Rumbiye water & sanitation program

Sahaya International is happy to partner with Rotary International and Engineers Without Borders-Kenya.

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




Update April 2021:  Phase 1 of the program (installation of the new borehole) is completed and we are now raising funds for Phase 2 (community water distribution).

Many thanks to everyone who has been supporting us to bring phase I to completion!  This includes 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).

We are currently raising funds for phase 2. Scroll below to read more about phase 2, which is done via a partnership with the Rotary Club of Busia (Kenya) and Engineers Without Borders-Kenya. We are already grateful to several Rotary Clubs that have sent in donations towards phase 2:

  • Dodge City Rotary Club (Kansas)
  •  Vacaville Rotary Club (California)
  • Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club (California)

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

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

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.
A local pond of which water is collected. Notice the cow dung in the foreground.

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 to meet the immediate needs of the community. The projected cost is $21,300.
  • 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)
    • 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 (to establish a funds for maintenance and repairs).
    • Training of community water committee on sustainability.

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.

    From left to right: Kennedy Oduori, Nicholas Kitivi (EWB), Ramin Yazdani (Sahaya), Alice Wanjohi (EWB), Koen Van Rompay (Sahaya), Martin Aluga (EWB)
  • For the Phase 1 project, which is estimated at approximately $21,300, the Sunset Rotary Club Davis applied for and received a $10,000 District Grant from Rotary District 5160. In addition, the club used proceeds of their fundraising events, and also received generous donations were received from several other Rotary clubs in the area: Davis Sunrise, Davis Noon, Woodland Sunrise, and Winters Rotary Clubs.
  • To allow supporters to make a tax-deductible donation, in April 2020, the board of directors of Sahaya International voted to bring this project also under their fiscal umbrella.
  • Click here to read the April 29 Davis Enterprise article about this project.

You can be part of this and help to bring water and sanitation to the Rumbiye community

Any contribution makes a difference and helps us a step forward. We are grateful to everyone who has already contributed.

We are currently in the final stages of completing phase I (the borehole project). After that, donations will go towards phase II.

If you like to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can do so in different ways:

  • To pay by credit card or paypal, go to our donation page. When you make the donation, enter in the “in honor of” or notes section “Rumbiye” so we know your donation is earmarked for this project.
  • You can mail a check, made payable to “Sahaya International” to us. Add in the notes field “Rumbiye”.

Sahaya International
1504 Portola Street
Davis, CA 95616

Any funds that are raised beyond the budget for the Phase 1 borehole project will be set aside for the Phase 2 project.

Many thanks for your generous support!

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 : click on each picture to see an enlarged version