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The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Well Plaque
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Finished Well
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Drying Platform
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Lining Progress
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Lining Progress
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Stones For Building
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Sarah Muthiani
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Making Soap
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Making Soap
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Making Soap
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Soap Recipe
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Action Plan Review
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Garbage Site
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Latrine
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Bathing Shelter
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Boiling Water In The Kitchen
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Kitchen
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Feeding The Chickens
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Nyungu Household
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Musau Nyungu
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Syakama Shg Member Musau Nyungu
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Syatu Community A -  A Well In Syakama

Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/02/2019

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

This is our third year working with the Syakama Self-Help Group. We worked with them to install a dug well and hand-pump alongside a sand dam to help households in Syakama Community access water. Before that, we brought water to people around Kavumbu. Now, Syakama Self-Help Group is planning to bring clean water to families living closer to Syatu.

However, we estimate a well can comfortably support a generous total of 500 people, so more work needs to be done to ensure this entire area can access safe water. That is why we work together with self-help groups for five years to build sustainable water and sanitation solutions, often spanning multiple communities.

The majority of people living in this area practice small-scale agriculture in their individual farms. The crop yields are often low due to low rainfall and erratic weather patterns, forcing a significant chunk of the population to work informal jobs in nearby Kathonzweni Town.

For majority community members, days start at 6am. The parents prepare the children to go to school. After that, the livestock are either taken out or tethered in the bush for grazing. Once that is done, the husband and wife are free to engage in the main income generating activities; farming, businesses, casual labor etc.

The Syakama self-help group members participated in two wells that are successfully producing safe water for many living around Syakama and Kavumbu. The construction of dams and wells eases the water challenges in the area with a substantial number of people now able to access water easily, and this motivated them to quickly finish a second water system last year.

A good number of community members have been practicing treatment methods taught during the sanitation training such a boiling and chlorination. The majority of households now have latrines, but most of the latrines we visited were not well cleaned and had a bad smell. But things are getting better.

“There is improved hygiene and cleanliness at the household levels as the implemented projects have played a big role in providing water,” Mr. Bernard Wambua said.

Some members of Syatu Community live far from the already installed water projects. They must travel long distances to get safe water and tire as a result of lugging heavy containers of water. Syakama Self-Help Group reports that the majority of their neighbors in Syatu are elderly. Implementing more projects will help bring water closer to everyone, and reduce stress on the existing water points.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Syatu Community has been the Syakama Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 35 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 continue training 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 handwashing will all be a focus during our next review.

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 Syatu 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

12/07/2018: Syatu Community Hand-Dug Well Project Complete

Syatu Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A hand-dug well was constructed adjacent to a sand dam. The dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter the water available at the well. Community members also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors.

Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this hand-dug well was a success, and water is already flowing!

“Syakama Community is happy to have completed this project. It is a project that will be here for us and generations to come. We are proud of the project as it will come with great impact in terms of water access within our locality,” said Mrs. Muthiani.

“Water will now be available in adequate amounts as compared to the past.”

The Process:

We delivered the experts, materials, and tools, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done too. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand, stones 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 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 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 (go here to check it out) because as the dam matures, sand builds up to the top of the wall. Until then, people will climb the concrete steps to get their water.

It could take up to three years of rain (Because sometimes it only rains once a year!) for the adjacent sand dam to build up enough stand to store the maximum amount of water – water available for drinking, cooking, washing, watering animals and irrigating farms.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned by Mr. Muendo Ndambuki, the field officer for this region. Trainer Veronica Matolo worked with him to find the best date for the community. Once decided, the self-help group leaders went door to door to invite everyone.

There were 20 participants in all. We had to meet outside with such a large group, but we at least tried to find the shade under trees. As the day progressed, the sun kept moving so the whole group would move their chairs along with the shade. Though it was hot outside, participation was excellent; everybody was willing to learn and take part in every activity.

Trainer Matolo conferred with the field staff about their visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics still needed improvement. They decided to train on:

– cleaning latrines
– water treatment
– waste disposal
– how diseases spread
– how to make soap

The community members really benefited from water treatment discussions.

We reviewed the different treatment methods, how water gets contaminated in the first place, and the importance of treatment before drinking. Participants confessed that when the water looks clear, they don’t bother treating it in any way. But they learned that clear water doesn’t always mean it’s safe for drinking!

Everyone enjoyed learning to make soap. Community members said this soap recipe would bring in extra income. They’d make enough for their families and then sell the excess to their neighbors.

Trainer Matolo also brought out the action plan Syakama Self-Help Group had written during the last training. They went through item by item, determining how far everyone has come towards reaching their goals. Most of these goals pertain to household hygiene, as group members are trying to realize full latrine coverage, handwashing stations, dish racks, and other important facilities.

“This training has been done to us several times and we are very much grateful for the efforts that are always made to ensure that we get the content,” said Mrs. Sarah Muthiani.

Sarah Muthiani

“It has been of great importance making a tremendous change in our lives because since the first day when the training was done to us, we have improved our hygiene at the personal level and we will keep it at that level because we don’t want to be sick.”

The Water Project : 9-kenya18214-flowing-water

07/03/2018: A Busy Rest of the Year in Syatu Community

Everyone in Syatu is excited about their new hand-dug well. Timing is very important as we ensure that everyone is ready for these big changes in their community. The field officers and local leaders have agreed that the right time for construction and training will be over the next few months. We had previously scheduled this project for September but have modified that date to reflect the planning change made by the team. Thank you for standing with us as we continue work in Syatu!

We’re always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer your questions. And, if you get a notice like this – it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.

The Water Project : 5-kenya18214-kitchen

05/22/2018: Syatu Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway

A clean water shortage around Syatu Community still affects hundreds of lives, draining time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

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

The Water Project : 2-kenya18184-carrying-water

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.


Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation