Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

This is home for Kikaka Self-Help Group, which aims to help Kitandini, Kaliani, and numerous other villages in this area of Kenya. The group is comprised of farmers who believe that if they work together to address food and water scarcity in their area, they'll grow stronger. This is Kikaka Self-Help Group's first year in partnering with us, and they look forward to having a huge impact on this region.

This area is quite a drive from our main office. It's 133 kilometers of easy driving on a highway through Wote Town, but then it gets difficult: 44 kilometers on bumpy, hilly Murram Road.

It is a rural, peaceful area. Most of the households dotting the terrain are made of brick walls and dirt floors.

Most of our baseline survey was conducted indoors since it started raining right when we arrived. A community member invited us into their home to talk, and it was very comfortable until it poured so hard that the roof started to leak!

Kikaka Self-Help Group and their neighbors make up a relatively young community, with over half of the population under 18. The average family has six members who rely on agriculture to earn a living.

Unfortunately, there are high rates of poverty here, resulting in malnutrition exacerbated by erratic weather, rising prices, and food production challenges. Many men move to other areas of Kenya in search of a better living, often just doing manual labor on more successful farms.

Each day begins early with children preparing for school and adults taking livestock out to graze. The rest of the day is spent on the farm.

There's a total of almost 4,600 people living in this region, who are part of 979 different households. 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. That's why we continue to work in the same region over a number of years.

To learn more, click here.

Water Situation

The main source of water for communities in this region is the Kinze River. This area is so dry that this river often looks like a sandy riverbed; community members have to dig holes to get the water underneath.

The trek to this water source is about five kilometers, so community members bring a donkey to help bear the heavy water containers. Since a donkey can carry four 20-liter jerrycans at once, this can cut down the number of trips a family has to take if they strictly ration.

Because they're entirely out in the open, these scoop holes are contaminated. Animals are free to come and go, and rainwater washes dirt, fertilizers, feces, and so many other things into the water.

When delivered home, this water is poured into larger drums of 200 liters or greater.

We found that only one household bothers to treat its water; some believe that this water is safe, or others say that water treatment is just too time-consuming. Group members are aware that dirty water can result in sickness, but they seem resigned to their fate.

"Our children and community members have suffered a lot because of the water problem in this area. We hope that the implementation of this project will make things better," Mr. Mwakavi Kimeu said.

Sanitation Situation

More than 80% of households have a pit latrine. Most of them are made of mud. In the particular households we were meeting, there were a lot of holes in the wall that compromise the user's privacy. The family members admit that they try and wait until there's nobody around.

From what we saw, this community needs to develop in the areas of water treatment, garbage disposal, and pit latrine cleanliness.

What we can do:


To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices, training will be offered to self-help group members and their neighbors. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and then will be able to share those with all of the community members who couldn't make it to training. 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 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 Kitandini 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 (ASDF). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Kitandini Community A

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kitandini Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kitandini Community. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

June, 2018: Kitandini Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Kitandini 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 training was planned and organized by field officer Ruth Mwanzia in collaboration with other community members. After a series of meetings and deliberations on the best venue, they agreed to hold the training at the homestead of Kimuyu Kimeu. His land provided enough shade for people to remain comfortable sitting outside on a sunny day. Attendance remained open to group members and other interested community members.

Attendance was as expected, though it decreased a little on the second and third days of training since a few of the group members wanted to do construction work before it rained.

The trainer highlighted:

- Ways to treat water

- Proper handling and storage of drinking water

- Protecting water sources

- Food preparation

- Building and using a dish drying rack

- Building and using a handwashing station

Talking about contamination routes

Everyone was willing to learn and try new things. Some of the most interactive activities involved brainstorming and planning - community members worked with us to create an action plan that will be completed over the next few years. Each time we visit Kitandini, we'll check in on their progress.

Participants' favorites were the handwashing station and soap-making activities. They enjoyed following the trainer's demonstrations and then using the finished products to wash their hands. Some participants admitted that they had already been making soap for their families, but it would go bad after a few days. They were happy to learn the proper procedure to make soap good enough to sell in the local market.

"The training was a good one and will have a good impact on our health, especially on the issues touching hygiene we have learned that it is important to maintain a good personal hygiene like for instance, washing hands after visiting latrine, with clean water and soap and we have understood through the practice, diseases will go down," shared Florence Mwikali.

"We have also gained a lot of knowledge on soap-making. This will help us maintain a very high personal hygiene, thus enabling us to control a wide range of diseases. We will also generate money from this activity. We will not incur any other cost for buying soap as we have been spending."

Hand-Dug Well

There were few challenges experienced during the construction process since the community group had collected all required sand, stone, and water on time for our cement and tool delivery. Their commitment to water projects drove them into working round the clock to complete the task.

Women carrying stones to the construction site.

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 community wasn’t even able to finish digging before torrential downpours flooded them out. They had to use a pump to drain the well and continue their work.

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, which 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 concrete needs to dry over the course of two weeks before the pump is installed.

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 another 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 builds up to the top of the wall. We wouldn’t want the pump to be buried by sand.

A little girl cleans off her jerrycan before filling it with water.

This self-help group is excited to not only use the water from this well but to manage and maintain this precious resource too. They've been trained on everything down to group dynamics, governance, and financial management. It was wonderful to share smiles at the well as clean water was pumped for the first time!

March, 2018: Kitandini Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Kitandini 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. The community will also attend hygiene and sanitation training to learn about practices that improve health. 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 Videos

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.

Giving Update: Kitandini Community A

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kitandini Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Ruth Ngulu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kitandini Community 1B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kitandini Community 1B maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

The environment of Kaliani and Kitandini villages has improved and regained its stature in the year since the completion of their sand dam and hand-dug well. The area is very green with most farms bordering the water source being full of food crops to harvest.

Community members are happy.

"The water we attain now is very clean and fresh for drinking," said Francis Mutua, Chair of the water committee for the well and dam.

"The sand dam has harvested volumes of water which we have used for farming and the plantation of French beans. This extensive farming has provided job opportunities for young adults in the area which has reduced robbery and drug abuse."

The people here are hard workers whose major activity is farming. The community members have harnessed the water harvested by their sand dam for farming of French beans which are sold to be exported to other countries. Thanks to the water project, the community members were identified by an international export company to farm French beans for sale. This is a big milestone for them as they are earning an income and can now sustain their families' needs.

One person who has experienced the benefits of the water from the dam is Ruth Ngulu, a 36-year-old farmer. She has a 2-acre plot of land that sat idle for many years because there was not enough water. Now, it is full of crops.

"Since the water project was constructed in this area, I farm exclusively for agribusiness," she said.

"I have planted French beans, maize, tomatoes, and kale. Using water pumps, I draw water from the river to my farm for irrigation."

Personal and household compound hygiene is easily achieved because the water project is near community members' homesteads. Thanks to the soapmaking and handwashing training, people here always wash their hands after visiting the latrine using soap and water, said Mr. Mutua. As a result, there are fewer cases of diarrhea and stomachaches being reported.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kitandini Community 1B maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Kitandini Community 1B – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation