Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 299 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/21/2023

Project Features

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This community fetches water at River Nziuni, which is a seasonal river. Nziuni only flows during the rainy season. Afterwards, the river ceases to flow and people have to dig holes to find water.

As the months go by, the river gets drier and drier and the holes are dug deeper and deeper, which is very exhausting and dangerous. All of this work is for water that is unsafe and open to contamination.

The water attained from these sources is not safe for direct consumption. The scoop holes are often left open until the next time of use, which exposes the water to different kinds of contaminants such as pathogens, human activity, animal activity, improper waste disposal, open defecation among others.

The other alternative source of water is a school water kiosk located approximately three kilometers from the community. But people have to pay for the water, and it's something that people cannot afford on a regular basis. Once all their water sources have depleted, they are forced to walk for five kilometers or more to Tyaa River.

Even though these community members have to walk for very long distances for water, some members do not own donkeys so they are forced to go back and forth to the water source multiple times. This is extremely exhausting and depletes all of the valuable time in a day.

Due to the long lines at the sources, people have to wake up very early in order to get at the water source on time. Clashes and fights among the community members at the water source can break relationships and brew enmity.

"Walking to the water source is very cumbersome due to the hilly and rough topography of the area," said Viata Mulinga.

"Hunger pangs, a result of water scarcity, are common because one may lack water for cooking or even drinking which really makes life hard."

Our main entry point into Kathungutu Community is the Mung'alu Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 35 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. We will partner with this group on projects for five years to ensure everyone has access to safe water.  These members will be our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

Members of Mung'alu Self-Help Hroup hail from the small village Kathungutu. It lacks basic amenities and infrastructure such as hospitals, electricity, and running water. It is characterized as a rural setting which is very peaceful and relatively vegetated. The landscape consists of indigenous natural bushes - some which have been cleared to create pathways. The buildings are built of bricks and mud with iron sheet roofs.

People here rely on farming, casual labor, and small businesses for their income. Farming is the most relied on, although it is an inconsistent source of income because the community members have to depend on the rains to farm.

There's high potential with this group of people because if they are trained on financial management and record-keeping, they will boost their income levels. The few who indulge in casual labor proved that with the provision of water, they would embark on farming and other income-generating activities instead.

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 Kathungutu, 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 commmunity 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 poor compound hygiene and their general hygiene and sanitation standards are low.

"We do not have sufficient water to keep the latrines clean," said Salina Mwende.

"At times we may fail to take showers because the water is not enough for such comforts. Lack of sufficient water is very troublesome in this area."

In relation to this, they need 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 Kathungutu 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 Kathungutu, 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.

August, 2019: Kathungutu Community Well Complete!

Kathungutu 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 worked with the Mung'alu 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 hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and to help improve behaviors such as handwashing.

"We are very happy to have successfully completed the construction of this water project in our community. It is one of a kind and it will help us and the future generations in our village," said Viata Mulingwa, a farmer and member of the self-help group.

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 builds up to the top of the wall. Until then, people will climb the concrete steps to get their water.

"This is a major milestone in our quest to have increased access to water in our community. We are ready to work on more projects!" said Mrs. Mulingwa.

New Knowledge

Field officer Paul Musau visited the group and informed all the members on the dates of the hygiene and sanitation training. More than 30 people were in attendance when our trainer Veronica Matolo arrived. The venue of the training was in the homestead of Mbuvi Kitumbi. The weather was windy and cold for the better part of the 3 days, and members preferred sitting in the open to get some warmth from the sun. The environment was very conducive and no distraction was experienced at all.

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 the following topics:

- 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 participants especially enjoyed the soapmaking part of the training. This was the first time they learned how to make soap. They were very interested in the process and the opportunity to make soap themselves that they can sell in local markets.

"Our income will also increase because we now have a new skill of soapmaking," said Viata Mulingwa.

"And it will improve our nutrition since it will help us afford to buy more food."

Another topic of interest was open defecation. The group walked around some nearby households to inspect them for evidence of open defecation. They learned that many people were going to the bathroom wherever they wanted. Most notably, they found feces near the open scoop holes where they sometimes fetch water.

"This training will help us improve hygiene by stopping open defecation. This will be achieved by people constructing latrines, especially those that don't have any," Mrs. Mulingwa said.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2019: Kathungutu Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

People living in Kathungutu 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 nearby hand-dug well that will safely access water from a sand dam.

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: Kathungutu Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kathungutu 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!

"Getting water for household use was not easy for a majority of us, we would walk all the way to Tyaa river with donkeys to fetch water from dug river scoop holes, the water was never safe for human consumption, but we had no choice as it was the available option. Getting water from the river was a task which took a lot of time because of the distances involved and time taken at the water point," shared Mueni David.

"Getting water has been made easy by this new water point, it is nearer to my home and a majority of the community members in our village, the water is always flowing and accessible to everyone all day long. One must only walk to the point with a container, fill using the hand pump, and walk back home. Having water nearer helps me improve my economic status by utilizing the time initially spent in water pursuit. Now I can operate a kiosk at the local market for more hours than in the past when I would have to close and go to fetch water."

Mueni David

"This project fulfilled our long time goal of having water near my home. It also provided us with water all year round, a major milestone for us to have a regular water supply from the project. Together with my children, we have been getting water from the well and establishing a small kitchen garden where we have grown kales and spinach. This is helping cut the cost of food items while also improving eating habits."

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 Kathungutu 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 Kathungutu 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 - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation