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: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Ndue Nguu Self-Help Group is comprised of several farmers from a large region in southeastern Kenya. They came together to address water and food scarcity in Kivandini Village and the surrounding communities through the sharing of resources and the building of new water and agriculture projects.

It is a peaceful and hilly rural area about five kilometers from Wote Town. Some 40 different households dot the landscape, with each having an average of five family members. Their homes are usually made of mud bricks and carved stones.

Most people depend on farming and make an average of 3,000 shillings ($30) per month. Children head out to school in the early morning after which their parents head straight to the farm.


The majority of people in this area rely on water vendors. They're in the water business because the water source is far, and they have the motorbikes needed to cover the distance. They fill 20-liter containers with water from the Ndue Nguu River and sell them for 50 shillings ($0.50) each. Some people make the more than mile-long walk to the Ndue Nguu River for themselves.

The water fetched from Ndue Nguu is contaminated. This river is a sandy riverbed for most of the year. Community members have dug holes to access the water underground. Though the women who travel to the river are saving the money that would have been paid to vendors, they are not saving their time or their health.

"Water shortage has been a problem in our village. We fetch water from unsafe sources that are shared with livestock, resulting in a prevalence of different waterborne diseases," Mr. Bernard Mbithi said.

When delivered home, water is stored in larger 200-liter drums or an even larger tank. A couple households have been able to afford a large plastic tank that catches rainwater but must strictly ration water to avoid buying from vendors or traveling to the river themselves.

Hygiene and Sanitation

All households have a pit latrine, though most don't have doors for privacy. These are a mix of permanent and semi-permanent structures, depending on the economic status of each household. Mud floors make these latrines difficult to clean.

We came across one or two handwashing stations, but there was no soap available.

More than 80% of the people here aren't doing any type of water treatment, not even boiling. This was a surprise since this area is so close to urban Wote Town.

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


To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices, training will be offered to self-help group members and any willing community 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 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 Kivandi 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 (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Kivandini Community

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

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

June, 2018: Kivandini Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Kivandini 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned and coordinated by field officer Rhoda Ndindi in collaboration with the community and self-help group members. Training was held at the homestead of Sarah Matheka, who is the treasurer of the Ndue Nguu Pamoja Self-Help Group. All we welcome to attend, and it drew the attention of both this specific group and their neighbors. There were way more participants than we expected, including a self-help group from a different community.

Mrs. Matheka's property had enough trees to shade participants when it was sunny, and enough room inside to host them when 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

People's favorite activities were all hands-on. They enjoyed analyzing problems by sorting illustrations of daily habits into piles of good, in-between, and bad practices. They learned how to prevent illness by doing the right things, and were surprised that these good practices were both affordable and sustainable.

"We have learned different infrastructures that we should implement to help us maintain proper hygiene; infrastructures that are cheap and affordable," a participant said.

They also loved making simple handwashing stations with sticks, thread, and a jerrycan. They were surprised that these could be made as hands-free stations with materials that they already owned.

"From the training we have had, we have really gained a lot of knowledge on hygiene and sanitation and more so on lifestyle. We will adjust our lifestyle to suit a style that will prevent us from lifestyle diseases. We will save a lot of money that we have been using for treatment if we adhere to the training content," Mr. Philip Munyao said.

He continued, "On the other hand, waterborne diseases will be minimized because we have enough knowledge of water treatment. We will also improve on our group's income as well as a personal level through soap-making. Apart from the money that we will generate, we will improve on our homestead hygiene since the soap is multi-purpose; we will wash our hands, clean our utensils, houses, and wash clothes."

Mr. Munyao is 89 years old; living proof that you're never too old to start something new.

Mixing ingredients to make soap

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.

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 well is raised to the top of the sand dam to allow sand to build up around the lining.

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 well was flushed out after the first rains to allow fresh clean water to filter through the lining.

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.

May, 2018: Kivandini Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Dirty water from scoop holes is making people in Kivandini Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good 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.

Giving Update: Kivandini Community A

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kivandini in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Michael Mbithi. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kivandini 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 lives of many community members in Kivandini have changed in the year since the completion of the sand dam and hand-dug well. For Michael Mbithi, the access to water throughout the year and near his home allowed him to start his own brickmaking business. He is now selling the bricks he makes using water from the dam to make $40 per shipment.

"With that money, I am able to pay school fees for my children and cater for other family needs," he said during a recent visit to the community.

Kivandini community members are marveling at the surplus supply of water that has been attained in their region. The distance traveled to fetch water has reduced as the water source is just a stone's throw away from most homesteads. The water table is very high and the water fetched from the shallow well is fresh for drinking.

"The water source is 300 meters away from my home which makes the performance of household duties very seamless," said Caro Kithiaka.

Caro Kithiaka

"I created a vegetable garden near the water project where I have planted kales; this allows for a variety of meals at home."

The time that was spent in pursuit of water in the past is now channeled to income-generating activities such as farming and brickmaking. People like Caro and Michael are thriving thanks to the water made available from the dam.

Michael holds one of the bricks he made with water from the dam

There are other benefits realized by the community, too. Bathing which would occur once or twice a week is now a daily activity. Overall hygiene and sanitation is getting better due to both the access to the water and the lessons learned during the training.

"We always wash our hands before eating and after visiting the latrines with soap and water. There are fewer cases of stomachaches and diarrhea in my family as I have administered a handwashing habit in my home," Caro said.

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 Kivandini 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 Kivandini 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.