Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/01/2024

Project Features

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This is our second year partnering with the Ngwatanio ya Kinyongo Self-Help Group in Utuneni, Kenya. Last year, we constructed a sand dam and hand-dug well that are already providing water to some of the 4,553 people living here.

But a single water point can only regularly support about 500 people. That is why we work with self-help groups for five years to build more water points and ensure that every person has access to safe, reliable water.

Universal access to water by all community members remains a challenge in this community with some members coming from far places to reach the already implemented water projects. The community members exhibit high levels of commitment to ensure easy water access for the entire population through the implementation of more water projects evenly distributed so as to reach every corner of the village.

"We come from a community which is not privileged enough to have an adequate water supply all around the year. Working on water projects for the last one year has brought more hope as the fruits of our work are more visible," said Esther Muindi.

The community is found on the slopes of Mbooni Hills in Makueni County. Community members live in a peaceful, rural setting with significant tree coverage made up of exotic trees species. A majority of community members live in decent houses made of bricks and covered with iron sheets, while others live in mud-walled houses covered with iron sheets or grass.

On an average day for the community members, a woman and her children wake up at 6 am, go to fetch water, and then prepare breakfast for the family as the children prepare for school. The man, on the other hand, wakes up to go to the farm to get Napier grass for the livestock and also to run any needed errands. Errands that are most common are farming, taking farm products to the market, and feeding the livestock among others.

During the day, the woman does household chores such as washing the family’s clothes, tidying up the house, washing utensils, and preparing lunch as well as supper for the family. They also have community meetings such as fellowships and self-help group meetings which they attend during the day.

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


Community members have participated in training sessions that teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish in their homes. Members of this community are recording improvements on their adherence to hygiene and sanitation standards, a good number of community members have constructed hand washing stations, clotheslines and dish racks. Improvements are highly needed on having garbage pits and regular cleaning of latrines.

"The state of hygiene and sanitation in our community can be described as average, community members are improving slowly after the training on hygiene and sanitation in the last one which taught us on the important aspects of maintaining high levels of cleanliness," said Esther Muindi.

Upcoming training sessions will strengthen weaknesses and continue encouraging each family that making the extra effort to clean homes, bathe, wash hands, and treat water is well worth it!

Project Updates

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

February, 2020: Utuneni Community hand-dug well complete!

Utuneni Community 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!

"The new water point will be very beneficial to this entire community. The availability of water has been made easier for all of us," said Benson Kyuli, a farmer from the community.

"We are grateful that now all our group members can access water at a distance of fewer than 100 meters from their homesteads. The water is clean and fresh for direct consumption which is very pleasing for us all."

We worked with the Ngwatanio Ya Kinyongo 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 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 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. The attendance was as expected with 38 members and 2 village elders. It was a commendable number of people because the construction of the project was ongoing and this is the third training with this group.

Based on discussions with group members and an evaluation of their progress over the past three years, we decided to train on nutrition; disease transmission and prevention; and soapmaking.

The training was held under a tree at their first sand dam site. The environment was conducive for learning. During the morning hours, it was very chilly but the atmosphere got warmer as the day elapsed. In the afternoon, it was relatively warm.

The participation levels of the community members was very impressive throughout the training sessions. All the members participated in the training by asking questions, airing their concerns and volunteering to take part in the demonstrative activities. The session was very lively and enjoyable throughout the day.

In the first topic, community members alongside the facilitator discussed in depth on transmission of diseases and the major carriers in their homes. This involves; feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food among others. The community members were sensitized on practices of maintaining high sanitation standards such as hand washing, cleaning food before eating and cleaning the surfaces where food is prepared.

For any social and economic development, adequate sanitation in conjunction with good hygiene and safe water are essential to good health. Inadequate access to clean water and poor sanitation results to the spread of deadly diseases.

"The training has been instrumental in empowering us to be independent and grasp the knowledge of owning the projects as our own," said Mr. Kyuli.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Utuneni Community project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Utuneni Community drains time, energy, and health from people here. 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: Utuneni Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Utuneni Community 2B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Utuneni Community 2B 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, I would really struggle to get water. The nearest water point was at the mountains, which are close to three kilometers from here. Walking to that water point was very strenuous as I had to carry a jerrycan full of water ascending and descending the sloppy terrains," said Musyoki.

"I have seen the benefits of this water point in farming at home. I water the vegetables at home using the water from the sand dam project. Among the vegetables planted are; spinach, kales, onions, and tomatoes. Since the water point was completed, life at home also changed. I eat better food and also drink cleaner and safer water than I used to before."

"I am still young, and I would like to start farming early on, now that there is bare land at home and abundant water supply. I intend to plant bananas, arrowroot, and establish a tree nursery with fruit trees which I can transplant to the farm."

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 Utuneni Community 2B 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 Utuneni Community 2B – 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.


Facebook Donations
Fishing Creek Baptist Church
Amy and Colin Winter Foundation
Charities Aid Foundation of America
Tyler's Campaign for Water

And 3 other fundraising page(s)
39 individual donor(s)