Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/01/2024

Project Features

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People in Ngitini Community have to walk for a long distance to collect water and traverse steep and rocky terrain just to reach the source. It is exhausting and dangerous to carry heavy cans of water along that path.

All that effort is to fetch water from a scoop hole that is dirty, untreated and unprotected. It poses a high risk of contracting diseases waterborne such as typhoid, cholera, or diarrhea.

"The water we get from these scoop holes is very little especially during the dry seasons. It is dirty and we have to spend a lot of time and money to make it safe for consumption," Mr. Daniel Kyalo, a local farmer, said.

It is very dangerous to consume such water because the water is also used for livestock and other domestic animals. These scoop holes dry up when there are no rains. Some people will dig deeper holes to try and find water, but most will look to other sources for water.

As a result, people turn to the nearby river for collecting water - a source that is also open to contamination and poses a risk to young people who can fall in. The water used for drinking is often untreated in this community, too.

"It is very expensive to treat since the water is salty; washing clothes is usually very exhausting because the soap does not lather," Mr. Kyalo said.

Kinyenoyoni Self-Help Group heard about our work to build dams and new wells from other communities and decided to contact us through a field officer. We learned about their water problems and that fewer than half of households have latrines.

The latrines we observed are rarely cleaned due to the water scarcity. As a result, the latrines have a foul smell and are in generally poor shape. Handwashing is also infrequent as a result of the restricted access to water.

"Our children suffer the most because they usually come home from school very thirsty and that's the water they will drink because they have no option," Mr. Kyalo said.

"They fall sick very easily."

Ngitini Village is a serene rural area that is fairly vegetative, as a result of reforestation. It is fairly flat with very few hills around.

Most of the natural vegetation has been cleared to pave way for agriculture. The area boasts of red fertile soil. The households of the area are made of fairly permanent red bricks and are roofed by iron sheets. Most of the families that we visited had a connection to the main electricity grid.

On an average day for the community members, the women wake up at 6am, go to fetch water, and then prepare breakfast for the family as the children prepare for school.

The men go to the farm to get grass for the livestock and also prepare to run errands. Common tasks include: farming, taking farm products to the market, feeding the livestock, and more.

Most of the families earn their income through farming. For instance, one of the families that we visited were farmers and they had harvested a lot of watermelons.

During the day, the woman does the laundry, tidies up the house, washes utensils and prepares lunch as well as supper for the family.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Ngitini Community has been the Kinyenoyoni Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 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 are going to train the self-help group members and their communities on hygiene and sanitation practices. We want to ensure that community members are practicing the day to day habits we are not able to observe during household visits. Food hygiene, water hygiene and treatment, personal hygiene and handwashing will all be a focus during training.

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 Ngitini Village and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ngitini 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 Ngitini, 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.

October, 2019: Giving Update: Ngitini Community A

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

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

October, 2018: Ngitini Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Ngitini 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

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.

Sand to be used for mixing cement


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 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 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 (click 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.

"Water has been our biggest problem here in Ngitini Village where our community group is based. By working on these kinds of water projects, we hope to harvest enough water and propel the community members to improved living standards and income generation through agriculture – among other activities," shared Mr. Kyalo.

"Everyone is happy with this water project and we are looking forward to implementing more."

New Knowledge

Our Tawa Region Field Officer, Paulson Mukonzi, liaised with the self-help group chairman to organize hygiene and sanitation training. We held sessions at the homestead of Benson Kyalo, the group vice chairperson.

There was a total of 30 out of the 34 active group members in attendance. These 30 people act as representatives of their own households and greater neighborhoods to learn this new information and disseminate it for the rest who weren't able to attend. On the last day of training, the village administrator attended and was happy with the content being taught to his community.

Our first icebreaker activity

The trainer, Veronica Matolo, organized topics by what we observed and heard during our tour of the community. She and the participants worked through different daily habits and how they affect health, decided what is beneficial and what should not be done. We talked about how diseases are transmitted, and some of the things people can do to build germ barriers.

Ms. Matolo taught how to make a handwashing station called a tippy tap and shared the recipe to mix homemade soap. She and the group mixed their first batch of soap together during training.

Mixing soap

The group's favorite topics were on daily habits and water treatment methods. For the daily habit activity, group members split into two groups and sorted illustrations between good, bad, and in-between piles. After some sorting, we joined back together to discuss our reasoning.

We discussed different ways to treat drinking water. Community members said this was special because they had never learned about water treatment before.

A high level of interest, respect, unity, and willingness to change were noticed during training. They were so open in discussing their current habits and were very much willing to change and adopt new behaviors as taught during the training period.

"This training will make a greater impact in every member’s life and their families because we never knew that hygiene and sanitation entailed so much information and requirements," admitted Mr. Kyalo.

Mr. Daniel Kyalo

"From today, diseases will reduce because we will improve our behavioral practices; for instance, construction of latrines...handwashing with clean water and soap after visiting latrines, water treatment, among other improved practices."

September, 2018: Ngitini Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

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

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ngitini 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!

Since its installation last year, the water project in Ngitini has provided a sufficient water supply for community members here, which has made them very happy. Among other things, they are utilizing the water for farming and to sustain their livestock. The environment has improved tremendously as the vegetation is greener and the area looks more fertile.

"I have managed to establish a nursery of tomatoes and kale at my vegetable garden which I intend to use for both eating at home and selling in markets," said Sedrack Mwanya.

There is plenty of water at their shallow well which is clean and has been flowing throughout the year. Due to the availability of water, there are job opportunities for young adults who are engaging in farming. There is a surplus food supply in the community and improved dietary habits because they can farm diverse crops.

We met Benson Wambua, a farmer in the community, during a recent visit to the project. The regular availability of water has transformed his life, he said. Mr. Wambua shared the following story with us:

"One year on and I am very grateful for this project. I have managed to earn great income through the water attained from the sand dam. I had planted watermelons in my 1-acre piece of land and I had bountiful harvests in which I earned 1.2 million Kenyan Shillings (~$12,000). In addition, I bought a car that will help me improve my agribusiness."

Benson Wambua and his truck and watermelon harvest

"When I am not on my farm, I am at the market selling my goods. I also have green peppers, tomatoes, and kale which I harvest twice a week. Within a week of sales, I make at least KES 20,000 (~$200). Since the sand dam harvested water, I have been working extra hard on my farm to ensure I achieve all my goals. I wake up at 6:00 am to go to my farm because water is readily available. The water project has provided employment opportunities for the youth in my community. Our livestock also drinks water easily from the sand dam. We do not have to walk very far with them. I am very happy about this project. It has elevated us to levels we never expected."

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 Ngitini 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 Ngitini 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.


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