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: 03/01/2024

Project Features

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There is no safe water to be found in Ivumbu Community. The more than 1,000 people who live here must walk for long distances to access the nearest water point then carry the water back home using their backs.

That is if that river has water.

The current water source is a seasonal river which is prone to running dry at certain times of the year. During the rainy season, people draw water directly from the river or by digging scoop holes in the riverbed.  The water is dirty and unsafe for human consumption. I would not drink water from this source because it is open which leaves it exposed to all sorts of contaminants.

But during the dry season, community members must seek alternative sources of water that are even further away.

Some community members especially women and children have been covering large distances in search of water for use at the household level. This has exposed them to fatigue and impedes on their ability to do other work because so much of their time is spent in pursuit of water.

"Our community has been disadvantaged for many years in terms of water access," said Silas Kathungu, a local farmer.

We lack a reliable clean water supply which has led to poor hygiene levels and members using water from sources not safe for human consumption. Cases of stomach problems and typhoid among community members have been reported in the past which are associated with the use of bad water."

Ivumbu community is found in a fairly high altitude area which has favored good agricultural exploits by the community members. It is a peaceful rural location well vegetated with both exotic and indigenous tree species.

The majority of the community members are involved in subsistence farming, growing crops such as maize, peas, beans, mangoes, and bananas for family use and sell surplus which has been depending on the natural rainfall. Other community members are involved in formal and informal employment terms working hard to provide for their families.

People here work hard, but they have struggled in part due to the lack of access to safe and reliable water. But they ready for a change.

"We are committed to working hard to bring clean water close to us," Silas said.

Reliable water for people in Ivumbu

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well will be built adjacent to Ivumbu Irrigation self-help group 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 Ivumbu Village and will bring clean water nearby families that have to walk long distances for any water at all.

New Knowledge

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the recently formed Ivumbu Irrigation self-help group and other community 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 90%
Handwashing Stations 0%
Clotheslines 100%
Dish Racks 20%
Bathing Area 80%
Animal Enclosure 60%
Proper Garbage Disposal 40%

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.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ivumbu 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 Ivumbu, 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.

June, 2019: Ivumbu Hand-Dug Well Complete

Ivumbu 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.

Construction for this well was a success!

"The water project is very beneficial to all community members," said Sila Kathungu, a farmer who lives in Ivumbu.

"We began using the water point as soon as it was completed. The distance covered to access water has reduced and the water from the shallow well is fresh and clean."

We worked with the Ivumbu Irrigation 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.

New Knowledge

The training was planned by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Officer, Veronica Matolo, and the area field officer, Rhoda Mwangu. The field officer was notified on the scheduled dates which the training would occur and later informed the community members through the group chairman.

The training went along as expected because the community members turned up in large numbers. Some 39 people attended the three days of sanitation and hygiene training.

The weather was favorable for training. We converged at a community member's homestead which was centrally positioned and easily accessed by all the attendees. The household had a friendly environment, with many trees providing good umbrella shade for people.

Trainer Matolo conferred with the field staff about their visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics on which still needed improvement. They decided to train on:

  • 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

Training demonstration

The community members were very active and attentive throughout the training. There were many questions asked which expressed their interest in the topics of discussion. Men were more involved and participative from the beginning to the end of the training. In addition, they volunteered for demonstrative exercises which made the sessions livelier and more enjoyable.

The facilitator had an in-depth discussion about the Seasonal Calendar. This is a participatory tool primarily used to explore seasonal changes in a community in relation to diseases. These charts show the trends of diseases; when they come, their causes, and their prevention mechanisms. The community highlighted their major activities often related to the contraction of diseases such as water sourcing and the probable diseases that can be contracted at different periods in a year.

The community members learned the causes and prevention of diseases that are contracted in their area. This was an eye-opening topic which gave most members a new perspective and view of their lifestyles. Members were excited because they were enlightened and impacted with new knowledge.

Community members were taught on tippy tap construction and handwashing. They also learned about the importance of using latrines in a bid to eradicate the habit of open defecation. They heard about tips such as improvising lids to cover the latrine pit hole and the importance of washing the latrines as often as possible.

Tippy tap demonstration

"The training was so intense and educative," Mr. Kathungu said.

"We plan to change our lifestyle eating habits in a bid to reduce the lifestyle diseases that are normally acquired in this area. Adopting new practices will help in administering improved hygiene and sanitation in our community because our neighbors will also copy them."

Thank You for making all of this possible.

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: Ivumbu Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ivumbu 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!

"Before implementing this project, getting water was very hectic for the inhabitants of this locality. Area locals would walk for very long distances to fetch water for drinking, cooking, and performing other household activities. During the dry season, getting water was very hard because the water table levels would go very low, and we would have to dig very deep scoop holes into fetching water. In addition to this, there were very long queues at the water points, and the water was sold at very high rates. Cases of diseases such as typhoid and amoeba were rampant," said Sila Kathungu.

"This water point has improved our lives greatly because the water is readily available and it is easily accessible. The distance that was covered and the strains that were encountered are unheard of. Now it takes less than 20 minutes to fill four jerrycans of water and walk back home. The water we get is clean for drinking. The project has improved our lives very much because it's simple to use, and it is benefitting all the community members."

Sila Kathungu

"Through this project, I managed to establish a vegetable garden at my homestead where I have planted kales, onions, and tomatoes. I always wanted to engage in this, but I could not manage due to insufficient water. My family can now enjoy a variety of food thanks to this water project. Walking to the site to fetch water and getting back to the house is just a stone throw away."

Sila drinks from 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 Ivumbu 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 Ivumbu 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 - Lifeplus Foundation