Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/20/2024

Project Features

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This is our second year working with the Kithangaini Kithuluni Self-Help Group to help improve access to reliable, safe water in their community.

We installed a dug well and hand pump alongside a sand dam last year. However, we estimate a well can comfortably support 500 people, so more work needs to be done to ensure this community of more than 15,000 people can access safe water.

"Now we can farm, take care of our livestock because of the sand dam, even though it is a bit far," Mrs. Ann Mbeti, a local farmer, said.

That is why we work together with the community for five years to build sustainable water and sanitation solutions.

Kithuluni Village is a peaceful and vegetated rural area whereby most houses are made of bricks whilst some are also built of iron sheets.

On an average day for the community members, the women and children wake up at 6am to go and fetch water. The women then prepare breakfast for the family as the children prepare for school. The men, on the other hand, wake up to go to the farm to get grass for the livestock and also prepare to run errands.

During the day, the women wash the family’s clothes, tidy up the house, wash utensils and prepare lunch as well as supper for the family. Owing to the fact that women and the children spend most of their time around the homestead, they are usually home early while the men arrive back home late.

The first sand dam and hand-dug well system has brought water closer to hundreds, but there are still several more families that live far away. And considering the terrain of this vast area, fetching water is cumbersome and dangerous for many families who must climb up slopes carrying jerrycans of water.

Even though the training on safe water handling has already been done, not all members treat their drinking water due to some myths in the community about the treatment of drinking water, especially through boiling.

From interviews, we found out the group members are well aware that dirty water can result in diseases, but they seem to have resigned to fate and drink it untreated anyway.

The community members have improved their sanitation levels as a result of the training done to them. The pit latrines are now cleaned frequently and tippy taps are in use. The homesteads we visited had clean latrines which were not covered but at least they had been cleaned.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Kithuluni Community has been the Kithangaini Kithuluni Self-Help Group, which is comprised of local farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. This is our second of five years working with this group. 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 the self-help group members and their communities 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 are 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 Kithuluni Village and will bring clean water closer to families currently having to walk long distances for their water.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Kithuluni Community Hand-Dug Well

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

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

March, 2019: Kithuluni Community Has Flowing Water

We're excited to let you know about a recent development in Kithuluni Community: The sand dam has captured and is now filtering water from the first rainfall. That means there is water flowing at the well!

Thank You for celebrating this moment with the community; none of this would have been possible without your generosity.

January, 2019: Kithuluni Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Kithuluni 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.

As sand builds up behind the adjacent sand dam and around the hand-dug well, water will be accessible from the hand-pump. We will reach out with another update as soon as that happens!

Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this hand-dug well was a success! It rained during the construction process and soon after we finished - great news for such a dry region. However, this means that it will take some more time before the adjacent sand dam matures and the well produces water on a regular basis. As the surface water recedes and is stored in the ground, the well will serve as a reliable source of water for people in Kithuluni.

The well will be accessible once the adjacent sand dam collects sand from water that rushes down the riverbed during the year's rainy season

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.

Well and dam

New Knowledge

The Masii area field officer Ruth Mwanzia informed the group leaders about the intention of the organization to hold a WASH training for the community members. They then mobilized the group members and community to attend the training which was scheduled at the homestead of Stephen Mutua.

The weather on the day was sunny but the venue had many trees which provided enough shade for all the participants the environment was therefore conducive for learning.

The level of participation from members attending the training was generally good, middle-aged women expressed more willingness to learn as much content compared to their male counterparts. This was characteristic of their primary role of running majority of household chores.

People attending were trained on topics including:

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

The training went on smoothly without any major challenges coming along the way, this made the activity highly successful.

“The training was very educative. Most of us didn't know the importance of having hygiene infrastructures at home but today we have known the need, the training has also brought unity among the group members thus there will be no disagreements," said 36-year-old farmer Stephen Mutua.

During the training, members learned about the importance of having hygiene infrastructures at their homesteads. This will enable them to improve their hygiene standards thus preventing diseases especially waterborne diseases which are very common, especially typhoid and amoeba.

December, 2018: Kithuluni Community Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage still affects hundreds of people living in Kithuluni. The long walk for water drains people's time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to bring water closer to those who still need it.

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!

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: Kithuluni Community Hand-Dug Well

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kithuluni community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Pauline Kioka. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kithuluni Community 2B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kithuluni Community 2B 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!

Kithuluni community members are enjoying the water attained from the sand dam and shallow well project constructed a year ago. The project harvested water from the rainy seasons.

The environment has improved. It is more serene and cool because there is plenty of water harvested at the river bed by their sand dam. The water attained at the well is fresh for drinking and consumption. Community members are happy about the project.

"Life has improved greatly in the past year, as the struggles that we encountered in pursuit of water diminished," said Pauline Kioka, a local farmer in the community.

"The water has been available to us throughout the year at any time of the day. The distance traveled to get water has reduced significantly and now we have more time at our disposal."

Water is readily available at any time of the day which allows for good hygiene and sanitation practices such as bathing daily, frequent washing of the latrines, washing clothes and water treatment practices. Food hygiene practices such as washing food before consumption to avoid contracting diseases have also been possible thanks to the supply of water.

"The shallow well has very fresh water for drinking and for household chores. The well is always busy because there are always community members thronging at the source to fetch clean water," said Pius Kavila, chair of the water user committee.

"Young adults are no longer idle, as they utilize the water to farm vegetables which they sell and earn some income."

The availability of water has boosted agricultural practices in the region. Farming is progressing well, and community members have planted vegetables on their farms for both domestic use and agribusiness.

"As women, we decided to form a self-help system where we save some money and we can also borrow from each other. This has really been empowered by the availability of water because now we have time to farm and earn an income from selling vegetables and other farm products," Mrs. Kioka said.

"I am very happy about this water project."

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 Kithuluni Community 2B 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 Kithuluni Community 2B – 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.


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McMillan Family Charitable Fund
2 individual donor(s)