A Year Later: Kavumbu Community Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

Initially, we’d walk seven kilometers to Miseke River in order to fetch drinking water, but now it tales less than 30 minutes.

A Year Later: Kavumbu Community Hand-Dug Well

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Syakama Self-Help Group in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partners Joe Kioko and Mutheu Mutune with you.


This area has changed drastically since the installation of a hand-dug well last year. Before, people had to walk half the day to find water. Now, they have it close to home: The distance has decreased from five kilometers to less than a kilometer. Nearly everyone has planted trees that will conserve the environment.

Time initially wasted is now used for other income-generating activities. The adjacent dam is filled with sand, and people from as far as three kilometers away come to this water point to fetch clean water. Washing clothes is much easier due to the soft water from the project.

John Kyalo, Mwongeli, and Field Officer Mutheu

The project has been supplying them with water throughout the year, which means they’re no longer losing their livestock during the dry season. Because of the water availability, the children are cleaner and the environment is greener.

We met self-help group member John Kyalo at the dam. He said, “My life has changed positively because initially I couldn’t plant vegetables, and I was just a casual laborer. I am now able to grow vegetables which I sell. This month, I have made 8,000 shillings from sale of spinach, kales and tomatoes. I no longer struggle paying school fees for my children. As a result of this shallow well, some waterborne diseases have decreased. We also make bricks for sale and build better houses.”

Mr. John Kyalo talking about how the well has changed life in his community.

14-year-old Mwongeli Muswawa is happy that she can now run and fetch water on her own, which is used at home to help with chores. She said she’s grateful for the “reduced distance to the water source. Initially, we’d walk seven kilometers to Miseke River in order to fetch drinking water, but now it tales less than 30 minutes.”

Mwongeli shies away from the camera as Field Officer Mutheu interviews her.

However, it’s worth noting that the adjacent sand dam is still maturing. Since this is one of Syakama’s newest projects, it was especially susceptible to the severe drought this last year. Though the well is often serving the community by bringing clean water closer to home, there are still times when water is not available, and people have to travel to other sources.

As the young sand dam continues to mature through the rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water, the hand-dug well will become more reliable.

Most of our other southeastern Kenya projects are like this too; they are systems that need time to mature in order to provide clean, reliable water throughout drought. We look forward to this happening here, and are excited to monitor the transformation!

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

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