Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 337 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 12/15/2022

Project Features

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Our main entry point into Kithuiya has been the Kyeni kya Ngungani Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 25 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity for the 337 people in their community. We will partner with this group on multiple projects for up to 5 years to improve water access in the 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.

Kyeni kya Ngungani group members are found in a peaceful rural setting which is largely arid and dry with little vegetation cover. Most of the local members live in below average houses made of bricks and mud with the roofs being made of iron sheets or grass. The four main sources of income reported by group members are, small business ownership (16.7%), casual labor (25.0%), formal employment (16.7%), and farming 41.7%.

Access to water is a significant challenge in this community. Though farming was ranked the highest, people reported that the kind of farming that they do is mainly rain-fed because they have no other way to irrigate crops. That means when the rains fail, they have very little to depend on. For those who sell milk it is a similar challenge. They reported that the milk production usually reduces when the rains are bad due to lack of nutrition for the cows.

"Our community lacks a reliable water supply source. This has resulted in community members using water from scoop holes for drinking and cooking, which is not safe for human consumption," said Judith Muema.

People must walk more than a mile in search of water, prompting some of them to buy donkeys to help in fetching water. In fact, more than half of the group members reported that it takes more than 2 hours to travel to the water source, wait in line, fetch the water, and return home.

The current water source is found in a seasonal river channel which runs dry at certain times of the year. People rely on scoop holes which are open and accessible to wild animals and livestock, exposing them to a wide range of contaminants. The water looks somewhat discolored and is obviously not safe for human consumption. This leaves community members with further struggles in their quest to access water for use at the household level.

What we can do:

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 Kithuiya 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 Kyeni kya Ngungani 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.

"Due to lack of enough water, the levels of hygiene and sanitation are low as the available water is too little for intensive cleaning activities and is not restricted to basic activities," said Mrs. Muema.

Most households have latrines, but they are built with unstable mud floors and lack handwashing stations for people to clean their hands after going to the bathroom. There is a need for 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 of hygiene and sanitation. This also exposes them to risks of contracting diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, and stomachaches.

Project Updates

09/06/2019: Kathonzweni Community Well Complete!

Kathonzweni 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.

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.

"We are very excited about this project because the challenges we faced in regard to attaining clean drinking water will reduce once the sand dam harvests sufficient water for use," said Emma Munyao, a farmer who helped with the construction of the well.

"The distance we used to cover will be reduced and there will be more time for other income generating activities. We are very humbled by the support received to construct this water project."

Construction for this well was a success!

We worked with the Kyeni Kya Ngungani 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, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted a hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and 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 ft.).

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 hygiene and sanitation training was planned by the hygiene officer Christine Lucas and Kathonzweni area field officer Muendo Ndambuki. The group Chairman was informed on the plans for a 3-day training and communicated with his fellow members to mobilize them for the attendance of the training.

The venue for this training was at Bernard Muli’s homestead, a member of the group.

“We chose to meet at this homestead because he has a big space and enough shade to host all of us,” said Emma Munyao, the Chairlady of the group.

An average of 20 people, the majority of the self-help group members, attended for each of the 3 days. Among the attendees were 2 community leaders, one from a school and the other from a church. The members were very enthusiastic and interested in learning new information and this was a major contributor to their attendance.

The environment was conducive and friendly for training. However, the weather was somewhat chilly and windy throughout.

“Mr. Muli's homestead is also near our first sand dam and therefore we can easily access water to use during the training,” added Lavu Iluve, a member of the group.

The trainer conferred with the field staff about their visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community still had room for improvement. They decided to train on:

- 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

- Soapmaking

The level of participation was very good over the 3 days. There were demonstrative activities where the community members volunteered to participate. In addition, they were very active and expressive which made the training very lively.

The members were taken through training on how to make 2 types of soap. The demonstration involved a lot of stirring and the participants took turns in stirring and were patient enough until the final product was obtained. The participants were very happy to learn how to make these products.

The oldest member of this group is a 91-year-old who is very well conversed with the history of Kenya. During the training, as the members stirred the soap he started singing historic songs for them and this made them laugh a lot making the training interesting and therefore memorable.

Mixing the soap

“We are very happy to learn the whole process of making these products. This is something we have yearned for [for] a long time,” said Ann Samuel, a member of this group.

The participants were divided into 2 groups and were tasked to list the common diseases they suffer within the community, the season in which they occur, and their causes. A tool known as the seasonal calendar was used to train on this topic. Members later met in 1 larger group for presentations. The outcome of this discussion was very good as members listed the most common diseases they suffer, with waterborne diseases topping the list as the most common.

During the discussion on this topic, participants had many questions compared to the other topics. The trainer therefore took a lot of time covering this topic until they were satisfied. The participation made the topic memorable.

"The training was very good," said Emma Munyao.

"It will help us improve our hygiene and sanitation in our homesteads. We will train other members of our community on hygiene and sanitation and this will lead to reduced cases of diarrhea diseases."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

06/18/2019: Kithuiya Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

People living in Kithuiya Community walk a long way just to get dirty water from open scoop holes. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by building a 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 again with news of success!

Project Photos

Project Type

Dug Well and Hand Pump

Hand-dug wells are best suited for clay, sand, gravel and mixed soil ground formations. A large diameter well is dug by hand, and then lined with either bricks or concrete to prevent contamination and collapse of the well. Once a water table is hit, the well is capped and a hand-pump is installed – creating a complete and enclosed water system.

Giving Update: Kathonzweni Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kathonzweni 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 this project was completed, locals in this area relied on water from scoop holes which were not clean for direct consumption. I would contract sicknesses such as diarrhea, stomach upsets, and typhoid. This would make me fail to attend school on some days. The distances we would walk to fetch water was very long and cumbersome for our parents. I would pity my mum a lot," shared 11-year-old Gregory M.

"Now, the water point is very near to our home, and we have to walk for a short distance to fetch water and get back home. There's more time to play and read once I get out of school. My mother seems more peaceful nowadays since the water point is near, and I often accompany her to her vegetable garden where she has planted vegetables. Our home is always clean, and I wear clean uniforms daily when I go to school. I also enjoy being sent to fetch water because it is easy to operate the well pump."

"With the easy availability of water here, there are fewer struggles and strains. I plan to put in more effort in my studies to ensure I excel and make my parents proud."


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 Kathonzweni 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 Kathonzweni 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!


1 individual donor(s)