Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/02/2024

Project Features

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It was a sunny morning when we first traveled to Ndithi Village. Ndithi is found in the Mwingi area, which is more than 300 kilometers away from the main offices in Mtito Andei. Based on the distance involved and the number of projects in this area, we camped at Mwingi Town for several days so as to cover many projects as possible.

We went to Ndithi to meet with members of the Ndithi Tuinuke Self-Help Group (SHG). This group of farmers wants to tackle water and food scarcity in their arid region, so we have partnered with them to achieve these goals. We plan to install their first sand dam and hand-dug well system to bring water nearby.

This type of intervention helps people improve their lives. Unpredictable rainfall patterns have made it impossible to guarantee water for communities all year round, as most rivers in Southeastern Kenya are seasonal. Sand dams harvest rainwater where it falls, making it available to the community until their next rain season.

There are 1,054 people living in this area. From our survey, we found 51% of the people here depend on farming as their main source of income while 37% are casual laborers and the remaining 13% run small businesses. The source of income does not really depend on the level of education that one has achieved. Some 73% of the respondents reported earning an average income of fewer than 3,000 shillings ($30) in a month.

For an average day in the community, women and children wake up at 6 am, go to fetch water, prepare breakfast for the family as the children prepare for school. The men normally take care of their livestock in the morning.

Fetching water is a big ordeal and can take up to five hours. The main water source is found at a sandy, seasonal riverbed in the community. Holes are dug in the sand until water pools, giving them the name "scoop holes." These holes are completely unprotected to all forms of contamination. Nonetheless, community members use this water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning.

Most of the community members walk for long distances to access these scoop holes, with some covering more than three kilometers up to the water source. The available river scoop holes are found on a seasonal river channel and always run dry during the dry season. This forces the community to walk even longer distances in search of alternative water sources. Available water levels at the channel are low and unable to meet the needs of the huge village population.

"Water problems have been severe in our village," said Mr. Mwanzia Muli.

"We are always forced to travel for long distances looking for water from open river scoop holes. At the end of the day, the available water is not safe for human consumption and has led to people suffering from amoeba and typhoid after drinking the unsafe water."

What we can do:


We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with Ndithi Tuinuke SHG, which are also open to non-members. These will teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish in the community at the personal and household levels. Taking good care of self and environment will make for a healthy community.

Baseline Sanitation Facility Coverage:

Latrines 99%
Handwashing Stations 0%
Clotheslines 90%
Dish Racks 10%
Bathing Area 50%
Animal Enclosure 60%
Proper Garbage Disposal 40%

And though most families have a good pit latrine, they need to clean them more often. Latrines were found to be below average, while some owners admitted to not ever cleaning them. Upcoming training sessions will strengthen weaknesses and continue encouraging each family that making the extra effort to clean homes, bathe, wash hands, and treat water is well worth it!

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well will be built adjacent to Ndithi Tuinuke SHG’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 Ndithi Village and will bring clean water closer to families in Mwingi that have to walk long distances for water.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ndithi 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 Ndithi, 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.

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

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.

May, 2019: Ndithi Community A Well Complete

Ndithi Community, Kenya now has a new water source thanks to your donation. A hand-dug well was constructed adjacent to a sand dam. As 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

"We are happy to have worked hard and completed this amazing water project. The work by our hands is now visible and the project will go a long way to helping us," said Mwasya Mwendwa.

"It is a unique project which suits our needs. The community is committed to working on more projects to help alleviate the water crisis in our locality."


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. There is currently water available, but it will take a few rainy seasons for the dam to reach maturity and provide water to people here throughout the driest times of the year.

New Knowledge

The Kamuwongo region field officer, Patrick Musyoka planned for the training in collaboration with training officer Veronica Matolo. Mr. Musyoka informed the community members on the intention to hold the training and settled on the most suited date for the activity which was communicated back to Veronica. All community members and local leaders were invited to the event by the group chairman.

This training was held at the homestead of Joyce Kimanzi, as all the members had agreed to make it their venue for the training. There was enough shade since the homestead has plenty of trees and the environment was very conducive; no external distractions were faced.

We wanted to train the entire self-help group, but some members were missing. There were a few challenges, including the fact that some members had to spend the first two days of training at the market to sell their crops and goods. Some other members work away from home and could not leave work for the training. Those in attendance were especially encouraged to share what they learned with their peers, and another review training will be held in the future.

The participation level was excellent, with the women participating the most. 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

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.

Community members said that the design of the tippy tap was unique and easy to use. It was also said to be more hygienic than other types of handwashing stations they've seen. They said that it was the best way to prevent diseases.

"I will follow all that I have learned as far as hygiene and sanitation is concerned and that way, I will help my entire family change the bad behavioral practices," said Nzambi Musyoka.

From the look of things, this group of people seems very committed to implementing what was trained. Group members present said that within a very short period they will have implemented what they had written down in the action plan because they realized that it was for their own good.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

March, 2019: Ndithi Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

People living in Ndithi currently have to walk several kilometers to find water, and that water isn't even clean. Thanks to your generosity, we are working to excavate a hand-dug well next to a sand dam that will bring water closer to home for hundreds of people.

Get to know this community by reading the introduction and pictures we've posted, and read more about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project and how it works. We look forward to reaching out again when we have more 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: Ndithi Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ndithi 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!

"A year ago, getting water for household use was a hard task. I had to walk along the river in search of water in river scoop holes. The queues would sometimes be long which led to wastage of time at the water points. Available water was never clean as human beings, and wild animals shared it as the sources were open river scoop holes," shared Fridah Kivivya.

"The new water point has made life easier for the last year. I only walk to the well for less than 5 minutes, pump water into my jerrycans and walk back home with much ease. Water has always been available at the well at adequate levels, a new phenomenon in our village. Water shortages within the locality are now a thing of the past. The availability of water locally has saved me time to engage in other household activities that will improve my personal development."

Fridah Kivivya

"This water point has helped us achieve the main goal of having clean water from within our village and near our homesteads. It has made the pursuit of water a simple activity for us as women and children of this village. Everyone has been walking to the new water point, drawing water, and walking back home to engage in other activities—the availability of water from within created more time for me to engage in agriculture. I have been able to harvest enough maize, green grams, and cowpeas for my family. I am also planting trees and flowers within my compound to make it more beautiful."

Fridah pumps the well

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 Ndithi 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 Ndithi 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.