A Year Later: Matoma Nyumba Kumi Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

Since this project was completed, people have been asking to join our group because of the benefits they have seen: they’ve seen water brought closer to home, and the various trainings and exchange visits that we have been exposed to are things they’d love to take part in.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Matoma Nyumba Kumi 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 Boniface Mavindu and Titus Mbithi with you.


People used to walk four kilometers for two hours to find water. Once there, they’d spend up to three hours lined up to draw water. There has been such a significant change since the hand-dug well brought clean water closer to home. Time that was initially wasted in search of clean water can now used for other economic activities like terracing farms.

Water from those initial sources wasn’t clean, either, and the group members had no knowledge of how to treat that dirty water. With the nearby hand-dug well, water is now safe for drinking. And the group has been trained on treating drinking water, which has greatly reduced the cases of waterborne diseases.

Muthei Mutune interviewing Agnes Kyengo at the hand-dug well.

Agnes Kyengo is the treasurer for her self-help group, which means she also oversees any money raised for well maintenance. She met with us at the well to talk about how it’s changed her life. “Since this project was completed, people have been asking to join our group because of the benefits they have seen: they’ve seen water brought closer to home, and the various trainings and exchange visits that we have been exposed to are things they’d love to take part in. Fruit production has increased in the community because we have been in a position to water our fruit trees. Some have borne fruits while others are almost getting to the stage of bearing fruits, and we have been trained on grafting; soon we will be the leading suppliers of fruits in the region. Our income has increased as a result of practicing vegetable farming because we water the kale, spinach, and onions at our kitchen gardens using the water from the dam. We sell some of these vegetables to get money to pay school fees, buy clothes for our children and other needs. These vegetables are consumed by our families too, which helps improve our health. The meals have increased from two meals a day to three,” she shared.

Ngei Muthoka

We met 17-year-old Ngei Muthoka to hear his perspective. He said, “Since the project completion, my tree nursery has increased in production due to water availability. Of the 50 trees I planted, 45 have survived. I am grateful for this project, and I hope in the near future I will be earning income once I am out of school.

The water from the sand dam has enabled me to make bricks for constructing my house, and I sold 500 at eight shillings each and I got a total of 4,000 shillings. I used the money to pay for my school fees. My parents were happy because the money they were to pay for my school fees they used to meet other needs such as clothing my siblings.” But he continued by saying, “The water availability at the well is periodic, and at times we are forced to travel… to fetch water for both household use and watering tree nurseries.”


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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