students' favorite topic was tooth-brushing. When facilitators asked for a volunteer to demonstrate proper dental hygiene, all the students were eager to show off their skills. However, we could only pick two due to a limited supply of toothbrushes. When we told the students they only needed a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, they were all surprised, as they had been using much more than that. Hopefully, this intervention will save their families money in the future!

An excited student demonstrates his tooth-brushing skills.

"The training has been very important," said Peninah, one of the students who attended the training. "I have learned a number of invaluable things that would be of benefit to my health and sanitation. To be specific, the dental hygiene training and demonstration has helped me to learn how best to brush my teeth, which is quite different from what I have been doing all along. This will go a long way in promoting the quality of my dental hygiene."

Peninah fills a jerrycan at the new well.

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 our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2022: Kilimo DEB Primary School Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kilimo DEB 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: Safer Students and Clean Water!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kilimo DEB 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!

Mercy B., 13, recalled what life was like at Kilimo DEB Primary School before her school’s well was installed last year.

"It was hard because we were forced to cross a busy road every day to get water from the dispensary," said Mercy.

But life is much easier for Mercy and the other students at Kilimo DEB Primary School now.

"It feels really good to fetch water in school because I have enough time to study and do my assignments on time," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Mercy, allowing her to focus on her studies and not have to worry about her safety when trying to collect water.

"I now have more time to consult my teachers on what I don't understand. From the consultations, my grades have really improved," Mercy said.

Mercy's teacher, Mr. Evans Khainga, agreed. He remarked, "It is very easy because we no longer escort pupils to get water as we used to do. I no longer worry about the safety of my pupils because they are accessing clean water right here in school."

Thank you for helping Mercy access clean water and have time to get help with her studies instead of worrying about collecting water and her safety while doing so.

Right now, there are others just like her 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.

Mercy and her fellow students 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 Kilimo DEB 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 Kilimo DEB 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 - Craig Family
The PIMCO Foundation
2 individual donor(s)