Rumbiye water & sanitation program

A partnership with Davis Sunset Rotary, Rotary Club Busia, Engineers Without Borders-Kenya, and Rotary International.

We welcome you to join in this effort, and give the community of Rumbiye (Kenya) access to clean water and sanitation.




Update April 2024: 

  • Phase 1  (installation of new borehole with handpump) was completed in May 2020. Scroll below to see pictures and clips of this milestone.
  • Phase 2 (community water distribution system): this project, which is a partnership with the Rotary Club of Busia (Kenya) and Engineers without Borders, received a Global Grant of the Rotary Foundation in early 2022. The original budget was $70,000 (based on estimated expenses when the grant was written in 2021). However, since then, major inflation and global shortages in the supply chain of materials (including because of the war in Ukraine) have resulted in an increased budget. Based on the bidding/tendering process early 2022, the estimated total budget became approximately $100,000. So we had a shortage of $30,000. Click here to download a pdf to view the financial details.
    Davis Sunset Rotary committed to contribute $15,000;  several other Rotary clubs and private donors have also made generous contributions, so we reached this additional goal of $30,000, as reflected in the fundraising thermometer below. The work of phase 2 (including electrical pump with solar panels, water storage tank, water pipelines and water kiosks with payment meters) is completed! Scroll below to read more about phase 2.
  • Phase 3: An extra $5,000 that we are now raising now is for these goals:
    • Construction of an additional water kiosk with water meter payment system that will be built about 10 meters away from the current water system to the dispensary. This kiosk will serve the community of Namagogo B, which has 67 households, each having 5 to 10 members.
    • Security flood light at the borewell and solar panels
    • Water treatment installation system (chlorine to remove excess iron).
    • Laptop for the operations of the program

Can you help in getting us this final $5,000?

Davis Sunset Rotary pledged to donate $2,500 as matching gift. So in other words, we only need to raise an additional $2,500 to reach this extra goal of $5,000. We received a generous $500 donation from Woodland Sunrise Rotary Club and several other donors, and have now reached $3,600, so we are still hoping to raise the final $1,400

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin$35,000Raised $33,600 towards the $35,000 target.$33,600Raised $33,600 towards the $35,000 target.96%

(note: this fundraiser thermometer for the additional funds for phase 2 and 3 is updated manually so we will add your donation after receipt)

You can be a part of this!
Any contribution – individual or business contribution – makes a difference and helps us a step forward. We are grateful to everyone who has already contributed.

Note that your contribution to Sahaya International will be tax-deductible.  You can contribute in several ways:

  • To pay by credit card, Paypal or Venmo, use the donate button below, which takes you to a Givebutter donation form:

  • You can mail a check, made payable to “Sahaya International” to us. Add in the notes field “Kenya water project”.

Sahaya International
1504 Portola Street
Davis, CA 95616

If you are part of. Rotary Club or other service organization that likes to send a club contribution directly to our  Sunset Rotary Club Davis (without the need for tax deductibility) please send your check made payable to “Sunset Rotary Club Davis” (with mention: “Kenya water project”) to:

Sunset Rotary Davis
C/o Treasurer Paul Yamamoto
26905 Middle Golf Drive
El Macero, CA 95618

You can download a one-pager about the project by clicking on this link here, or by clicking on the image below. You can share this with your networks.

We are extremely grateful for all the support received:

Phase 1 (budget of $21,300): The completion of the borewell with handpump was made possible thanks to a $10,000 District Grant from Rotary District 5160, fundraising proceeds and efforts by Sunset Rotary Davis, with generous donations from Davis Sunrise, Davis Noon, Woodland Sunrise, Woodland Luna Vista, and Winters Rotary Clubs, and generous contributions of Sahaya International supporters. A special thanks also to the Davis Enterprise for their report of this program (click here to read the newspaper article).

Phase 2 (original budget of $70,000; updated budget is $100,000). We are grateful  for a Global Grant of the Rotary Foundation, District 5160 (matching via District Designated funds), fundraising by Sunset Rotary Davis, with additional generous donations by these Rotary Clubs:

    • Dodge City Rotary Club (Kansas): $750
    •  Vacaville Rotary Club (California): $500
    • Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club (California): $500
    • Dougherty Valley San Ramon Rotary Club (California): $500
    • Davis Sunrise Rotary Club (California): $500
    • Woodland Luna Vista Rotary Club (California): $1,000
    • San Jose Silicon Valley Rotary Club (California): $1,000

Phase 3:  (Budget of $5,000; we are curently at $3600):  We are grateful to several donors,  and Woodland Sunrise Rotary club for their $500 donation.

Many thanks for your generous support!

Pictures/clips of the ongoing progress on phase 2 and 3 (April-2023 to April 2024); click on pics to see enlarged version


(Work at the deep borewell)

History of the Rumbiye Community Borehole project:

  • The borehole initiative is situated in Rumbiye village of Samia Sub-County of Busia County (western Kenya).
  • The project covers an area of about 1.5Km2 with a population of approximately 200 families (approximately 5,513 persons); an additional 150 households from other communities were occasionally also using  the borehole to fetch water.
  •  The Rumbiye community Borehole was initiated by village elders for back in 1988. The village Elders came together and formed a committee to carter for the borehole initiative. In 1988, thanks to donors from Finland, and in collaboration with the government of Kenya, a borehole was constructed. This was a one-time donation.
  • When the borewell was active, people used to line up as early as 3 am throughout the day and almost all the night.
  • Every household had been contributing Ksh 20/- per month (approx. $0.20) for the maintenance of the borehole. However, the funds that accumulated were too little when in 2015, the the borehole suffered an unrepairable breakdown: the metal rods broke and sank deeply into the borehole. They cannot be removed for repair.


