Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 111 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/07/2024

Project Features

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Kamashia Health Center, a public facility serves a vital purpose as the place people can go when they require medical attention, both routine and emergent.

As a relatively small facility with only one inpatient bed, the center's staff work tirelessly to serve an average of 100 outpatients each day. The many different services offered include emergency, an HIV clinic, immunizations, maternity care, labor and delivery, minor surgery, nutrition, pharmacy, and a tuberculosis clinic.

It seems nearly impossible that many of these services could happen without adequate, safe water access. Still, there is no alternative, so the staff must care for those in need even without the water they desperately need.

Currently, the center relies heavily on rainwater collected in a tank on the campus that is treated regularly with chlorine and safe to drink. The water in the tank is only present after rain and undoubtedly runs out after the high demand each day. During the dry season, rain is scarce, making the water nearly nonexistent.

The only other water source is a nearby spring with water that is unsafe to drink and to use in medical procedures since it is open to all types of contamination.

Water is vital when dealing with medical issues, especially medical emergencies and imminent childbirth cases. Every day the staff wastes time looking for water before providing medical treatment. Sometimes, they have to travel to another, far away borehole to borrow water, which puts people's health and lives at risk.

Unfortunately, maternal and child mortality rates are unacceptably high in Kakamega county, with the largest rural population and the fourth most populous county in Kenya. There is a great demand for safe maternity and delivery services, so the government wants to expand the center's maternity unit to twenty beds soon. Therefore the need for clean, safe water that a borehole can provide is more pressing.

Beatrice Barasa (pictured above), a 30-year-old nurse at the facility, shared, "It slows everything for me [when I] am in charge and when there is no water. I have to handle both [collecting water and caring for the patient]. It makes me very tired."

Faith (in the photo below), a 20-year-old mother who lives near the health facility, told us her family does not have water to drink or use for their daily needs.

The borehole will serve the health center patients, staff who live and eat on the premises, and the community of 5,800 people that call Kamashia home, including community members like Faith.

What We Can Do:

New Well

We conducted a hydrogeological survey and the results indicated the water table here 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 clinic's needs, even through the dry season.

The clinic 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 hand-pump. Once finished, the clinic will use water from the well and staff for drinking, handwashing, cleaning, and much more.

The clinic and we strongly believe that all of these components will work together to make the clinic easier to clean, which will aid in treatment and unlock the opportunity for patients and staff alike to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

We will install two new handwashing stations and ensure they are kept clean and in working condition. The clinic staff will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a one-day intensive training session. 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 and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use various methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation and asset-based community development. We will also lead lectures, group discussions and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and promote good hygiene practices, including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

May, 2022: Kamashia Health Center Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Kamashia Health Center in Kenya now has access to a new safe, clean water source thanks to the completion of their new borehole well! Staff, patients, and their families 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 handwashing stations and trained staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for the health center and its surrounding community to live better, healthier lives.

"[The well] will reduce the time I used to spend going to the river to fetch water," said 11-year-old Adrian A. "Also, I will not suffer from typhoid and diarrhea, which were being caused by dirty water at the river."

Adrian at the new well.

''Now that there is clean water, I will not be missing school because [I] am sick," Adrian continued. "Also, the time I used to use going to the river I will use on my studies and improve my academic grades."

"[This] will reduce [the] water-related diseases that have been affecting our children," said 35-year-old Beatrice Barasa, a nurse at the health center. "Also, it will reduce the distance I have been covering going to collect water from the nearby spring [and] help in improving the cleanness of the health center."

Beatrice holds her hands beneath the well's spout.

"With the availability of water, I will start a business of soap-making that will help in improving my income," said Beatrice.

How We Got the Water Flowing

Staff and community members 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, everyone helped collect fine sand and water for cement-making. Our drill team and staff arrived at the center to begin work when everything was ready.

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 eight 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 community provided meals for the team, while the clinic 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. Workers installed pipes, flushed them, tested the well’s yield, and chlorinated the water.

