Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 774 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The students and staff at Machemo Primary School labor tirelessly to collect sufficient water to meet their daily needs.

The large school population of 750 students and 24 staff generally consumes the water brought to the school by students each morning before noon, then they must waste valuable learning time throughout the day as their teachers send them out to search for and collect additional water.

"Girls in this school tie the little yellow jerricans around their small waists using the laces on their dresses. This is to ensure the container doesn't get lost. A lost container means punishment from the duty master when it's water fetching time. In general, the pupils lose so much play and study time in the name of looking for water," said our field officer Lillian Achieng.

A rainwater harvesting tank on the school campus fills when it rains, but it only provides enough water for the school kitchen and is in poor shape. Its drawing point is dirty and missing a cover and a tap, and the improvised collection pipes make the water quality questionable.

The alternative is to collect water from the local river, but it also presents several challenges. The water appears cloudy and muddy and is open to contamination. Animal dung from cows that come to quench their thirst, and the leftovers from community members' laundry washing are visible on the river bank.

"Fridays are normally hectic for me. This is when the pupils do their general cleaning. Following these young champs to the river and back is hectic," said 29-year-old teacher Amos Muyale, shown by the river below.

The road used by students to access the river is dangerous and frequented by heavy tractors that ferry sugarcane from the farms and speedy motorbikes.

And when some students leave the school campus without a teacher accompanying them to collect water, they get distracted and get in trouble in other ways, wasting their valuable learning time.

Lillian reported: "Some students end up going to community farms to steal farm crops like sweet potatoes and sugarcane. This has resulted in endless cases between the school and the community members."

"Sometimes we release them on their own, and so much time is wasted since they'll either be slow or they will go plucking guavas, not minding the school hours," said Amos.

"I love being neat, but fetching water, especially out of school, makes me get dirty because we have to move up and down to get the water. Some community members are also hostile when they see us. I lose so much time out there, the time I would have used to study in class," said 14-year-old Mitchell W., shown below collecting water from the river.

Hopefully, with their very own reliable water source on campus, students will be able to get back to learning, and there will be plenty of safe water to meet all of their needs.

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 well, 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

September, 2023: Machemo Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Machemo 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. The school determined shortly after the well was implemented that they wanted to protect it from vandalism so they built a small well house to protect it. (Please note: You will see photos of the well before and after the protective well house was built in this report.)

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.

Students celebrating.

"Though this is my last year in this school, I will be able to concentrate on my studies because I'll be sitting for my final primary national examination by the end of the year. I believe I'll do much better in my studies now with no interruptions. Since I love being neat, the water will boost my cleanliness while in school. I'll be able to wipe my shoes when they are muddy," said 14-year-old Mitchell W., who we spoke to when we first visited the school.

Mitchell collecting water.

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

"My life as a teacher in this school has changed in the sense that I won't have to go out of the school compound to escort pupils to the river to fetch water. That was an extra duty that is not part of my job description," said 30-year-old teacher Amos Muyale.


"My pupils have always left class to go fetch water amidst lessons. This has affected my completing the syllabus. With this water now in school, I will be able to teach my pupils with no interruptions."

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 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 80 meters with a final static water level of 44 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’s students and teachers.

Installing the pump.

The field officer in charge handed over the water point to the school through the headteacher. The children's jubilation at the water point was obvious as they splashed in the water. 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.

The completed well before the well house was built.

VIP Latrines

Girls in front of their new latrine.

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, facilitator Lillian deployed to the site to lead the event. 26 students and teachers attended the training, which we held under some trees in the school compound.

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.

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.

"A memorable topic was soap making. The teachers and pupils were so eager to get the knowledge of making soap to help them both at home and at school. The female teachers admitted that the price of bar soap really rose, and knowing how to make the liquid soap would substitute a lot," said field officer Lillian.

"The training has given me more courage to face the school as the hygiene patron. I now have more powers to command sanitation and hygiene in my school. [With] the knowledge I have acquired and with the help of the CTC club members, I will bring our school to a different level in terms of sanitation. I will carry this knowledge to high school when I complete my primary education this year," said 15-year-old Edward S.


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!

July, 2023: Machemo Primary School Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Machemo Primary School costs students and staff their 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!


1 individual donor(s)