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: 12/22/2022

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

The Mitini Self-Help Group was formed in 2013 and registered with the government in 2015. It started with a membership of 40 people, but currently only has 30 active members. Its leadership committee is composed of 11 members; two male and nine female. The average age is 53 years and the mean number of family members is five.

The group is located at Mitini Village, which has a population of 8,478 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.)

Subsistence agriculture is the main source of livelihood for this community. When the rainfall pattern is better, the members harvest enough both for their families and to sell at the local market to earn money for other needs.

Water Situation

The main source of water for the Mitini Self-Help group is the river, where they scoop holes in the sand to get drinking water. During the dry periods they have to walk for long distances by the river, looking for areas where they can scoop holes and find water. Some members have been able to afford a plastic tank and gutter to catch rainwater, which lasts for a few weeks before needing another rain.

62-year-old Annah Mueni is a farmer who doesn't have any alternative but to fetch water from the river.  "We fetch water from an underneath scoop holes at our stony river called Katheka. It's always crowded with many people fetching water from the same water point. It takes more than 30 minutes waiting for my turn. At my home, I don't treat drinking water. I use it for cooking, drinking and other household activities," she shared.

The water fetched from the holes is dirty, contaminated by erosion and surface runoff that washes things like animal feces into the water. Community members admitted that after drinking, they've suffered from waterborne illnesses like typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

100% of group members have a pit latrine at their home, though most of them just have a curtain hanging in the doorway that provides little privacy. There are no working hand-washing stations, but families do have other helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines.

Around half of members pile their garbage up behind their compounds. To keep litter from blowing around in the wind and animals out, each home needs to have a deep pit to throw garbage in.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Since this is our first hygiene and sanitation training in Mitini, training will be held for three 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.

Plans: 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 Mitini Village, and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.

Project Updates

05/15/2019: A Year Later: Mitini Community Hand-Dug Well

A year ago, your generous donation helped us construct a hand-dug well for Mitini Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more…

03/13/2018: Mitini Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Mitini 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. You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this hand-dug well and hundreds of other projects.

This well and dam system is currently maturing, and will begin serving the community after it receives its first rains. We look forward to reaching out again as soon as we receive pictures of this pump yielding clean water!

Project Result: New Knowledge

The field officers worked closely with the self-help group chairman, Alexander Kitavi, to arrange for hygiene and sanitation training. They wanted the best dates to ensure the attendance of all group members. Even community members who weren’t a part of the self-help group were invited to attend. Mr. Kitavi also offered up his land as venue for the sessions.

Both attendance and participation were great. Everyone was willing to learn new things, and promised to start practicing everything. There were four overall goals throughout these sessions:

- show the relationship between sanitation and health

- encourage community members to care for their water sources and build sanitation facilities at their homes and nearby the water points (but not too close!)

- help community members improve hygiene behaviors

- teach about diarrheal diseases and how to prevent them

We drew maps, brainstormed, investigated current issues and habits, explored the community, and made an action plan. We used illustrations to teach about the differences between good and bad hygiene habits. We discussed how different daily practices are connected and how germs spread, and could then list ways to build barriers.

Discussing the connections between different daily activities and how to stop the spread of germs.

We taught how hand-washing is one of the most effective barriers, when and how to do so, and how to build a simple hand-washing station. We also made our own soap together, and the group looks forward to both using this soap for themselves and selling it in the local market.

We built this "tippy-tap" together for our hand-washing demonstration.

Mr. Kyalo Mutinda said, "The training has been good and has a good impact on our health, especially on latrine construction by our water points to prevent water contamination. I have also learnt the importance of personal hygiene. For instance, washing hands after visiting the latrine with clean water and soap, and I have understood the diseases transmission route. Apart from the knowledge that we have gained on hygiene, we have also learnt how to make soap. This is an important activity for generating income. From the cash that we will generate, we will be able to do some investments and generate more money."

Mixing soap

Project Result: 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. As sand builds up around the well walls, it 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 becomes clean and clear.

We used a lot of concrete to construct this particular well pad, building a ramp up to the pump. The pump has been installed level with the top of the sand dam because as the dam matures, sand will build up to the top. We wouldn't want the pump to be buried by sand! The ramp will allow people to get clean water after the first rainy season.

Mr. Kyalo Mutinda said, "On the issue of water safety, the presence of a shallow well will mean access to safe drinking water. The time we have been spending going to get water from the sources will be minimized, and the money we have been spending too. The extra hours that we have been going to fetch water will be utilized in doing some other activities at home and for personal development." This hand-dug well was built simultaneously with the adjacent sand dam (to see the sand dam, click here). The sand dam will collect sand that stores and filters huge amounts of water, water that will then be accessed safely through the pump by Mr. Mutinda and hundreds of other community members!

01/15/2018: Mitini Community Project Underway

Mitini 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, which will bring clean water closer to hundreds. Together, these resources will go a long way in stopping disease, hunger, and thirst in the area! We just posted a report including community details, maps, and pictures. We will keep you posted as the work continues!

Project Photos

Project Type

Dug Well and Hand Pump

Hand-dug wells are best suited for clay, sand, gravel and mixed soil ground formations. A large diameter well is dug by hand, and then lined with either bricks or concrete to prevent contamination and collapse of the well. Once a water table is hit, the well is capped and a hand-pump is installed – creating a complete and enclosed water system.


Holiday Matching Gift 2017
1 individual donor(s)