Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/28/2024

Project Features

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The more than 1300 people in Mukuku Community depends on open river scoop holes found along Thwake river to meet their daily water needs.

Available water is from open river scoop holes which have exposed the community members to potential health dangers such as diseases contractions. They are open water sources which are shared by human beings, livestock and wild animals.

"Our community suffers from a lack of reliable clean water source, we are always forced to fetch water from insecure sources which expose us to potential health risks because the water is open to many possible contaminants," said Kyalo Ndeto.

Community members are always required to cover relatively long distances to and from the water source which makes the hunt for water a tedious affair for women and children who are naturally involved in the activity. Further, queues at the channel and the long waiting time devastates those involved in the process.

"It takes more time thus depriving people of valuable time which could be utilized in development-oriented activities," said Mr. Ndeto.

Mukuku community is found on a silent rural setting with a relatively flat terrain which favors motorcycle transport and use of bicycles as a means of transport. The area is characterized by low vegetation cover made of predominantly indigenous tree species which are naturally growing at the locality.

The majority of the people living in this area practice small scale agriculture for family upkeep and sale of surplus. Locals grow maize, peas, green grams and are recently involved in the growing of fruit trees such as mangoes and oranges. Their close proximity to Thwake rive has led to a good number of community members engaging in irrigation farming at times of the year when water is available.

What we can do:

Our main entry point is the Mukuku Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 69 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.

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


We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with Mukuku self-help group, 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.

The majority of community members have latrines, a kitchen and clotheslines which presents a good gesture for a new community group. Improvements are needed in areas such as the regular cleaning of the latrines, implementation of handwashing facilities, and digging of garbage pits within the homesteads.

In relation to this, the community needs improvement on compound hygiene, effective water treatment methods, handwashing training, soap making lessons and knowledge of disease transmission routes. The members of this group seem to have little knowledge on hygiene and sanitation. This also exposes them to risks of contracting diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea and stomachaches.

Project Updates

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

January, 2020: Mukuku Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Mukuku 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 3 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.

Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this well was a success!

We worked with the Mukuku Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project.

"We are very grateful for the implementation of this project in our community. Life will be easier and the community members will really develop and grow," said Arthur Kyalo, a farmer and member of the self-help group.

"This sand dam and well project will harvest gallons of water which will be beneficial to the entire community."

The group members were trained on various skills such as bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted a hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and to help improve behaviors such as handwashing.

When an issue arises concerning 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 our team of field officers 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 7 feet in diameter is excavated up to a recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells do not reach that depth due to the existence of hard rocks between 10-18 feet.).

The diameter shrinks to 5 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 is 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. 4 bolts for the hand-pump are fixed on the slab during casting. The concrete needs to dry for 2 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. As the dam matures, sand will build-up to the top of the wall. Until then, people will climb the concrete steps to get their water.

New Knowledge

The trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community still could improve upon.

They decided to train on topics including health problems in the community; good and bad hygiene behaviors; how diseases spread and their prevention; choosing sanitation improvements; choosing improved hygiene behaviors; planning for behavioral change; handwashing; and soapmaking.

The training was held at Musee Ngumbi’s homestead, who is a member of the group. The weather was sunny throughout the training. The venue had several trees that provided adequate shade for all of the participants. It was a peaceful and quiet environment that was conducive to learning.

The level of participation was "impressive and admirable," said our staff when it was complete. The attendees were very active throughout the training sessions. They readily volunteered to participate in training activities. Additionally, they expressed immense interest in the topics of discussion as evidenced by the questions they asked and their general willingness to learn.

“The training was very good and involving. We have gained a lot of knowledge within the 3 days," said Mr. Kyalo, after the training was complete.


"The training has increased our knowledge on how to prevent diseases and from today we will live a healthy lifestyle. Our minds have been opened and we will be a source of light to our community.”

Handwashing demonstration

Tippy tap construction was a particularly interesting topic for the group. Tippy taps are hands-free handwashing stations that can be constructed quickly and easily with just a few common household objects. By using a small plastic container, the members were very happy to learn how to construct a tippy tap and promised to construct them in their homesteads. They all discovered that it was an easy method to prevent diseases. They took turns washing their hands following the procedure that they learned. This made the topic interesting.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Mukuku Community hand-dug well underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mukuku Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction 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: Mukuku Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukuku 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!

"Life was very hard before the implementation of this project. We did not have water nearby, and our hills were arid. People would have to dig very deep scoop holes to get water, and this was very strenuous for us," explained Erick Mutiso.

"Now, our livelihoods have really improved. More personal development projects have been implemented than before. Water is no longer a problem as the water table has really risen as compared to before. There is plenty of water for farming practices to take place. We currently access clean and safe drinking water. Our livestock now gets water easily at shorter miles. Due to abundant water supply, we are engaged in environment conservation by planting more trees."

Pumping the well a year later

"I plan to use the water for farming. I have attested to the benefit of using the sand dam project for farming and income-generating activities. Initially, we would have to go very far to market places to purchase vegetables. Now we can easily plant them in our farms and sell them easily. Selling the farm products has been very instrumental in improving our living standards."

Sand dam a year later

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 Mukuku 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 Mukuku 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 - Zion Evangelical Lutheran Harvest of Hands Committee