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: 02/16/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

This is the second year we have worked with Mitini Community and the Mitini Self-Help Group.

One dam and one well were constructed last year, giving people access to safe water for drinking and a source for irrigating their crops.

However, the dam is still maturing and it alone cannot hold enough the water to support a community like Mitini where more than 10,000 people live. A single well is also not enough to ensure everyone has access to safe water.

"We spend a lot of time at the spring waiting to fetch water especially now that it has not rained for a long while. The sand dam is dry hence making our lives hard," Mrs. Mary Leonard said.

"We enjoyed while it was there but now the water we have is little since the whole community is dependent on it. Our cleaning routines have gone behind compared to how we were trained due to the water scarcity. However, we are trying our best."

As a result, people still turn to open water sources and scoop holes to meet their daily needs. Community members walk long distances to get water that is not safe for consumption, leaving them vulnerable to waterborne diseases.

So we plan to construct another well and dam to ensure that more people have safe water nearby.

This self-help group is in the second year of our five-year development program. They were trained during the construction of their first successful sand dam, and have grown immensely since then.

Go here to view previous projects in the community and see their progress over the past few years.

Due to the water scarcity, latrines in the community are cleaned irregularly. Most of them are not keen on keeping their latrines clean as they view it as a waste of water considering the time and energy they consume while fetching water from the spring. However, some of them have tippy taps with water to wash their hands after using the latrines.

The good news is that most people are applying the lessons they learned from their first hygiene and sanitation training.

Subsistence agriculture is the main source of livelihood for this community. When the rainfall pattern is better, the members harvest enough both for their families and to sell at the local market to earn money for other needs.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Mitini Community has been the Mitini 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 the self-help group members and their communities on hygiene and sanitation practices. No more than half of the households in this area even have a basic pit latrine. Since getting water is such a tough, time-consuming task, many people view cleaning as a waste of water.

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

Project Updates

January, 2019: Mitini Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Mitini 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.

Hand-Dug Well

"It was a long-awaited project in our community and we are very grateful that our efforts have finally paid off. The project construction required a lot of effort and we are glad that after the completion we have attained water which is sufficient to run all our errands," said Mary.

"Life has become easier and now we fetch water a stone's throw away. We are thankful for the project completion and now we are praying for more rains."


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.

The area has already received rainfall that's accessed at the hand-pump.

Review and New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned by the officers Christine Mutheu and Veronica Matolo. The field officer informed the group leaders, who notified all group members and invited them to attend this review. The venue was at Kitavi Mutwii’s homestead, who is a member of the group. His homestead is only 50 meters away from the first sand dam and hand-dug well in the community, and thus the people found it convenient to meet at his place so they could access water from the well throughout the day.

Participation and involvement were high as everyone was very interested in what we were teaching. There was a question and answer forum in which the members expressed their desires for training and the topics they felt they needed a refresher on. We noticed that women were more observant and active throughout when compared to the men, most likely because women are traditionally seen as the person most responsible for water and hygiene-related activities in their families.

The members were refreshed on the following topics:

1. Water hygiene (water treatment methods)
2. Latrine hygiene
3. Prevention of diseases
4. Importance of having hygiene infrastructures at home

People listed some of the diseases they suffer from during the year and when they are most prevalent. Through an open discussion, everyone felt confident in new ways they can prevent these illnesses. Some of the diseases they listed were malaria, typhoid, fever, and cancer among others.

"The training was good. We are happy we have been reminded about what we learned last year and we will be keen to put them into practice," said Mrs. Mary Nduku.

Mary Nduku

"Our group has also become more united because of today’s training. This training will help us to improve our hygiene and sanitation at home. It has also reminded us on how to prevent diseases which will help us to stay healthy. We are thankful and grateful for the training."

January, 2019: Progress on Well for Mitini Community

We received a recent update from Mitini Community showing great progress on their hand-dug well. Since the well isn't quite finished, our estimated completion date is now set for the end of January. We look forward to sharing a final report with you soon!

December, 2018: Mitini Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Dirty water from open sources is making many people in Mitini Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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.


Alan and Lesley Pedersen
3 individual donor(s)