Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 846 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

With a huge population of 815 students and 31 staff members, Shitirira Primary School needs a lot of water. But because the school doesn't have a reliable water source of its own, the school administration sends the children off school grounds for water every day. Supplying the school with water is especially difficult since Shitirira is a boarding school; students need water both in class and outside of it.

The school has two hand-dug wells of its own, but one no longer yields water at all, and the other one only has water during rainy seasons. But even when it functions, this well's water often becomes brown after just two dips of the bucket. And each time the bucket emerges from the well is another opportunity for the water inside to be contaminated.

This means that for months out of each year, the only water source for students is what they can carry from a nearby spring. But each time students leave the school for water, they wind their way through dense sugarcane fields and climb steep slopes.

"The road [becomes] slippery when it rains," said student Ellington A. (shown below). "[The] distance from the school to the spring is quite long. [It's a] narrow road full of sugarcane plantations, [which results in] security issues [and] wastage of time. We fetch water when the sun is still so hot and [it] makes us feel tired. Getting water becomes tiresome because of the distance and slope."

But the tiring journey isn't the only problem they might encounter. When made to go unsupervised, students fight, or even bully each other. Each trip to the water source eats into class time, lunch, or recess. And since the spring is shared with community members, pupils often find people already fetching water and end up having to wait for their turn.

"[There is] bullying when [we're] not accompanied by a teacher to the spring," Ellington said. "[We also have] limited time to fetch water, mostly during games time, so we don't even find time to play and interact with fellow students. A lot of time [is] spent getting water, making some of us get [back] late."

"I have been in this school for some years now, and I understand how the pupils stray to get water," said teacher Everline Limwechela (in the below photo).

"During [the] drought season, we send them to the spring frequently to get water for hygiene and sanitation, and also water for animals and preparing meals," Everline continued. "The interaction with [the] community has also resulted [in] accusations of sugarcane theft. We also try to send only upper primary pupils to get water to reduce pupils' fights within themselves and bullying. To tackle some of these challenges, we need a reliable water source in the school."

Everyone at Shitirira Primary School needs a water source on the school campus so the students can stay under the teachers' watchful eyes with plenty of time for both learning and playing.

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

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. 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, 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

April, 2024: Shitirira Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Shitirira 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 their daily needs.

We also installed new latrines and hand-washing 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.

"My safety is now guaranteed because I will no longer be walking long distance[s] along the bushy place to reach the spring but only walk [a] few meters within the school compound to collect water, unlike the spring, where community members crowded at the water point, forcing us to wait for [a] long [time] before fetching water and wasting a lot of time. This is now a forgone case because [we] will [only] be using [a] few minutes to get the water with no struggle," shared 12-year-old Ellyngtone.


"High concentration in class will be achieved, thus better results. Improved cleanliness at school, improved health, especially during dry seasons where pupils previously could get sick," he continued.

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

"I can now confidently say that I'm taking safe and clean water, whose source I know well. We didn't know the safety of the water from the spring, but this one is very safe because we will be monitoring how the handling of water is done and [how] the drawing containers [are] used. Secondly, this being both a boarding and a day school with [a] very high population, water used by [the] entire team is quite a lot. Thus, the students were forced to go [on] several trips to the spring, which was quite far from the school. This resulted [in the] wastage of time, and some could get back to class and find that lessons are already on, hence missing a lot of content. Now that we have a reliable source on the school grounds, a lot of time will be recovered and used in studies by the pupils," shared teacher Felix Sembeyia.

Teacher Felix Sembeyia at the new well.

"Being part of the school sanitation team, there will be an improvement [in] hygiene and sanitation of the students and the school at large because of the plenty of water available for cleaning. Then, as a teacher, [I] will be in a position to have my lessons done on time because there will no longer be wastage of time and therefore improved results and time for student-teacher bonding," continued Felix.

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.

Groundbreaking ceremony.

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 55 meters with a final static water level of 10.8 meters.

Drilling is just the beginning!

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 and 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.

Flushing the new well.

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!

Completed well!

We officially handed over the new borehole to the school's students and teachers.

Students celebrating clean water!

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

Girls at 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

Student washing his hands at the new handwash station.

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, Amos and Mildred deployed to the site to lead the event. 24 students and teachers attended the training held in the open field on the school grounds.

Training session.

We focused on personal, menstrual, oral, and environmental hygiene; proper water handling; soap-making and the ten steps of hand-washing; 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 hand-washing 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.

The training was a success! The students were engaged when discussing the various topics. They particularly found the session on hand pump maintenance interesting. This was an important lesson as it taught the students how to properly care for their waterpoint to ensure it lasts. During the lesson, two students were called up to the front. One acted as the pump while the other pretended to pump water. The students laughed as they watched the "pump" being used too hard, learning that they needed to use their new well with care.

Students were eager to participate!

12-year-old Shaffine, the chairperson of the newly formed Student Health Club, had much to say about the training session. "[I] gained skills on key leadership practices, which shall help me run the CTC club (student health club) now that I'm the chairperson and make it a productive club, so each pupil will admire to join [it]. [I] also learned that water should be handled well from source to storage, thus reducing water contamination and, as a result, reducing water-related diseases. I have also learned how to make liquid soap. As a leader, [I] will ensure that the teachers avail reagents and then we make the soap which will be used [to] clean our latrines and classroom, thus promoting hygiene and sanitation maintenance."



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!

February, 2024: Shitirira Primary School New Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Shitirira Primary School costs students 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! Learn more here!


6 individual donor(s)