Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 456 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/01/2024

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

Kianguni Self-Help Group is made up of several community members living in Katung'uli Community. They aim to work together to seek financial stability. Members of the Kianguni Self-Help Group heard about us from members of Itatini, Kwa Kitilo and Wendo wa Mwau Self-Help Groups. Ever since they heard about the sand dam projects we've been doing with those groups, they have been volunteering at different times to help with construction. They approached our field officer with a request for support, and after verifying that they had the relevant registration documents, they were put on the mandatory 6-month probation period. After that we went back to verify their water challenges and their need for support through baseline activities. The evidence to warrant support was sufficient, and the group was taken on board.

68% of the members reported that they rely on casual labor as their main source of income, which involves doing odd jobs on other people’s businesses or farms. An interesting find is that this is regardless of their level of education; from the interviews, we found out that those involved in casual labor are the most literate. Only 14% of the respondents report that farming is their main source of income. These are the people who have planted crops on their farms, which are fully grown. However, their income is seasonal and therefore not reliable. The other 18% rely on other activities like small businesses and remittances from relatives as their sources of income. Those relying on casual labor make 3,000 to 10,000 shillings while the 9% who depend on farming earn an average income below 3,000. This is because the rain pattern of the area is erratic, leading to poor yields or no yields at all.

Water Situation

Water in most parts of Makueni is collected from open scoop holes in sandy, seasonal rivers using 20-liter plastic jerrycans. These are then loaded onto donkeys or ox-drawn carts. If a household is too poor to afford either of those, then the last resort is to carry it home on their backs. However, most households will have at least one donkey. Of late, households that can afford it use motorbikes to carry water home.

For members of Kianguni, the longest distance covered to a water source is four kilometers, which takes over two hours. The respondents who cover this distance make up 59% of the total respondents! 27% of the members walk for about three kilometers, taking 1-2 hours to get to the water point. The rest take 30 minutes to an hour, with only 5% within an acceptable distance of one kilometer.

The scoop holes at the river are entirely open to different sources of contamination. They are especially dirty after it rains, when rainwater washes farming chemicals, feces, and dirt into the water.

After drinking this water, rampant waterborne diseases and resultant treatment costs become the norm. Common diseases include amoeba, typhoid, bilharzia and ringworm. Long hours have been wasted walking to and lining up at water points. All these have economic implications in the sense that treatment costs divert substantial family income and the time lost on one activity alone could have been used in other income-generating activities.

Sanitation Situation

Over 75% of households have at least a basic pit latrine. Those we visited are beginning to wear down, and lack doors with just curtains hanging in the openings. Out of 39 households, only four report to have a dedicated place to wash their hands.

36% of households have a proper garbage pit to keep litter away from wild animals, while the rest pile their garbage in open places.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Since this is our first hygiene and sanitation training in Katung'uli, 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 Katung'uli Village, and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Katung'uli 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 Katung'uli, 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.

The line for the handwashing station.

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.

May, 2019: A Year Later: Katunguli Community Hand-Dug Well

A year ago, generous donors enabled us to build a hand-dug well for Katunguli Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow 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…

March, 2018: Katung'uli Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Katung'uli 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge

The field officers worked closely with the self-help group chairman, Arbunus Munyao, 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. A portion of training took place in a small hall at Katung'uli Market, a central venue for all the group members. Being the rainy season, it was good to have a roof to keep everyone dry. There was an average of 31 people there each day.

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.

Participants doing a role-play that demonstrates the importance of working together.

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.

The trainer helping a little boy practice hand-washing.

Mr. Arbunus Munyao said, "The training was good! I have never learnt anything about hygiene in the past, but this week I had the opportunity to do that. I was very worried because the old members in our group kept asking me how they will learn because they have never been to school, but now they are very happy because the methods used during the training were simple for all of us. Am thankful to the trainers, because you taught us so much on hygiene and sanitation."

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.

The pump has been 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 wade through water that's flooded the riverbed.

Mr. Arbunus Munyao said, "We had a big water problem in our community. The area is very dry but the new sand dam and shallow well have solved the problem. It is the first dam [and hand-dug well] to be constructed in the community. We now have clean water for drinking and for domestic use!"

January, 2018: Katung'uli Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Katung'uli 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

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.


Project Underwriter - Dr Chris Flannigan
2 individual donor(s)