Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 03/21/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Kangalu is a generally dry community in Kitui County of southeastern Kenya. It is a typical community for this region with thorny trees, bushes and dryland grasses sparsely spread across the otherwise open landscape.

Residents report that most of the land is used for free-ranging their livestock, which is mostly comprised of cows, small goats, and one or a few donkeys for those who can afford them. The soils range from loosely held sand to loam.

The residents affirm the soil is highly productive, but it is only possible when there is enough rain. However, this is a region where rains often come once a year and from seasonal riverbeds that dry up soon after the rains end.

During the driest months of the year, the day for the women starts as early as 3:30 am when they leave to find water located five kilometers away. They have a target of getting there before 5 am. The school-going children will then wake up around 6 am and leave for school at 6:30, while the men either leave the house in search of casual labor or go out to tend livestock.

Meanwhile, women wait for their turn at the watering point: an earth dam built in the 1970s. Most of them get back home around 11 am. All of this effort is to collect water that isn't even safe for drinking.

"The water we get from the earth dam is dirty and contaminated. But we do not have any alternative other than the scoop hole which is miles and miles away," said Grace Nzioka Mutui.

"It is not easy to access it, so the majority of us have to settle for the earth dam source for both our livestock and ourselves. But due to its state, we often get infected with typhoid and dysentery."

For families that can afford donkeys, the trip is made easier by the fact that they can carry jugs of water the long distance. Families that do not have donkeys must either carry the water themselves or pay a fee to use someone else's donkey.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Kangalu Community has been the Kangalu Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 184 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 Kangalu 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 Kangalu Chanuka 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 the challenge of water availability, the hygiene level is highly compromised. But the group members seem keen to improve hygiene standards and state, it as one of the key benefits they will derive from the project.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kangalu 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 Kangalu, 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.

September, 2019: Kangalu Community Well Complete!

Kangalu 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.

"This is a very important project to all of us in Kangalu village," said Linah Vundi, a farmer who helped with the construction of the project.

"We have been walking for more than 5 kilometers in search of water for drinking. Thanks to this new water project, the future looks bright with access to clean drinking water."

Construction for this well was a success!

We worked with the Kangalu Chanuka 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 field officer in charge of the region, Daniel Kituku, was contacted to organize the training. He informed the community while they worked at the site of their completed sand dam. He also informed the village administrator for neighboring Kavuvwani village to join the training too.

The attendance was as expected with a majority of the group members turning up for the training for all 3 days. Members agreed that the training was to be held in a nearby church compound. The weather was conducive but the better part of the 3 days it was cold. There was enough shade throughout the training.

The village administrator for Kavuvwani Village, Simon Kaviu Mwinzi, was present and he was impressed with the methodology that was used in this group. He assured the members that he will be part of the sanitation committee that was selected to monitor the hygiene of the locality.

Trainer Victoria Matolo conferred with the field staff about their visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics still had room for improvement in the community. 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 attendees remained actively involved throughout the training and asked numerous questions on concepts they sought further understanding. For one of the activities, we walked around Kangalu and Mumbuni villages to inspect the sanitation and hygiene of the 2 villages as far as the use of latrines was concerned. As we walked around, we identified the spots where open defecation was done and we identified 10 points with 4 homesteads that did not have latrines, plus 6 more homes that were identified by the village administrator.

People said the walk was a special activity because they knew of people who didn’t have latrines, but they did not know that open defecation was to such an extent that people were doing it in the rivers near where scoop holes for collecting water are normally dug. Together with the entire group, we identified routes of disease transmission from human feces to their bodies.

"Through this training, we have learned that we can prevent fecal-oral disease transmission and this will only be achieved through stopping open defecation," said Felisters Mumbe.


"We also gained a new skill [in] soapmaking, something that is very vital as far as hygiene is concerned. This will help us improve on hygiene as well as make it an income-generating activity for us all as a group and at [a] personal level."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2019: Kangalu Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway

Dirty water from open sources is making people in Kangalu Community sick. 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

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: Kangalu Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kangalu 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!

"We used to walk to the river and draw water from some scoop holes which were dug there, the water was never clean, and sometimes it could be colored. When the scoop holes dried, we would walk with donkeys and cattle to fetch water at Kasovi Earth Dam while the livestock would drink water. This helped accomplish two tasks at the same time," said 10-year-old Susan.

"Getting water is now easy. I walk to the well with a 10-liter container or a small bucket, use the pump, fill the container, and then walk back home. It has been taking much less time than before because the well has plenty of water and the pump fills containers fast. Being involved in water fetching has allowed mum to give me some leeway in using the water for bathing and washing my clothes more often without any rationing."


"I am now cleaner because I shower daily and wash my clothes with a lot of water. With my mum and my siblings' help, we have planted trees in our compound. I fetch water and irrigate them daily to grow faster. This would not have been possible without water near our home at the well."

Susan 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 Kangalu 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 Kangalu 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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