A Year Later: Kilala North Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

The water is usually soft and clean which clears dirt from our clothes. Our brothers and I are very clean as a result, and we are usually very comfortable in school because we no longer go to school with dirty clothes.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Kilala North 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 Catherine Mwende and Titus Mbithi with you.

In the last year, having water nearby has enabled community members to irrigate their group farm for successfully harvesting kale, onion, sweet potato, yam, spinach and coriander. What they don’t eat at home, they sell in the local market. They’ve already managed to save 4,000 shillings. The survivability of tree saplings has doubled, as people have more than enough water to meet their needs. Women even tend to kitchen gardens right on their homesteads to provide easy accessibility to vegetables and herbs for meals.

When the sand dam builds up sand and stores water, this hand-dug well is able to pump clean, safe water from the catchment area.

A picture from our monitoring survey, completed in June 2017.

We met Mr. Dominic Mulinge at the well, who is the chairman in charge of its management and maintenance. He said “Initially, families spent a lot of money buying food for family use. Now, we grow vegetables which have helped cut the cost of living and bringing up our families. Money made from vegetable sales has been invested in table banking to make it grow. Water has been brought close to our homesteads, and getting to the channel and back is more fun and joyous.” He continued saying that “Water is still not enough, like we had expected. We expected to be the leading suppliers of piped water and vegetables at the local market, but that is not the case yet. This is because the dam is not yet mature and the water captured is usually very little. The well runs for a few months before it dries. The amount of rainfall received has not been enough.”

Mr. Mulinge describes how this hand-dug well has served him and his community throughout the last year.

Munyao Nzioki

13-year-old Munyao Nzioki has also benefited from the well over the past year. He added, “I have been using this water to wash utensils, my clothes, cleaning the house and taking bath. The water is usually soft and clean which clears dirt from our clothes. Our brothers and I are very clean as a result, and we are usually very comfortable in school because we no longer go to school with dirty clothes.”

This group has benefitted greatly from the project: the various trainings provided to the members have been heeded, and diseases among the members have dropped. Their lands are now terraced to prevent soil erosion. They even used the well to make bricks in order to construct better houses and to sell.

As the young sand dam continues to mature through the rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water, this 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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