Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/15/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

We are supporting Muka Self-Help Group in their efforts to address water and food scarcity for the more than 8,000 people living in Muluti Community. 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 at the hand-dug well until their next rain season.

Because at this very moment, community members are having to travel three kilometers just to find water at a sandy, seasonal river. The water fetched is not even safe for drinking. During the dry season, they have to dig very deep scoop holes. These are very dangerous as people can trip and fall into the hole.

People drink this water because there's no other alternative, and often suffer from waterborne illnesses from doing so.

We interviewed 65-year-old Nicholas Kisiola about how this has affected his life:

I have been born here and we have been experiencing water challenges over the past thirty years. Rivers here are seasonal and they often dry after the rains have ceased. In addition, we experience rainfall which is very unreliable. Once the rivers dry, the community members resolve to dig scoop holes in order to get water for consumption in their homes.

This water is usually open and exposed to various contaminants such as soil erosion, animal excretion, farming chemicals, among other pathogens. We are used to drinking this water directly as it is without treating it. Often, we assume it is expensive to treat water and also it is a habit for us to drink the water as it is.

This results in diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea. Once, I drank water then found residues of worms but it is normal for us. In addition, the distance covered in order to fetch water is too far and it is very exhausting."

Welcome to the Community

Muluti Village is located 28 kilometers from Tawa Town, where we had slept the previous night. The dirt roads leading to the village were very difficult to traverse due to recent rains. The car skid around a couple of times as a result of the slippery mud. It was a cold and chilly morning when we arrived.

This is an expansive rural area that's peaceful. Households are spread out over the hills. Some homesteads live with the entire extended family there too, where they subdivide the land into different portions so that each family can fit and build their own home on their allocated land. This is the most preferred lifestyle so that old parents can still be taken care of by their children.

There are 8,050 people living in this region.

Agricultural activities are very common in this community as farming is their primary source of income. During the rainy seasons, the community members get better yields that sustain their families and produce a surplus to be sold in the local market. Casual labor jobs, motorbike businesses, and taxi businesses are among the common careers that young adults engage in.

What we can do:

New Knowledge

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with Muka 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 80%
Handwashing Stations 0%
Clotheslines 90%
Dish Racks 10%
Bathing Area 99%
Animal Enclosure 90%
Proper Garbage Disposal 50%

These community members attempt to practice good hygiene and sanitation but the inadequate water supply has been a big hindrance. They do not treat their water, which is very dangerous to their health. Their latrines are rarely washed, they do not dispose of their garbage safely, handwashing habits are unheard of in this area, and compound hygiene is highly neglected. General training of hygiene and sanitation will be very advantageous to this group.

"It is a very rare spectacle for me to clean the latrine. The water I attain from the river is often reserved for important duties such as cooking, drinking, bathing and washing clothes. We fetch water very far and often, washing the latrines is not a priority," shared Mrs. Lydia Ndilo.

"At times when the water is very scarce, we can go for days without taking a bath. My grandchildren miss school occasionally as they do not want to wear dirty clothes. When the latrines are not washed for long we use ash to reduce the odor."

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well will be build adjacent to Muka 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 Muluti Village and will bring clean water nearby families that have to walk long distances for any water at all.

Project Updates

June, 2019: Muluti Community Well Construction Complete

Muluti Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A hand-dug well was constructed adjacent to a sand dam (go here to check it out). The dam was constructed on the riverbed, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Recent rains have helped the dam begin to build up sand and store water.

It could take up to three years of rain (because sometimes it only rains once a year!) for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity. As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, a supply of water will be available for drinking from the well. With this water, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

We look forward to reaching out again when this hand-dug well has water.

Construction for this hand-dug well was a success!

"It's such a huge privilege to be part of establishing such a massive project in our community. Accessing water has been a great challenge in Muluti Village and this project marks the end of the water hassle in the area," said Nicholas Kisyula.

"Through this project, we shall develop our community and ourselves using the water."

We worked with the Muka Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the projects. In addition, they were trained on various skills such as bookkeeping, financial management, project management, and group dynamics/governance.

When an issue arises in relation to the water project, the group members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure it works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their field officer to assist them.

Hand-Dug Well Construction Process

We delivered the experts, materials, and tools, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done too. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand, stones and water.

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 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 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.

