Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/06/2024

Project Features

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Nduti Community is found in Mbiuni Village of Makueni County. The community hails from a peaceful rural area which has average vegetation cover made of both planted and naturally occurring trees. The majority of community members live in brick houses covered with iron sheets while others opt for mud-walled houses covered with iron sheets.

Community members have been relying on open river scoop holes in their quest to get water for drinking and household use. The scoop holes are found on a seasonal river channel and are prone to running dry at certain times of the year - which makes life unbearable for community members as they struggle for water.

"Our community lacks a reliable water source, and we are currently depending on water from river scoop holes which is not safe for human consumption nor enough for the village population needs. Cases of amoeba have been reported in the past as a result of using water from this source," said Katunda Kyungu.

The available water source is shared with wild animals and looks exposed to many other possible contaminants. Locals are required to cover substantial distances to get there, which makes it a burden for women and children who are traditionally tasked with fetching water for family use in this community.

The existing water source is depended upon by the whole village population. At certain times, there are huge lines of people waiting to get water, which means people lose even more time each day fetching water.

Many people in Mbiuni are actively involved in fruit farming on their pieces of land, especially of mangoes and oranges. The increased production of fruit in the area is the result of the Makueni County Government installing a fruit processing plant at the nearby Kalamba Market. But the gains made through money made by selling fruit to the processing plant are wiped out by the high cost of problems caused by the lack of safe water.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Mbiuni Community has been the Nduti Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 42 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands in 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 Mbiuni 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 Nduti 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.

"Levels of personal and household cleanliness have been below required standards because we lack enough water in our community," said Mrs. Kyungu.

The majority of the community members have latrines and clotheslines, which is a positive sign that they will implement the lessons they learn. Improvements are still needed in leading high levels of cleanliness, implementing handwashing facilities, as well as digging garbage pits within the family compounds.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mbiuni 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 Mbiuni, Kenya.

We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training. At the time, social distancing was a new concept, and one that challenges cultural norms. Although community members were hesitant to adopt social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

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.

January, 2020: Mbiuni Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Mbiuni 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 already 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!

"This project is a new intervention in our area and we are very optimistic about it. As soon as we had completed the construction, the project had already harvested gallons of water which are set to assist the community members in easy access to clean water. The distances initially covered to fetch water will now be reduced for people here and the quality of water will improve," said Mr. Eluid Kyungu, Chair of the water committee here.

We worked with the Nduti 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.

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 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 onto 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

‘Nduti’ is the local name given to very tiny insects that work very hard in unity and with great dedication to collect food for themselves. The self-help group, therefore, named their group Nduti to emulate the behaviors of these insects.

Upon completion of the dam and well, this group was taken through a Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation training aimed at enabling them to improve their hygiene and sanitation as well as manage their water and sanitation facilities. The 3-day training was arranged when the field officer in charge of the Matiliku region, Mr. Jeff Maluki, informed the members about the training during their sand dam construction. The chairperson followed up with all of the members to ensure they attended the training on the scheduled 3 days.

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.

On the day of the training, the weather was cold and chilly as it was the rainy season. The participants converged at Joseph Ndemange's homestead. Joseph is one of the members of the group and his homestead was centrally positioned to most of the other members' homes as it is 100 meters from their sand dam. The attendance was as expected with all of the group members participating, as well as several local leaders.

The participation and involvement levels of the members were commendable as they were active throughout the session. This was attributed to the training methodologies that were applied by the facilitator which encouraged the members to participate. Some of the methods employed included group discussions, a recap of the previous lessons at the beginning of each day, and demonstrations, among others. This ensured maximum participation from all of the participants.

During the soapmaking demonstration, the participants shared stories of how they have compiled and stored many dirty clothes due to a lack of soap. Seeing the final product excited them as they were very happy to have finally gotten affordable soap which requires very little skill to make. This made the topic interesting with all of the participants willing to buy the ingredients. The main purpose of this project is to help the group to improve their hygiene and sanitation as well as generate income through the sale of their homemade soap.

The participants were very happy to learn how to construct a tippy tap and most of them vowed to construct one back at their homesteads as soon as they got home. Tippy tap construction topped their list when they were writing their action plan. This was a good gesture from the participants and it made the topic memorable.

"The training has increased our knowledge of hygiene and sanitation. Through this training we have learned very simple sanitation infrastructures like the tippy taps, utensil racks, and the establishment of garbage pits, among others, which we will implement at our homesteads to enable us to improve our health and hygiene," said Eluid Kyungu after the training.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Mbiuni Community hand-dug well underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mbiuni Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. 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: Mbiuni Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mbiuni 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 lots of challenges regarding water scarcity and accessibility. We had to walk for very long distances to fetch drinking water. It was very exhausting, considering not many community members had donkeys to ferry the jerrycans back to their homes. The water we got was always contaminated as it was fetched in an open source, and this would often lead to contracting water diseases like typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery," said Steven Mwanzia Munyau.

"Life has really changed now. We would really struggle to get clean water during the dry seasons, but that is not the case now. Water is easily accessible now. In just a few strokes, one can get a jerrycan filled with clean and fresh drinking water. There is ample time for engaging in income-generating activities such as brick making. Using the water from this water point, we are practicing environmental conservation by growing trees at our homes."

Stephen Mwanzia Munyau

"Through the availability of water from this shallow well, each homestead now has a variety of vegetables and fruit trees such as tomatoes, onions, pawpaws, and citrus. As a group, we have established a tree nursery comprising various species such as kale, spinach, tomatoes, mango, and papaya, which will be subdivided among the group members to transplant to their farms. We also plan to sell the tree nurseries at 20 KES ($0.20) each. Young adults have found employment opportunities as they have embarked on brick making for sale because the water is abundant and they have sufficient time as well."

Farmer stands with thriving crops due to well and dam project.

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 Mbiuni 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 Mbiuni 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.