Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/16/2024

Project Features

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People living in Ikuusya Community have to travel more than two miles to collect water from the nearby riverbed. They must scoop the murky water from a hole, fill their containers and make the return journey home - this time with the added weight of the water.

The journey is made easier for those who own a donkey. Others must resort to paying for people to fetch the water for them.

All of this effort is undertaken to bring home water that is unsafe. The water containers don't even have covers, so water is succeptible to further contamination on the way home. The majority of people are using this water without any form of treatment.

The problem is amplified by the fact that it reduces the level of hygiene and sanitation in the community. Roughly three-quarters of households have latrines, but none of the households we visited had water nearby to use for handwashing due to the lack of access.

"The majority of people in our area want to lead decent lives, with high levels of hygiene and sanitation. However, water challenges in our community have led to poor levels of cleanliness at the household level," Mrs. Mwikali Kimeli, a local farmer, said to us.

The Kwa Mbunza Self-Help Group heard about our work from neighboring groups. They got in contact with our field officer Patrick and expressed their intention to partner with us to improve access to safe water in their community.

Most people here rely on farming or casual labor as their source of income. However, some are employed in formal jobs and others conduct petty trade to make a living.

The community is found in a peaceful remote rural village with the characteristic indigenous dry-land tree species forming the majority of the vegetation cover. The majority of individual houses are mud made and grass thatched with others made of bricks and iron sheets.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Ikuusya Community has been the Kwa Mbunza 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’re going to train self-help group members and their communities on hygiene and sanitation practices. Not every household has a pit latrine, so we need to explain the importance of this facility. Some of the latrines we were able to observe were very poorly constructed, so we are concerned they will collapse and sink when the rare burst of rain occurs. We will continue to encourage improvement here, especially when it comes to daily cooking habits, personal hygiene, water hygiene and its treatment, and handwashing.

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

Project Updates

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

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

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

March, 2019: Water Flowing in Ikuusya Community

We're excited to let you know about a recent development in Ikuusya 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.

December, 2018: Ikuusya Community Hand-Dug Well Construction Complete

Ikuusya 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 Waita area field officer, Austin Mumo, mobilized the self-help group members for the a three-day sanitation and hygiene training. All the group members were invited to attend, along with all other community members and local leaders.

The attendance was very good with all group members turning up for the hygiene and sanitation training. The local area chief also attended the training and urged other community members to embrace the new concepts learned.

The venue for the training was at the sand dam site.

"We always have peace when meeting at this place, seeing the work we have done makes us feel motivated to undertake any other challenge. The place has no disturbances," said Mwikali Kimwele, chairlady of the group.

The weather was calm during the morning hours and sunny during the afternoon. There were trees that provided enough shade for all the participants.

Topics included:

– Identifying health problems in the community
– Investigating community practices
– Good and bad hygiene behaviors
– How germs spread
– Blocking the spread of disease
– Choosing the right improvements
– Making an action plan for the village
– Handwashing
– Soap-making

Participants copied down and followed our recipe to make their first batch of soap.

Participants particularly enjoyed the activity for good and bad hygiene behaviors. They did three-pile sorting, the three piles being good behaviors, neutral, and bad. People split up into two groups and were given a large pile of different behaviors. They discussed each one and decided if it was a good, neutral, or bad behavior.

They also liked the handwashing activities. We began by demonstrating how to construct a tippy tap handwashing station, which uses accessible materials like sticks, string, and a plastic container. After seeing how easy this tippy tap is to build, each participant promised to construct one of their own back home.

After the construction of the tippy tap, everyone was taken through a demonstration on how to wash hands. Critical moments to wash hands were also discussed, such as before eating and after visiting the latrines.

"The training was very good we have learned many new things. It will help us prevent diseases and be healthy and energetic to work in our farms and raise our children," said Mrs. Mwikali Kimwele.

"The soap-making project will enable us to improve our hygiene at home and also will help generate income through the soap sales. We are very happy and grateful."

Hand-Dug Well

"Access to clean water has been our biggest challenge in this village," said Mrs. Kimwele.

"Having this sand dam and shallow well in our locality will present a big boost to many families in terms of clean water access. It is the joy of all community members to be part of these kinds of development projects which will improve our living standards and health at large."


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.

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.

Once the construction of the lining is level with the top of the dam, a precast concrete slab is built 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!

November, 2018: Ikuusya Community Well Project Underway

Dirty water from sandy riverbeds is making people in Ikuusya 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: Ikuusya Community Hand-Dug Well

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ikuusya 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 people in Ikuusya community have been enjoying a good water supply from their sand dam and hand-dug well for the last year. The water point has consistently provided water to the village population for the last year, saving them from long-distance travel in search of water to meet their daily needs.

"This water project has brought clean water close to my homestead. I no longer have to undertake the 4 kilometers I used to walk in search of water," said Mwikali Kimwele, chair of the water user committee.

"Now, it takes me less than 20 minutes to draw water from the well and get it home. This has availed me [with] more time to work on personal development activities. That was not possible in the past."

For Makaa Mutunga, the proximity to the well means she can help fetch water for her family. The 9-year-old's mother did not allow her to get water in the past because the journey was so long.

"Fetching water has become more fun and I can fetch so many trips in a day. The water is clean and sweet to drink," she said.

Livestock and other domestic animals can now get water for drinking easily from the new water point without having to travel for long distances either. This development is saving time and improving the health of animals.

Makaa Mutunga

In addition, the constant water supply from the new water point is helping improve levels of hygiene and sanitation at the household level as water is available.

"Since the implementation of this water project, I have been able to shower on a daily basis and put on clean clothes because water is always available at home," Makaa 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 Ikuusya 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 Ikuusya 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.


Project Underwriter - Andrew, Paula, and Elle Smiley
Thomas C Bishop Charitable Fund
2 individual donor(s)