Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Decommissioned

Project Features

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Community Profile

Shisango Secondary School was started in the year 2009 through the combined efforts of Shisango Primary School's teachers and parents. Shisango Secondary School is a girls' school, which now has two academic streams, form one and two. Since its inception, the school has managed to put up one block of classrooms.

The secondary school has an enrollment of 150 girls as the enrollment of the new students joining form one still going on, and 4 teachers. The primary section has a population of 750 pupils and 25 teachers.

(Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This school would be a good candidate for a second project in the future to ensure that adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Most of the girls attending this school come from neighboring communities. Though there are many challenges, such as not having enough personnel or classrooms, water scarcity is the biggest issue students deal with on a daily basis.


Currently, the Shisango Secondary School students carry water from home each morning. The water quality and its storage are questionable, since the containers themselves are visibly dirty. They are also collecting water from unsafe sources such as open streams.

During the dry season, most of the area's streams dry up, which leaves children having to walk even farther for water.


Since we've been in relationship with Shisango Secondary School for a few years, we've worked with them on improving basic hygiene and sanitation. Unfortunately, water scarcity forces them to sacrifice environment hygiene in favor of basic needs.

Here's what we're going to do about it:

New Borehole

Shisango Secondary School needs a reliable source of clean water on school grounds. We met this school a two years ago and have been trying to solve this issue ever since. We first drilled a borehole, but it has silted up. Since we learned of this complication, we've stringently vetted new hydrogeologists and drillers. After phone calls, meetings, and multiple references, we've found a team that's a great match.

We have already conducted tests at three different locations around the school, and have found the best location for a new borehole. The adjacent primary school students are also looking forward to using this borehole.

This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water and Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

03/30/2018: Shisango Secondary School Project Complete

In 2015, The Bitgive Community helped provide a new well for Shisango School – a display of our shared commitment to helping this community with first time water access.  Equally as important to the school and The Water Project is providing ongoing support to make sure that water is reliable, day after day, year after year. This is why we monitor all our projects. Over time we found that the water table dropped in this area, limiting the intended benefit of the original well. Though not common, this does happen from time to time.

Because of our commitment to this school (and to the lasting impact that The Bitgive Community wants to make), we’ve drilled a much deeper well in order to access a higher yield aquifer. This work will ensure that clean water is accessible here year round.

These girls no longer have to leave school in search of water, water that wasn't even clean. With this amazing clean water resource on school grounds, these girls will have the opportunity to focus on their studies and earn better grades, and ultimately get into university.


We had a great chance to meet with the newest girls at this school to train them on hygiene and sanitation. We met in a classroom to talk about personal hygiene like washing hands and face, brushing teeth, and cleanliness during menstrual cycle. These new students had never had a chance to learn about how to best take care of themselves.

Starting the Process

The first part of our borehole process is a hydrogeological survey which determines the water levels and the soil formation of potential sites. The second stage is to conduct an environmental impact assessment and come up with a report to submit. We analyze the potential positive and negative impacts of this new water source. Those impacts can be:

  1. Social - does this bring the community together, or will they fight over this resource?
  2. Economical
  3. Environmental

The government bodies responsible for the EIA and licensing processes are the Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) and National Environmental Management Authority, (NEMA). Both of these are issued at a cost.

With our license to drill at Shisango in hand, we could approach drilling companies for their quotes. We wanted to gather recommendations, prices, and machinery specifications to inform our final decision. With a drilling team that stood out from the crowd, we put forward a down payment to ensure the drill rig was on its way.


We're happy to report that the drillers made it to 100 meters. The only challenge was loose formation from 18 to 30 meters, and so the drill team had to use steel casing from the top of the borehole down to 30 meters.


PVC casings were installed in order to protect the water from impurities. Gravel was also packed down between the temporary drilling casing and the well's casing. Screening was cut in the PVC to allow water to flow into the well.

Water Quality Test

A water sample was sent to WARMA and we're happy to report that this water is clean and safe for drinking!

Well Pad

With great yield test results and a consistent static water level of 15 meters, we could build a concrete apron to further protect the well. Four nuts are placed in the center of the apron to prepare for pump installation. We start by laying a concrete mixture, a layer of bricks, and then we plaster the bricks. Waterproof cement is plastered over this. It must dry for one week before we can install the pump.

Pump Installation

An stainless steel AfriDev pump has been installed for now, but this site qualifies for a LifePump, which can reach over 100 meters deep.

Handing Over

Success is always marked with obvious celebration, and we were happy to meet students and staff at the new borehole to witness it! The school board, PTA, church leaders, school staff, and students were all there. With so many parents in attendance, it was a great opportunity to meet together to talk about the sustainability of this well. They're planning on adding a little bit of money to their children's school fees to cover any maintenance the pump may need.

Sylvester Andika said, "As an accountant of this school, I would like to thank our donor on behalf of the entire school community for enabling us to have access to safe and clean water. As a school, we used to purchase water for drinking and cooking and sometimes we ran our of that money. Then, we sent our girls out to go fetch water for use in our kitchen, which was very bad since they were supposed to be in class learning. This new water point has come to us as a blessing and we promise to take good care of it because it is one of the most precious facilities that we have here."

01/23/2018: Shisango Secondary School Project Underway

Shisango Secondary School will soon have a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your donation. A new well is being drilled and students will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the difference these resources will make for this school!

We just posted an initial report from our partner in the field including information about the school, maps, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work progresses.

Project Videos

Project Photos

Project Type

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.