Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/07/2024

Project Features

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Kaukuswi is found in a peaceful rural location. The majority of the 503 people here live in decent houses made of bricks and covered with iron sheets.

The community's proximity to Matiliku and Emali market centers has led to many people attending market days that are held on every Wednesday and Friday. Locals walk together to the market in a bid to maximize on the increased variety of choice and fresh produce. Local residents come together during burial ceremonies, welfare organization meetings, fundraising events, and weddings.

More than half of people say that they make a living from farming. Some others earn an income by running small businesses, working in nearby towns, or engaging in informal labor for construction projects.

The amount of time spent in search of water has derailed the development of this community.

The current water source is found on a sandy, seasonal river channel. People dig scoop holes into the sand to fetch water. The river is seasonal and runs dry at certain times of the year. This leaves community members at the mercy of unscrupulous business people who sell water at high prices, exploiting the locals.

"For many years we have suffered the challenge of clean water access in our locality. This has led to poor living conditions and low levels of cleanliness at household and personal levels," said Benjamin Musau.

The water points are always open and remain exposed to many contaminating agents. The channel is shared by both human beings and animals. The available water is in a poor state and not suitable for human use, but there's no other choice.

More than half of community members travel for more than two kilometers in their search for water, which makes the pursuit of water a major challenge for this group of people.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Kaukuswi Community has been the Kwa Mung'oli Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 31 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 Kaukuswi 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 Kwa Mung'oli 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.

Most households have latrines. The latrines we visited demonstrated average levels of cleanliness with a majority being cleaned using ash. None of the facilities visited had water for handwashing placed nearby for use after visiting. Improvements will be needed in having handwashing facilities, garbage pits and regular cleaning of the latrines.

We will hold training on 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

October, 2019: Kaukuswi Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kaukuswi 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 Kwa Mungoli Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. 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 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 know they can contact our team of field officers to assist them.

"Our community has always been known for the struggles of accessing clean water. We were used to walking for close to 2 kilometers to draw water from scoop holes," explained Mrs. Peris Wakesho Nzingi, a local farmer.

"With the presence of this water project, our struggles will be diminished completely because water will be easily accessible and attainable. The water attained will be safe for drinking and we will also input the knowledge attained of water treatment. Our living standards will improve. We are very happy about this project."

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 was 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.


A hygiene and sanitation training for members of the self-help group and local community members was held at Chris Muia's homestead, a member of the group. This location was suitable because it was easily accessible to all the members and the environment was conducive for the training to be conducted. The weather was cold during the morning hours and sunny in the afternoon hours. The venue had tree shade which provided enough cover for all the participants.

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 participants' level of involvement and indulgence in the training was high and impressive. We had an open discussion where we discussed various topics of interest whereby they expressed their need for knowledge. They were very expressive, inquisitive, and attentive throughout the training session. In addition, they were very ready to volunteer for demonstrative and participatory activities.

The participants were divided into 2 equal groups and were tasked to discuss the common diseases that they suffer from in their community, the season in which they occur, and their causes. The participants later met in 1 group whereby there were presentations from each group. They were then taken through various ways of preventing diseases. A tool known as the seasonal calendar was used to train this topic.

The community members were very active and jovial about the discussion of health problems they face. A lot of time was spent on discussions about this topic compared to the rest of the day, making it a memorable topic.

In an open discussion, some members admitted to practicing open defecation due to lack of knowledge but they agreed to stop the act as they were now aware of the effects of open defecation. Seeing them take immediate action was a good gesture and this made the topic memorable to our trainers.

"The training was very good, we have learned the importance of having latrines at homes and the absurd effects of not having them in our compounds. As a group we promise to construct good toilets and [keep] them clean," said Peris Wakesho Nzingi.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

September, 2019: Kaukuswi Community A project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kaukuswi drains peoples’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school 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: Kakuswi Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kaukuswi 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!

"Initially, there were very few reliable water sources for the locals of this area. We would all depend on one source, which was always crowded, and we had to dig scoop holes to get water. Out of respect, if you arrived at the water source and found elders, you had to wait for them to fetch first then proceed. This was somewhat difficult for us. Such duties often robbed our time to relax and enjoy childhood," said James Kata.

"Getting water now has changed. I live far from this water point, but I prefer coming to fetch water here because there are no crowds and the water point is easy to use. It takes a few strokes to get the jerrycans full and ready to head back home. Water from this well is clean and fresh for use. It is also very safe for drinking and household chores. There are fewer cases of waterborne diseases since we started using water from this well."

James Kata

"As a young adult, the availability of water is promising in terms of employment opportunities. One can indulge in agribusiness and earn money from the sales of farm products. I plan to use the water for brick making once I complete school because it's a skill I always wanted to learn."

James 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 Kaukuswi 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 Kaukuswi 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.


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