Pipe and pump base installation.

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 show this water is safe for drinking!
The enthusiasm for this much-anticipated project was overwhelming. We officially handed over the new borehole to clinic staff and community members.

Handing-over ceremony.

Everyone celebrated the clinic’s new water source. The celebration was an excellent chance to acknowledge the clinic staff 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.

Handwashing Stations

Two handwashing stations were set up during training and handed over to the health center. The water user committee members will teach people how to wash their hands 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 clinic staff, who ensured that the training date would be convenient. When the training day arrived, facilitators Edmond Otieno, Adelaide Nasimiyu, and Joyce Naliaka deployed to the site to lead the event. 33 people attended the training, which we held under a tree on the health center grounds.

Our training covered several topics, including personal hygiene, oral hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, environmental hygiene, the operation and maintenance of the well and pump, latrines, handwashing stations, and leadership.

"[The training] has helped me learn new knowledge that will help me in [the] generation of income for my family," Mery Vugusa, a member of the new water user committee. "The knowledge I have got on soap-making will help me generate income that will help me improve the living standards of my family."

Mery on the day of the training.

Community members elected their peers to lead their water user committee during the leadership session. The club will be responsible for encouraging good health and hygiene practices. By the end of the training, participants understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their community.

At Kamashia, the topic participants found most interesting was the maintenance of the well pump. Some of them were surprised to learn that there was a method of pumping water that would prevent the machinery from breaking often.

Another enlightening topic was water-handling. We advised community members to wash their water containers every day and not to keep drinking water stored longer than three days. The participants were curious about that, saying that the water from the borehole is clean, and after three days the water would still be good for drinking. The trainer explained to them how bacteria can grow in water the longer it's stored. After more discussion, everyone agreed to follow the new knowledge.

Mery stirs the soap made during the training.

When an issue arises concerning the well, the community members and staff 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: Kamashia Health Center Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kamashia Health Center drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this health center and surrounding community 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 births for women!

May, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kamashia Health Center in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Beatrice. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kamashia Health Center.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kamashia Health Center 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!

Beatrice Barasa, a 34-year-old nurse, recalled what life was like at Kamashia Health Center before a well was installed last year.

"It was very difficult to get water in the health facility. Getting water for maternity programs was a big challenge. During [the] dry season, we could not get enough water for mothers who gave birth at the facility, forcing a number of them [to] go give birth elsewhere," said Beatrice.

Beatrice continued, "Cooking was not done on time because we were forced to walk for a long distance to fetch water from a protected spring during dry seasons. Queuing with the community members before we could fetch water was a problem. Patients could swallow medicines using water from any source, which was very dangerous."

"I stay here at the health centre. Getting water for personal use was so challenging. I used more time looking for water [and it] interfered with my work as a nurse," said Beatrice.

But life is much more enjoyable for Beatrice and safer for patients at Kamshia Health Center now.

"As a nurse, my happiness is seeing people around me living a happy life. Through this water point at the facility, I have been able to put a smile on mothers' faces. Many women have chosen this facility, and they are now giving birth at the facility more than they did before this water point was implemented. They are able to wash and bathe without any problem before they are released to go home," Beatrice said.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for staff and in how safe and comfortable a patient's birth can be. But Beatrice and her patients are not the only ones impacted by the well; the community members who live near the health center also benefit.

"My home is around the facility, and [I] am able to fetch water to my home. [I] am not experiencing waterborne disease like before. The time I was using to walk for a long distance looking for water has been reduced, and [I] am able to do my work on time," said 20-year-old Sorophine Kaisha.

"This water has helped me overcome waterborne diseases, and the money I was using for treatment has been channeled to other things at home," concluded Sorophine.

Right now, there are others just like Beatrice and Sorophine 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.

Nurse Barasa (left) and Sorophine (in red shirt) with others 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 Kamashia Health Center 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 Kamashia Health Center – 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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