Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 188 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 188 students and staff of Namatala Girls Secondary School struggle to access safe, sufficient water. Though they have a few different water sources at their disposal, they all have unique challenges that steal time from their education and, as a result, adversely affect their futures.

Field Officer Christine Masinde shared how this school is affected by the water crisis. "Currently, the school depends on a protected hand-dug well with [a] cover which is on the school compound, but it goes dry during dry seasons, and sometimes [the] water is exhausted from the well when the water need is high in school."

"The [well] hole has a cover, but when [it's] open, it poses [a] danger to pupils and staff who use it daily. When the well is dry, students are forced to go and fetch water from a nearby protected spring. The spring is shared with other community members, which creates congestion in the spring, and so much time is wasted there. The path to the spring is steep, and when it rains, it becomes slippery and causes falls that lead to injuries to the students," she continued.

The Namatala Girls Secondary School started in 2016 with only four students. It has grown exponentially; however, a lack of available water stunts growth. Teacher Tom Ochieng (shown below), 36, shares how this hardship has affected the school.

"Lack of a reliable water point in our school has contributed to the low enrollment of new students. Some who join the school leave after a while to join other [more] well-equipped schools. As a teacher, it pains [me] to lose [our] best students to neighboring schools, yet we have the capability of performing better if only we could access a reliable water point and improved school facilities."

When the hand-dug well isn't dry, the water it provides is often contaminated. Field Officer Christine said, "For the hand-dug well in as much as it has a cover, the jerrican and rope used to draw water easily transmits dirt to the groundwater and contaminates it. When it rains, dirty water drips inside the well too."

"Students and staff drink water directly from the water source without any treatment. This has given rise to the spread of waterborne illnesses like H-pylori (a bacterial infection), typhoid, diarrhea, and bilharzia. As a result, absenteeism is common among students and staff as well. Medical bills are also high. Overall academic performance of the school deteriorates day by day," Christine continued.

Water is essential to the functioning of any school. Students and staff are burdened without reliable, easy access to safe water. Time wasted seeking water takes away from energy and classroom time. Even coming to school is a hardship if a student's basic needs aren't met.

16-year-old Everlyne M. (shown below) shared, "This is a girl's school which [means we] need to have a reliable source of water in the school compound, yet sometimes we lack water in school. During my menstrual periods, if there is no water in school, I stay at home. I hope our bathrooms will be installed with water one day so that we can maintain hygiene during our [periods]. Our laboratories also need sufficient water so that we can compete confidently with our peers from other schools."

A new borehole well will help solve the challenges the students and staff are facing at Namatala Girls Secondary School. Borehole wells are drilled much deeper than hand-dug wells, eliminating the issues they face during the dry season. They have pumps, so the chances of contamination are much lower.

Safe, reliable access to water on school grounds will give students like Everlyne a chance to reclaim their time and future. Teachers like Tom will have the opportunity to reach more students as they will have adequate facilities to hopefully achieve their dreams of turning this into a boarding school.

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

July, 2024: Namatala Girls Secondary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that Namatala Girls Secondary 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.

17-year-old Everlyne, the chairperson of the child health club, said, "A reliable and sustainable source of water in the school will ensure that I have easy access to safe drinking water throughout the day, which will promote proper hydration. This will improve my ability to focus and participate actively in classroom activities and ultimately enhance our academic performance as Namatala Girls Secondary School students. The availability of clean water will encourage us students to adopt and maintain good hygiene habits, such as regular handwashing with soap, dental hygiene practices, maintaining cleanliness during menstruation, bathing, and cleaning our classrooms and latrines daily. This will promote better health among students."


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

"Access to clean water will empower my girls by providing them with a basic necessity for daily living. This will foster a sense of independence and self-reliance, as they will no longer have to worry about the availability of water for their needs. This empowerment will boost their confidence and self-esteem, leading to greater participation in academic and extracurricular activities and improved performance," shared Principal Flora Runaku.

Principal Flora Runaku.

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 75 meters with a final static water level of 30 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.

Preparing the casing.

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.

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

Handwash station in use!

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 Christine Masinde and Rose Serete deployed to the site to lead the event. 22 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.

Oral hygiene training.

Field Officer Christine Masinde shared a memorable topic from the training session. "A memorable discussion arose when addressing menstrual hygiene management. One particular participant bravely shared her personal experiences and challenges related to menstrual hygiene. She described how in her village, menstruation was considered a taboo topic. Many girls, including herself, felt embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about menstrual hygiene openly, even with their mothers and female relatives. She expressed how she has struggled to manage her periods at school without a reliable water source in the school compound. Sometimes, she had to stay at home and come back when her period was over. She concluded by saying that she is very excited that the water scarcity issue has been sorted once and for all, through a drilled borehole, not just for her but for other students and female teachers too."

Menstrual hygiene lesson.

We asked Everlyne what resounded to her the most during the training, and she said, "The most interesting topic was income-generating activities with a specific emphasis on kitchen gardening. We were taught how we can work together to plan, plant, and maintain the kitchen garden with a reliable source of water in school. This is very beneficial knowledge to be practiced not just in school but at home too. I hope to start this project so that we can provide vegetables to the school, and the excess produce can be sold to generate income for the school. I will share this information with my parents and siblings, too. I might initiate this project at home."

Kitchen garden lesson.


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!

May, 2024: Namatala Girls Secondary School New Borehole Underway!

The lack of adequate water at Namatala Girls Secondary 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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