  • The broken borewell
  • Since 2015, the situation has been dire, and people have been suffering tremendously to get access to water. Without the deep borewell, villagers walk often 2 to 5 km to a water stream or seasonal pond to fetch water to drink, cook, bath and do laundry. However, as livestock also uses the same water, it is very contaminated with dung.
  • While some people are able to collect rain water, this doesn’t last very long. Especially during the months of October, November, December, up to late February, there is generally a long drought,  and people suffer heavily.
  • A 20-liter container of clean water is being sold for between Ksh 25 and 35 ($0.25-0.35). The majority of people cannot afford this.
  • Because people drink dirty and contaminated water, and don’t have clean water for general sanitation,  there is a high rate of disease and mortality.
  • As the Rumbiye primary school lacks access to water, children are required to bring some water to school every morning. This means that they often lose hours per day to get such water, time that could be spent in a much more productive way!
A Rumbiye woman collecting water to fulfill the needs of her family (March 2020).
A local pond of which water is collected. Notice the cow dung in the foreground (picture, March 2020)

The solution: the Rumbiye water and sanitation program

  • The Kenyan chapter of Engineers Without Borders, led by Martin Aluga, was contacted and traveled to Rumbiye. They prepared a detailed needs assessment report, and came to the conclusion that there was an urgent need for a community water and sanitation project, that could be done in 2 phases:
  • Phase 1: construction of a new borehole with handpump to meet the immediate needs of the community. This project has been completed (see pictures and videoclips below).
  • Phase 2: In partnership with Rotary Club of Busia and Engineers Without Borders: development of a community water distribution and sanitation program (projected expenses: $70,000; but updated budget became $100,000)
    • Retrofitting of the existing borehole with Solar PV system.
    • Installment of a 60 cubic meter water tank on top of the hill.
    • Solar energy to automatically transfer water from the deep borewell to the water tank.
    • Distribution pipelines (2.5 km) to 3 water kiosks (including school, dispensary, and 3 other community kiosks)
    • Two separate water troughs for animals.
    • Sale of water at the 3 water kiosks (to establish a funds for maintenance and repairs).
    • Currently, community members pay at the kiosk 3 Kenyan Shillings (~$0.02)  to fill up a 20-liter water container. In other words, they pay $0.001 per liter, or $1 per 1,000 liter.
    • Training of community water committee on sustainability.
  • Phase 3: An extra $5,000 that we are trying to raise now is for these goals:
    • Construction of an additional water kiosk with water meter payment system that will be built about 10 meters away from the current water system to the dispensary. This kiosk will serve the community of Namagogo B, which has 67 households, each having 5 to 10 members.
    • Security flood light at the borewell and solar panels
    • Water treatment installation system (chlorine to remove excess iron).
    • Laptop for the operations of the program


How Sahaya and Rotary became involved:

  • One of the Rumbiye village members, pastor Kennedy Oduori, is a friend of pastor Erastus of Sahaya’s partner organization, the Rehema program. He was introduced to Sahaya founder Koen Van Rompay, and explained to him the dire needs of the Rumbiye community.
  • Koen presented the project to the Sunset Rotary Club to Davis, of which he is a member.
  • The Sunset Rotary Club members decided to get involved.
  • We were fortunate to connect with Engineers Without Borders (Kenya) to provide on-site assistance with all aspects of the program
  • In 2021, we connected with the Rotary Club of Busia to work on phase 2 of the program.


    • From left to right: Kennedy Oduori, Nicholas Kitivi (EWB), Ramin Yazdani (Sahaya), Alice Wanjohi (EWB), Koen Van Rompay (Sahaya), Martin Aluga (EWB)


Update August 2020:  Phase 1- the installation of the new borehole – is completed!

The drilling company started their work on May 4, and on May 6, the water level was reached. The new well was officially inaugurated May 25, 2020! Now we are starting to raise funds for phase II, in which through a water collection tank on top of the hill and water distribution pipelines, we hope to make it easier for people to access water without having to wait hours in line (scroll below to read more).

Here are a few videoclips of the celebrations on the day of inauguration of the new borewell.:

Celebration by the local school children

Local children and youth are enjoying having access to clean and safe water!

Kennedy (our local contact person) is demonstrating the new borewell.

Thank you from a community leader.

The local government leader also attended the inauguration.

See below for some videos and pictures of the whole process of the well installation.Then scroll further down to read more about the history of this project, including the extremely dire needs of this community, and to learn more about the exciting phase II of this project which we are planning to start on now! You can make an incredible difference also in phase II.

Click on individual pictures to see an enlarged version

Visit by RC Busia and Engineers without Borders to Rumbiye on March 1, 2022 (clip on individual pics to see enlarged version).

Some clips of daily scenes at the new borewell, and the need to do phase II:

Sahaya’s founder Koen Van Rompay (center), with Kennedy (next to him), the village leaders and members at a meeting on March 16, 2020.

From May 3, 2020 onwards, the drilling and installation process started (scroll up to top of this webpage).

Photo gallery visit of 2019 to -May  2020, with many pics taken by Sahaya founder Koen Van Rompay during his visit to Rumbiye in March 2020. This was prior to the installation of the borewell. Click on each picture to see an enlarged version