Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

The people in Kaliani travel more than two miles to the Kinze River to fetch water from scoop holes in the riverbed. That means it takes more than an hour to fetch water every day.

The distance is so far that some people have to pay others to fetch their water and carry it back using donkeys. These scoop holes are open, unprotected and prone to contamination.

Virtually no households undertake the proper steps to treat and protect drinking water, we found. This is because they believe the water sources are safe and also some find the water treatment exercise to be too time-consuming.

"I wouldn't drink this water because it is prone to contamination," our reporting officer said, after visiting the source.

This is home for Kikaka Self-Help Group, which aims to help Kitandini, Kaliani, and numerous other villages in this area of Kenya. The group is comprised of farmers who believe that if they work together to address food and water scarcity in their area, they’ll grow stronger.

This is Kikaka Self-Help Group’s first year in partnering with us, and they look forward to having a huge impact on this region. They will take part in a five-year collaboration to improve access to safe water and sanitation in the community. We are also constructing another dam and well with this group this year. Go here to learn more.

"Our children and community members have suffered a lot because of the water problem in this area. We hope that the implementation of this project will make things better," Mr. Mwakavi Kimeu said.

Most households have latrines, but the ones we visited were in poor shape. The floor looked as if it might fall in at any moment and the roof was leaking from recent rains. As a result, some people in this community practice open defecation - something that poses a health risk to everyone here.

This area is quite a drive from our main office. It’s 133 kilometers of easy driving on a highway through Wote Town, but then it gets difficult: 44 kilometers on bumpy, hilly Murram Road.

It is a rural, peaceful area. Most of the households dotting the terrain are made of brick walls and dirt floors.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Kaliani Community has been the Kikaka 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 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 Kaliani Village and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kaliani 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 Kalani, 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: Kaliani Community Hand-Dug Well

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

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

March, 2019: Kaliani Community Has Water!

We're excited to let you know about a recent development in Kaliani 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: Kaliani Community Hand-Dug Well Project Complete

Kaliani 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.

We look forward to reaching back out when clean water is flowing here!

Important Review and New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned and organized by the Mbumbuni area field officer, Rhoda Mwangu, in collaboration with Officer Veronica Matolo and the self-help group leadership. They all agreed on the best date and venue. It was settled that Ms. Matolo would meet the community at Rozina Katuli’s homestead, which was easily accessible for all involved.

Training started on a cold morning with on and off rain drizzles. During the rainy times, all of us would gather under the available houses and shelters.

Mixing soap together

Despite the weather, attendance was as expected with a majority of self-help group members in attendance. Other community members who are not members of the group also attended to learn more about good hygiene practices.

All participants expressed high interest to learn and embrace new hygiene concepts, however, women expressed more interest compared to the men. It was later established that some of the women had missed previous trainings, thus their great interest in learning the concepts.

Topics included:

– Importance of a dish drying rack
– Cleaning the household compound
– Water treatment methods
– Personal hygiene
– Food preparation and storage
– Latrine hygiene
– Trash disposal
– Making soap

An agenda for the day

Community members were most eager to learn about water treatment methods. People were happy to learn about this to prevent the waterborne diseases from which they suffer.

Participants were surprised to learn about how important it is to cover a latrine pit when it’s not in use. This was a new concept not known by a majority of members who attended, but they later understood that the same flies that are attracted to their latrines are attracted to their food.

"The training content has been very educative to us on issues which touch our daily lives," said Mrs. Rozina Katuli.

Rozina Katuli

"It has helped me improve my understanding of the best hygiene practices, ways of making soap which can be used for income generation, and providing soap for household use among other practices aimed at improving our living standards and reducing exposure to disease-causing organisms."

Hand-Dug Well

"We would like to thank God for having guided us through to the completion of this project. Everyone is happy and it is the talk of the village," said Mr. Mutinda Mulei.


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.

Two women transporting a stone to the construction site

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.

Flooding behind the sand dam before the pump could be 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.

"Such an amazing water harvesting project will help us access water easily all year round since it holds a high volume of water. Our cattle will also have access to water without walking long distances," said Mr. Mulei.

We look forward to reaching out again as the adjacent dam builds up sand and we have news of water here!

November, 2018: Kaliani Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Dirty water from open water holes is making people in Kaliani 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: Kaliani Community Hand-Dug Well

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kaliani 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!

Kaliani community members have had a constant supply of water throughout the year since the construction of the sand dam and hand-dug shallow well system. On our team's most recent visit there, community members welcomed us with joy because they were very excited about the project.

"My life has changed for the best in the past year. The construction work was very exhausting but the fruits are very sweet," said Caroline Ndunge, a local farmer.

"Accessing the water source now is very easy, I do not have to walk for very long to access water and I spend very little time fetching water."

The environment has improved greatly due to the availability of water. It is very serene, and the vegetation has changed greatly.

"I am so happy about the change. Through this project, I bought a dairy cow and I plan to start selling milk. Our livestock can access water easily, we don't have to walk for very long distances," Mrs. Ndunge added.

Caroline Ndunge

Community members can engage in farming easily as a result of the water harvested by the sand dam. Farming practices are progressing well with a large number of the population owning a water pumping system. At the time of our visit, it was a dry season but the area looked very wet, green, and productive because their sand dam had harvested gallons of water during the rainy period.

"In the past, this river used to flow only during the rainy seasons and after that, the water table would decrease such that we would have to dig very deep scoop-holes to access it," said Rosina Mutinda.

"The project has really helped us because now, we can farm and perform our household activities on time. We have time for income-generating activities such as farming and we also have enough food."

Hygiene and sanitation levels have improved because of the availability of water in the area.

"Through a committee established in our group we noted 90% improvement on hygiene and sanitation practices such as the presence of tippy taps erected near the latrines of all members, garbage pits for proper waste disposal, dishracks, and clotheslines," said Ms. Mutinda.

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 Kaliani 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 Kaliani 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.