Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Failure by successive governments to develop this region of Kenya has led to locals working hard on their farms to provide food on the table for their children and grandchildren.

Unpredictable rainfall patterns can't guarantee water for communities, such as Mbakoni Village, all year round. Most rivers in this area are seasonal. Hand-dug wells are being built along sandy riverbeds to provide clean water, while sand dams harvest rainwater where it falls and make it available to the community through the dry season. This provides enough safe water for households, livestock and for income generating activities.

Mbakoni Community is found along the border of Makueni and Machakos Counties. The dominant activity here is farming with the majority of people owning small pieces of land where they grow maize, beans, and other cereals.

The community group is found in a peaceful rural area with significant tree coverage made of both exotic and indigenous trees. The area is hilly with steep slopes making part of the footpaths and roads linking up to the area. Many households have decent houses made up of bricks and roofed with iron sheets.


The source of water for the community is a scoop-hole found on a river bed. The water was not clean based on its dirty appearance and the fact that it is an open source.

The scoop holes do not provide enough water all year round and often dry up in periods of prolonged drought which exposes the locals to water scarcity and a myriad of disease conditions.

Some members of the community boil water before its use while others use it without any prior form of treatment.

"Failure to tap on rainwater has led to perennial water problems in our area, this has subsequently led to low levels of hygiene and sanitation, we hope to improve our conditions by working on numerous water projects within our locality," John Mutio said.


The majority of homes in the community have latrines, but many are made of unsafe mud floors. The chances are high that some latrines have been affected by the ongoing rains, leading to their collapse.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Mbakoni Community has been the Kyambasa Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 30 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.


We’re going to train Mbakoni Community on hygiene and sanitation practices. Though our visits to households were encouraging, we want to ensure that community members are practicing the day to day habits we’re not able to observe. Food hygiene, water hygiene and treatment, personal hygiene and hand-washing will all be a focus during our sessions together.

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 Mbakoni 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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mbakoni 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 Mbakoni, 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.

September, 2019: Giving Update: Mbakoni Community

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

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

February, 2019: Water Flowing in Mbakoni Community

Water is now flowing from the well in Mbakoni Community. We are so happy to be reaching out and celebrating this moment!

The pictures from the field also reveal that the spelling on the plaque was corrected. We included a few more pictures on the project page for you, and are extremely grateful for how you make this amazing work possible.

November, 2018: Mbakoni Community Hand-Dug Well Construction Complete

Mbakoni Community, Kenya now has a new water source thanks to your donation. A hand-dug well was constructed adjacent to a sand dam. Once it rains, the dam will build up sand that both stores and naturally filters water available at the hand-dug well. Community members also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors.

New Knowledge

The area field officer, Mutuku Mukeka, worked with the community to plan hygiene and sanitation training. Out of a group of 30 households, 28 of them made it to training. The weather was calm during the morning hours and sunny in the afternoon throughout the three days. The venue lacked enough shade to accommodate all the members, so the participants kept on shifting sitting positions to give people turns in the shade.

The group members participated in several different sessions over the three days:

- Identifying health problems in the community
- Identifying daily habits affecting health
- Good and bad hygiene behaviors
- How diseases spread
- Blocking the spread of disease
- Choosing sanitation improvements
- Choosing improved behaviors
- Planning for change
- Handwashing
- How to make soap

Participants particularly enjoyed the handwashing demonstration. This began with instruction on how to build a handwashing station called a "tippy tap." They were happy to learn how easy it is to build these with cheap, easy-to-find materials. Trainer Christine Lucas then used this tippy tap to demonstrate how to wash your hands and the most important times to do so. This was our first lesson during day three, and people showed up early because they were so excited to learn how to build a handwashing station. Some of them had even skipped breakfast to make it on time!

"The training was very good. We have learned new hygiene infrastructures which we will construct at our homes to help improve our hygiene. For example, we learned about utensil racks, animal sheds, tippy taps, rubbish pits, and others," Mr. Thomas Muasya shared.

"Our families will be safer at home and the living standards will improve, If we get visitors at home, we are happy they will notice some changes in our hygiene."

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.

Three very strong women who helped with construction!


A seven feet in diameter hole 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.

All of this rainwater needed to be drained before excavation could continue.

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 simple maintenance tasks for themselves.

The well is then given another few days after installing the pump to allow the joints to completely dry.

The pump was installed level with the top of the sand dam because as the dam matures, sand will amass until it reaches the top of the platform. Once it rains, this sand behind the dam wall will store the water to be accessed through this hand-dug well. We look forward to reaching out again when we have news of water here.

"We are very happy to have this project implemented in our village. It has taken a lot of hard work and commitment to realize such an amazing project," said Mr. John Mutio, 73.

"The project will go a long way towards clean water provision to the community members, controlling soil erosion in our locality, and improving living standards through improvements in hygiene and sanitation practices."

June, 2018: Mbakoni Community Well Project Underway

Dirty water from open sources is making people in Mbakoni 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: Mbakoni Community A

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mbakoni 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!

Mbakoni community members have greatly benefited from the sand dam and hand-dug well that were completed a year ago. The inhabitants have access to clean drinking water.

"The distance covered to access the water point has reduced to less than a kilometer unlike before when we had to walk for long distances. Household duties are easily managed and there's also more time for engaging in personal activities and income-generating activities," said Felistus Muli, a member of the self-help group that supports the water project.

"There's also sufficient water for our livestock which is an improvement from how we lived before because one would walk for more than one kilometer to access a water point."

The water project has helped the community members in improving their living standards as well as their hygiene and sanitation. They are very excited about the benefits reaped through this project. Their environment has improved as it is greener and more productive.

"The efforts we put in constructing the water point is not futile because we have seen the fruits of our hands and we are very happy about that. Our livestock are able to access water easily at this water point," remarked Jane Waema.

Improvement in their personal and compound hygiene levels as a result of the WASH Training. Installation of handwashing structures beside the latrines and jerry cans with water to ensure they wash their hands after visiting the latrines. Prevalence of diseases has reduced because the members have knowledge on the maintenance of good hygiene.

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 Mbakoni 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 Mbakoni 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.


Lifeplus Foundation - Team Bossert – Haschke Diestel