Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/16/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The Kyumbe Women’s Group was formed in 2012 and later registered with the government in 2014. It has a current membership of 26 women. It is found in Kyumbe Village of Machakos County, Kenya. Their greater area has a total population of 2,176 people.

(Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This community is a great candidate for a second project in the future so adequate clean water is available. To learn more, click here.)

The main objective for the group is economic stability through table banking, and the group also has tents and kitchenware for lending out during social events. These endeavors help all the women have enough money to send their children to school. The average age of group members is 50 years and the mean household membership is five members. A few of these members are widowed.

A majority of the women depend on casual labor and farming for their livelihoods, earning an average monthly income of 3,000 shillings.

Members of Kyumbe Women’s Group heard about us from members of Mbuuni Self-Help Group. They then approached our field officer, Benson Kituku, with a request for support. Kyumbe was an obvious choice after we witnessed their water and sanitation challenges.


These women and their neighbors fetch water at springs that bubble up from the ground. These springs pool enough to allow a small cup to be dunked continuously to fill a 20-liter jerrycan. When these springs dry up for part of the year, community members must walk up to five kilometers to get water at a county government borehole.

Though the water fetched from unprotected springs is contaminated, it is closer to home and much more convenient. Mrs. Sapheth Kitema said, “We fetch water from an unprotected river source which is shared with livestock and drink it without treating. We also use it for other household chores.” After drinking this water, people suffer from waterborne diseases like typhoid and bilharzia.


All members of Kyumbe Women’s Group have a pit latrine, with quality depending on each family’s economic status. Most were dilapidated and missing doors; instead, a curtain was hung in the opening. Just a couple of women had a container with water for washing hands after using the latrine. However, they didn’t have soap or ash for scrubbing.

Less than half have other helpful sanitation tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Around half of the families just throw their trash in a pile behind their homestead. Only six families had purchased a garbage bin.

Here's what we're going to do about it:


To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices in Kyumbe Community, training will be offered to self-help group members on three consecutive days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and then will be able to share those with their families and neighbors. Water transport, storage, and treatment methods will be taught, and hand-washing will be a focus. Group members will learn how to make their own hand-washing stations with everyday materials. To motivate participants, we must show the links between these activities and their people’s health.

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s ongoing sand dam project (click here to see), which will supply clean drinking water once it rains. We have supplied the group with the tools needed for excavation. With the guidance of our artisans and mechanics, the excavated well will be cased, sealed with a well pad, and then finished with a new AfriDev pump.

Excavation takes a month or more on average, depending on the nature of the rock beneath. Construction of the well lining and installation of the pump takes 12 days maximum. The well will be lined with a concrete wall including perforations so that once it rains, water will filter in from the sand dam.

This well will be located in Kyumbe Village, and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

April, 2018: Kyumbe Community Well Complete

Kyumbe Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new hand-dug well has been constructed adjacent to a sand dam. The dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Community members have also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors.

New Knowledge

The field officers worked closely with the self-help group chairman to arrange for hygiene and sanitation training. They wanted the best dates to ensure the attendance of all group members. For three days of training, there was an average of 17 group members who met at Bernadette Ngui's homestead. Since her home is within walking distance of the new sand dam, we could take participants over there to talk about the ongoing construction.

In the first session, we had the participants share their expectations. What was it that they wanted to learn about most? Many wanted to learn about how to make sure water is clean for drinking. Thus, we started out by talking about water treatment methods.

We also taught about hand-washing; when to wash, how to wash, and how to build a hand-washing station. We talked about how to handle and store food, clean latrines, practice personal hygiene, and build a dish rack and animal shed. The participants were active in their learning, and were dedicated to putting together an action plan to implement everything they learned.

Participants gather around as we practiced hand-washing

To cap it all off, we taught group members how to make soap. This will not only help each household to stay clean, but will give them an opportunity to earn money by selling the soap.

Mixing soap

Mrs. Ngui was thrilled to have hosted such a great training.

"It has helped me learn many new things about hygiene. I learned about water hygiene; personally, I used to treat drinking water only for the little children but from today I will be treating water for the whole family," she shared.

"I never knew anything on latrine hygiene. I have constructed my pit latrine just next to the kitchen but through this training I have learned about the recommended World Health Organization spacing on latrine construction and I promise I will construct a new one following the guidelines I learned."

Hand-Dug Well

We delivered the experts and materials, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand and water.

A hole seven feet in diameter is excavated up to a recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells don’t reach that depth due to the existence of hard rocks between 10-18 ft.).

The diameter then shrinks to five feet when construction of the hand-dug well lining is completed. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through. The sand that builds up around the well walls will naturally filter the rainwater that’s stored behind the dam.

Once the construction of the lining reaches ground level, a precast concrete slab is laid on top and joined to the wall using mortar. Four bolts for the hand-pump are fixed on the slab during casting.

The mechanics arrive to install the pump as community members watch, learning how to manage and maintain the pump for themselves. The well is then given a few days after installing the pump, allowing the joints to completely dry.

After it rains the first time, communities are advised to pump out the water that seeps into the well because it needs to be cleaned out after construction. After pumping that for a while, the water turns clean and clear.

The pump was installed level with the top of the sand dam (click here to see that project) because as the dam matures, sand will build up to the top of the wall.

We wouldn’t want the pump to be buried by sand! The more sand that’s built up, the less this well will look like an island, and people will no longer have to use the steps to get up.

"We will now have clean water for drinking and for domestic use. Our area receives inadequate rains but with the sand dam, we will have water to sustain us even during dry periods," Mrs. Ngui said.

And thanks to this new well, Mrs. Ngui and her community have a safe way to access clean water.

March, 2018: Kyumbe Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Kyumbe Community in Kenya will have a clean source of water, thanks to your generous donation. A new well is being constructed adjacent to a new sand dam, and the community will attend an important training on sanitation and hygiene practices. As you know, we've been hard at work in Kyumbe, and we'd love to introduce you to what we've been doing: Check out the project page for an introduction to the community, maps, and pictures. We look forward to reaching out again with even more exciting news.

Project Photos

Project Type

Hand-dug wells have been an important source of water throughout human history! Now, we have so many different types of water sources, but hand-dug wells still have their place. Hand dug wells are not as deep as borehole wells, and work best in areas where there is a ready supply of water just under the surface of the ground, such as next to a mature sand dam. Our artisans dig down through the layers of the ground and then line the hole with bricks, stone, or concrete, which prevent contamination and collapse. Then, back up at surface level, we install a well platform and a hand pump so people can draw up the water easily.


Master Pools Guild
1 individual donor(s)