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: 12/13/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

Katalwa Twooka Oyu Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2007 and registered with local government in the year 2009. The group is found in Katuluni Village, which has a population of just 47 people. However, their great location has a population of 2,256 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 will be a great candidate for a second project in the future so that adequate clean water is available. To learn more, click here.)

The self-help group has a membership of 23 people who started the group with the aim of doing merry-go-round banking, poultry, and goat farming. They also wish to help each other do terracing on their farms and establish kitchen gardens. But due to the issue of not having enough water in their region, they were not in a position to start gardening. The average age is 54 years, with the mean household size being five members.

A while back, the son of one of the members who works as a lab technician in Garissa District Hospital saw ASDF's profile on Facebook. He then contacted the area's field manager, Cornelius Kato, and expressed his interest to put forward groups from his village. He and the area chief brought together 12 groups for us to meet with. From this pool, three pilot self-help groups were chosen - but Katalwa Twooka Oyu was not one of them. They instead opted to help one of the pioneer groups finish all of their activities as they leaned about how these projects worked. Later, when they felt ready to start, they gave the area field officer, Benedetta Makau, their registration documents and were fully brought on board for this water project!


Katuluni Village relies on holes dug in the riverbed to get their water. This is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering livestock and farms. River Nuu is located over two kilometers for many people, and so it's helpful to bring a donkey that can carry a heavier load.

There is no doubt this water is contaminated; this surface water is subjected to erosion, dirty surface runoff, and animal waste. The group reports that during the driest months of the year, they have to walk farther along the riverbed to find any water at all - up to five kilometers.

"Fetching water has always been a hard task. I walk for more than five kilometers to River Nuu with a donkey to fetch water from open scoop holes. I have no knowledge of water treatment methods and other sanitation practices," reported Mrs. Margaret Kasau.

After drinking this water, community members suffer from typhoid, amoeba, bilharzia, and ringworm. On top of all the time it took to get water, more time is lost as they fight waterborne diseases.


100% of group members have a latrine at home. Most of these don't have doors, but instead have curtains hanging in the opening. Despite each household having a latrine, open defecation is still an issue here.   There's no good place to relieve oneself on the long walk to water!

There are no hand-washing stations here, while around half of households have other helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Trash is disposed of improperly, with piles behind the household compound.

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


Since this is our first hygiene and sanitation training in Kataluni, training will be held for four days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and will be encouraged 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 first 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 Kataluni 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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Katuluni Community

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Katuluni, Kenya.

We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point,

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

April, 2018: Kataluni Community Well Complete

Kataluni Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new hand-dug well was constructed adjacent to a sand dam. The dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Community members 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.

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 their water becomes contaminated, and by what.

We took participants out into their community to find potential contaminants, and we demonstrated how these contaminate an entire body of water.

Demonstrating how water is easily contaminated

We mapped out the community together: plotting all of the water sources, households, latrines, and many other things. This map helped us draft an action plan so we could work on solving the most important issues first.

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 training was very educative," Mr. Pius Kavila said.

"Personally as the chairman, I will be having some refresher trainings with the group to remind them what we've learnt today. I was very much impressed with the topics on importance of having a latrine and its cleanliness, personal hygiene, water treatment, and how feces can cause diseases. We also learned that it's important to keep our water sources clean and fenced to keep them from contamination."

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. Sand builds up around the well walls and 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 a few days after installing the pump to allow the joints to completely dry. Communities are advised to pump out the water that seeps into the well after it rains for the first time 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 learned that it’s important to keep our water sources clean and our well fenced to prevent them from contamination. We are also pleased to have a shallow well which is covered. We are assured of access to clean drinking water," Mr. Pius Kavila said.

"From the knowledge that we have gained on water hygiene, we will use it to treat our water to prevent waterborne diseases."

March, 2018: Kataluni Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Kataluni 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 a review on important sanitation and hygiene practices. As you know, we've been hard at work in Kataluni, 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)