Dam and well (right) nearing completion

New Knowledge

The community hygiene and sanitation training was planned by our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Officer Veronica Matolo in collaboration with field officer Paulson Mukonzi. The self-help group chairperson was notified to mobilize the group members for attendance and participation. The training dates were also announced in the church to assemble and prepare the members in advance. Community members were also invited to attend to learn about the new water point.

The training was well attended on all three days. More than 60 people participated. The training is a participatory learning approach that seeks to empower communities to improve hygiene behaviors, reduce diarrheal diseases and encourage effective community management of water and sanitation sources.

The participation levels of the attendees were very impressive. Each person was assigned a role to play which ensured high concentration and participation levels throughout the training. There were many questions asked by the attendees due to the interest in the topics of discussion.

Our teams decided to train on topics including:

  • Health problems in the community
  • Investigating community practices
  • Good and bad hygiene behaviors
  • How diseases spread and preventing the spread of diseases
  • Choosing sanitation improvements
  • Choosing improved hygiene behaviors
  • Planning for behavioral change
  • Handwashing
  • Soapmaking

One topic that people liked was the Seasonal Calendar, a participatory tool used to educate the community members on their lifestyle trends, causes of diseases, disease patterns, and the best mitigation methods. The group members were divided into subgroups and were required to provide a list of the common diseases that were reported in their area at different seasons of the year, the probable causes, and where they go for treatment. Each group presented various diseases and were later taken through ways of preventing these diseases. In addition, the participants were taken through a demonstration of how diseases are transmitted.

The community members were trained on soapmaking, handwashing habits and project management/ownership. Teaching them soapmaking both makes it easier for community members to access soap throughout the year and provides people with the opportunity to make and sell soap in local markets.

Handwashing is another important part of the training. Diarrheal diseases pass through our hands to the mouth, therefore, handwashing is very important. The participants were involved in a handwashing demonstration and were enlightened on the vital moments of handwashing. Our teams also instructed community members how to make tippy tap handwashing stations out of locally available materials. These cheap and easy-to-make stations can be installed next to latrines so people can easily wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom.

"The training will really help us as a community at large," said Nicholas Kisyula, a local farmer.

"We will construct tippy taps adjacent to our latrines which will ensure proper hygiene and sanitation is maintained. Handwashing practices will be administered in our homesteads as well as washing our latrines on a frequent basis."

According to our trainer Veronica Matolo, the group members expressed exceptional interest in the training conducted. They were excited and had no rush to leave the vicinity as the training progressed. A few of the days ran late, but people stayed because they were so active and committed to the learning.

Thank You for making all of this possible.

March, 2019: Muluti Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway

People living in Muluti currently have to walk three 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: Muluti Community

February, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mula Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Daniel Mutua Mweke. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Muluti 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!

"Getting water before was very hard and strenuous. We had to walk for long distances of about five kilometers to River Ngaa to fetch water, especially during the dry seasons. The water table along this river was very low, and it would dry very fast. For one to get water, we had to dig very, very deep scoop holes. Cleanliness at home and household duties, and farming performance were very hard to achieve due to water scarcity. The water on this river was insufficient to meet all our needs throughout the year, especially during the dry seasons. There were always long queues and inadequate water supply," said 54-year-old Daniel Mutua Mweke.

"Now, it's easier to get water because the source is near our homesteads. Now I walk less than 100 meters because my homestead is very close to the water point. My livestock does not have to walk for long distances to drink water. Duties are easily achieved at home because water is available. The availability of water has revived our hopes through this project. We utilized the water from this source during the dry season, for farming and most members earned good incomes from farming watermelons, tomatoes, onions, kales, and spinach. There was plenty of water, unlike before. Hygiene and sanitation have also improved due to water availability and the sanitation and hygiene training that was received."

"The sand dam project has assured us of the constant availability of water which can be instrumental for farming of vegetables, plantation of fruit trees at our homesteads, and the sustainability of cleanliness at our homes. For now, we are certain not to lack food or struggle to purchase food because we can have them on our farms. I am grateful because this water point enabled me to establish a vegetable garden and a tree nursery I have always wanted to have on my farm. Through this water point, health statuses have improved because we were trained on water treatment, and our children can drink clean water which does not cause diseases."

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 Muluti 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 Muluti 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 Sponsor - In Honor of Richard Tomkievich