Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 814 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 814 students and staff of Shikoti Mixed Primary School face the dilemma of insufficient water to meet their daily needs. As a result, students spend a significant amount of time outside the classroom searching for and collecting water instead of learning.

"The school has one water point within the school, a protected dug well with [a] hand pump. During the dry seasons, the water reservoir goes low, rendering the pump unusable, thus delaying or interrupting classes. The waterpoint is seasonal, and due to the school's high population, pupils have to go [on] numerous trips out of school to get water," said our field officer Betty Muhongo.

The dug well serves them during the rainy season, but the rest of the year, it is dry, and students are forced to either find water in the community and haul it to school or leave class during the day to find water. Somedays, they have to do both since the little they can bring to school quickly runs out due to the school's large population.

"During the dry seasons, which often coincides with the more important exams of the year, is when most the pupils fall absent, and we have found that to be linked to getting water from their homes. It seems most of the pupils get water from the roadsides, which harms them in the long run, and sometimes some teachers. This has affected performance from the teachers to the students to the school in general," said 42-year-old teacher Phoebe Ingosi (seen above).

"The main waterpoint is seasonal [and] thus doesn't provide enough water for the school with its high population. Getting water from home has pupils bringing water from the nearest source, which sometimes means getting running surface water to avoid covering long distances to a clean water source," said Phoebe.

As Phoebe noted, the water students collect and bring to school is often from unknown sources, which is a sure way to put those who consume the water at risk of contracting water-related illnesses. When students or teachers are sick, everyone misses even more learning time, to the students' detriment.

"At times, we are requested to go and get water in between lessons, so we need to stay at school until late hours to compensate [for] the time used looking for water. To get clean water, you also have to rush to the pump as sometimes, when the water level is low, the water pumped out becomes dirty, and you can't drink it. You rush there to avoid the stampede and get back to class in time to avoid being punished for being late," said 12-year-old Joshua A., shown above, filling a drinking container.

Installing a well on the school campus will enable students like Joshua and teachers like Phoebe to be healthier and spend more time in school, which can then be used for learning.

Water at schools is unique, which is why we need unique solutions.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Handwashing Stations

Alongside each water source, we also provide two new gravity-fed handwashing stations that will allow everyone at the school to wash their hands without running water. Handwashing is so important to help prevent future water-related illnesses in the school community.

The student health club will maintain the stations, fill them with water, and supply them with soap (which we will teach the school community how to make during the training!).

VIP Latrines

In addition, we will construct two triple-door Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine blocks designed to prevent fecal disease transmission. Each latrine will have a cement floor, which is easy to use and clean regularly. Three doors will serve the girls, and three doors will serve the boys.

Project Updates

May, 2024: Shikoti Mixed Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Shikoti Mixed 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.

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.

Celebrating clean water!

"I will not get tired anymore from carrying water together with [my] books every morning to school. Besides that, I will be accessing clean water for drinking, mopping our classroom, and cleaning sanitation facilities within the school compound," said 11-year-old David.


"Reliable water will impact my learning positively because it is within the school compound, so I will not waste much time going for water outside the school compound. I will get enough time for learning, as minimal time will be spent on water [collecting] and much [more] on studies," said David.

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

"I believe the waterpoint will solve numerous challenges we had been experiencing before like teaching in unconducive classrooms, full of dust because it wasn't cleaned on [a] regular basis. We are sure sanitation and hygiene standards in the school will be uplifted because water is within reach as opposed to before. Besides that, learners will not be carrying water from their homes to schools anymore, thus getting enough time to focus on their studies," said 40-year-old teacher Phoebe Ingosi.

Teacher Phoebe Ingosi with her students at the new well.

"Since the burden of carrying water from home together with books every morning has been lifted, students will get enough time to concentrate on their studies, improving academic performance which goes with every learner's aspiration," Phoebe continued.

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 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 100 meters with a final static water level of 10 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.

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, Wilson and Jonathan deployed to the site to lead the event. 21 students and teachers attended the training.

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.

Students learn how to use a tippy tap handwashing station.

"The participant's commitment, and enthusiasm for the hygiene training excellent. Learners were very attentive, and they would ask questions or seek clarification on anything they didn't understand," shared Field Officer Jonathan Mutai.

A proper handwashing demonstration.

"The ten steps of handwashing was something new to me. Though we have been washing our hands, we did not know how to do it the right way. What I learned, is that the ten steps are critical because every part of our hands is reached; it is the best and only way of preventing diseases. The training has impacted me positively, as I have embraced the idea of good hygiene practices, which I will [take] into consideration while in school, and at home. I will share this information with my fellow pupils, and my village mates so that we all embrace the practice of good health," said 14-year-old Amos Omamo.



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!

March, 2024: Shikoti Mixed Primary School New Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Shikoti Mixed 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!


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