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Water For All - Stories from the field

Sir Richard Branson launches the Water For All solar pump

With support from Virgin Atlantic more than 650 students at Sekenani Primary are now enjoying the benefits of a safe reliable source of water.

Situated 100 metres from the main gateway to the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve, the Sekenani Primary school provides an education for more than 650 children. Although many of the students at Sekenani have achieved exceptional grades, the condition of the school was not conducive to a healthy learning environment. The school did not have access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation facilities, or adequate housing for its many boarders.

The school caught the eye of Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Group, on one of his many trips to Kenya. Virgin Atlantic wanted to make improvements to the school, and reached out to Water For All to help provide a solution for the school’s water needs.

In May 2008, Water For All installed a solar water pumping system manufactured by Mono Pumps for the Sekenani Primary School and its students. In the true spirit of collaboration, staff from Water For All, Virgin Atlantic, Mono Pumps, and the school discussed several options, including a merry-go-round pump and hand pump. Given that the existing borehole was located on the outside of the school’s perimeter fence, and that there is a high concentration of animals in the area, the group decided a solar pump that required no human interaction would be the best option.

IGirls at Sekenani Primary try out their new Lifestraws® purifiersnstead of relying on expensive fuel or electricity, the power of the sun pumps water from deep underground into an overhead storage tank. A simple gravity feed channels the water to newly installed sinks and showers. The 1200 watt solar pump provides more than 24,000 litres of water for the school each day. The water is being used for drinking, meals, the school garden, hygiene, and sanitation.

In addition to the powerful solar pump, all of the students and teachers at Sekenani Primary also received the Lifestraw®, a personal water purifier for use at home. Each water purifier filters 700 litres of water and is portable. As many of the students come from pastoralist families whose livelihoods depending on livestock, the water purifiers will be of great use during the long treks to find grazing land.


The new 10,000 litre water tank arrives for the windmill pump Students from Sekenani look on as the Mono solor pump is installed

While assessing the needs at the school, Water For All and Virgin Atlantic staff also toured the local community to understand their water issues as well. We discovered a windmill that had been a source of water for the community. Unfortunately, the windmill had been broken for more than a year.

When Sir Richard Branson heard that that the community was also without access to clean water, he challenged Water For All to make the windmill operational again. In June, Water For All replaced the piping and fittings on the windmill and installed a new 10,000 litre water tank which will provide ready access to water for the community throughout the day.
Sir Richard Branson celebrates the new solar pump with Water For All and Mono staff