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The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -
The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -
The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -
The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -
The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -
The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -
The Water Project: Mwitha Primary School -

Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Solar Pump

Program: Wells for Schools - Kenya

Impact: 0 Served

Project Phase:  Canceled/Re-Allocated
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Project Features

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Community Profile

This information was provided by our partner IcFEM

Mwitha Primary School, Sikhendu

Sikhendu sits on the slopes of Mount Elgon, accessed via mud roads off the main potholed tarmac road from Kitale to Webuye. From Sikhendu there are amazing views over this area of Western Kenya, surrounded by different varieties of trees and even the occasional field of sunflowers in season. Sikhendu borders the areas of Kamukuywa and Naitiri, and is not far from Kiminini.

Like the biblical land of Canaan, the word Mwitha means “the land of milk”, and the area is fertile and good for growing a variety of crops. Located in Machewa location of the larger Trans-Nzoia West District, the village is within a largely agricultural area with large areas of land producing maize, wheat, cabbages and tomatoes.

However, a teething problem continues to bother the people of this area – a lack of safe drinking water. The only stream (Bondeni Water Spring) is located one kilometer away from the school and pupils are forced to ferry water from their homes for use in the school. This water is unsafe for human consumption considering the fact that it comes from various untreated sources, yet is commonly used due to the lack of alternative options.

According to Joyceline Murugi, a teacher at Mwitha Primary who also resides in the school compound, the community depends on rain water which is not reliable especially during the dry season, and very few households or institutions have rainwater collection systems.

Joyceline says that the proposed water borehole project which is to be constructed on the school site cannot come at a better time. It will assist at least 570 pupils in the school as well as the surrounding people including Mwitha market which has failed to pick up due to the perennial water problem.

The borehole will also reduce the distance covered to get water from the spring, reduce dependence on rain water and help in the building of the school where some of the classrooms are in a dilapidated state.

Project Updates

10/05/2011: Update on progress at Mwitha Primary School

IcFEM have completed the community education, and report a great response from the community and a real improvement on the ground. Hygiene and sanitation has been a focus of this education, but IcFEM have also worked through ideas relating to water source management and sustainability. 

 When the hydrogeological survey was completed for this site, it indicated that the groundwater was significantly deeper than first anticipated, at around 200m. This is too deep for our contractor to drill, and the technology we use for pumping the water cannot pump from such a depth either. 

 IcFEM are keen for us to explore other options that may be suitable for this site, including the option of choosing a different location nearby, or even developing a local spring instead of sourcing groundwater. 

This project has already had a big impact on the community – IcFEM have been really keen to stress how valuable the education program has been – and we hope to be able to find a solution to enable us to provide them with a clean water source. It is just about making sure that we promote technology that is appropriate to both the community and the natural conditions on the ground. 

We will update this page just as soon as we have agreement on the best way forward.

08/22/2011: Additional Update Mwitha Primary

A second, more recent update for the Mwitha Primary School site in Sikhendu:

Developing a Borehole Management Committee 

The Water Project has given IcFEM the opportunity to develop a locally-run Borehole Management Committee to manage the future work relating to the borehole planned for Mwitha Primary School. This is an important part of the project since sadly a percentage of community-based water projects in other rural areas worldwide fail due the lack of community ownership and the inability to cope with operational and repairs issues if faults occur with the equipment. There is determination in the communities of Sikhendu to ensure that this situation does not occur with the project at Mwitha Primary School, and evidence of this was shown by the training sessions held recently to train the Mwitha Borehole Management Committee. 

IcFEM staff members Janet Bakasa and Judith Wambuye met with the members of the locally elected committee, covering subjects like developing an operations and maintenance strategy, communication, forming a constitution, financial management, and reporting arrangements. More support will be given to this group as the project develops. 

The Water Project : mwitha-wash-team

08/22/2011: Mwitha Update

I’ve just received this update from the field:

Empowering Local Community Health Representatives
Before the opportunity for this project arrived, IcFEM’s local community leaders in Sikhendu had already been collecting information and mobilising community support for future water projects in the area, as they looked for funding partners to make their dream for clean water a reality to address the high number of water-borne diseases suffered in the area. As a result, it was not surprising when they had a strong response to the opportunity for local community health workers to receive training in sanitation and hygiene through the partnership between IcFEM and The Water Project. 

Training took place over 3 days in two local community venues, attended by over 30 enthusiastic people who live in the villages surrounding Mwitha Primary School that will be the main beneficiaries of the borehole project. The training sessions were led by a combination of IcFEM staff and 3 locally-selected Trainers of Trainers (TOT) who had received training during a previous session at IcFEM HQ. In addition to accessing clean water through the borehole, this educational work will further reduce the levels of avoidable sickness to improve the lives for people living in the villages around Mwitha Primary School.   

The Water Project : mwitha-tot-training-day-2 The Water Project : mwitha-tot-training-day-2a The Water Project : mwitha-tot-training-day-3-group-shot The Water Project : mwitha-training-room-with-built-in-air-conditioning

05/03/2011: Mwitha Primary - update

This project is one of ten that form a ten project programme with IcFEM and Water For All. 

IcFEM (Interchristians Fellowships’ Evangelical Mission) are a large Christian development organisation based in Western Kenya, but with support from the UK. 
They will be looking after all the community outreach on this project – all the hygiene and sanitation promotion, community liaison and capacity building that goes into our work. IcFEM are already active within the community, and have well established relationships with community members and the local leadership. They can call upon a rich experience when it comes to community outreach, and we will be supporting them as they role out their program. 
Water For All are based in South Africa, and fund the development and provision of solar water systems. Once this borehole has been developed, Water For All will come in and install a solar powered pump, tower and tap at the site. 
In the coming days and weeks IcFEM will begin their community outreach. We will bring you updates on this as soon as we have them. 
We at The Water Project are really excited about this collaboration, and the impact it will have on people’s lives. 
Expect more as we get it! 

The Water Project : mwitha-primary-sikhendu-a-villager-and-her-child-who-live-beside-the-school-site_-future-borehole-users-2

Project Photos

Project Type

Solar water systems use the power of the sun to drive a submersible electric pump and are ideal for boreholes with a high yield. The pumps Water For All uses - helical rotor pumps - are among the most efficient and simple pumps in the world with only one moving part. The system can pump water all day and excess water is stored in an overhead tank. Solar pumps are low maintenance, require no manual operation, and use clean, renewable energy.