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: 03/20/2024

Project Features

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"The pursuit for water is a very energy-draining duty in this area," said Mary Nguno.

The more than 2,000 people in Katovya Community must travel more than two kilometers to collect water from Masaki River or from a neighboring community's water kiosk. Both sources provide water that is unsafe for drinking because it comes from sources open to contamination.

Masaki River is seasonal and the area is prone to prolonged dry seasons. There were small wall gabions which were constructed by the county government along this river in a bid to curb water run-off during the rains, but the wall is not functional as it is very porous and causing lots of water loss.

People dig into the sand of the riverbed to get water. These scoop holes provide water but run dry very fast because they are often overcrowded and the water table is usually very low. In addition, these sources are always open and so are also used by animals. There's a water kiosk, but it is very far and the water is usually very costly to purchase.

"Attaining clean water is very hard. At times we forego such luxuries because we have other duties to perform," Mrs. Nguno explained.

"During the drought periods, there are usually a lot of feuds at the water sources, long queues, theft of donkeys and jerrycans, animal attacks from the donkeys and snakes. The water source may be overcrowded so one has to wait for more than four hours waiting for their turn to fetch the water."

The water kiosk is a popular alternative during the dry season, but it too is a long distance away from the community and people have to pay to fill up water at the source. That is a burden on many of the households that already struggle to get by.

Our main entry point into Katovya Community is the Nzighi Masaki Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 271 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.

Community members of Kalovya Village depend on farming as their primary source of income, although it is not reliable because they only farm during the rainy seasons. The region is prone to perennial water problems and inconsistent rainy patterns rendering only the financially capable homes to depend on farming, as it often becomes an expensive activity during the dry seasons. This is as a result of the water challenges experienced in the area.

In this community, the building structures are a mixture of both bricks and mud. The area is scarcely populated as the homesteads are roughly one or two kilometers apart. It is a fairly vegetative area; the most popular planted crops are sorghum, millet, maize, and beans.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Katovya Community is the Nzighi Masaki self-help group, which is comprised of 271 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands in feet and both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

Hygiene and Sanitation

The community members of Katovya Village attempt to maintain good hygiene and sanitation lifestyles when the water is available as they have clothes lines, some homesteads have latrines, a bathing shelter and a kitchen. However, their biggest area of improvement is on latrine hygiene, compound hygiene, handwashing habits, water treatment and enlightenment on disease transmission.

"We can go for days without bathing because water is so scarce; we are struggling to survive," said Bernard Mwangangi. "Cleanliness is honestly not well maintained. The latrines are rarely washed at times we used to apply ash to dispense the odor."

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with Nzighi Masaki 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.

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

Project Updates

February, 2020: Katovya Community well complete!

Katovya 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 Nzighi Masaki 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

Members had agreed to hold the training under a tree close to their sand dam but because of the rain, we requested one member and the group's secretary, Jedidah Musyimi, to allow us to have the training in her homestead. The venue was conducive to the training since it kept us dry!

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.

Training demonstration

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.

Attending members were active throughout the training period, they engaged the trainer actively and participated well in activities such as the group discussions and presentations.

handwashing demonstration

One member who did not have a latrine promised to construct one within the week. This was after the emphasis on the importance of having a functional latrine and the dangers of open defecation for the community.

We demonstrated the construction of a simple handwashing facility (tippy tap). This was meant to improve hygiene practices, especially handwashing at key times, to reduce incidences of diarrhea and other fecal diseases. The proper steps of handwashing were also demonstrated and a member requested to demonstrate it to the other members.

"This training has imparted us with enough knowledge to generate more income. Through improved hygiene, incidences of disease transmission are going to decline," said Ms. Mwangangi.

Mixing soap

"This will improve our life quality because the money that we have been using to pay for treatment will be used to do other activities like providing our families with a balanced meal and paying school fees for our children."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

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: Katovya Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Katovya 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!

"I was not majorly involved in the water fetching process because it was being obtained from far, Mum would leave home with donkeys and come back later in the day with water," explained 6-year-old Mumo.

"Water has been brought close to home through this water project. I am able to participate in the water fetching process using a small bottle where I can carry 3 liters or 5 liters of water at times. I can help Mum have enough water at home for drinking, cooking, watering tees, and cleaning the houses. We are also using the water for handwashing all the time at home."

"I can take a shower more regularly because I can fetch the water on my own, and Mum allows me to use the water without any restrictions. With the help of my bigger siblings, we have planted trees at home, and we are watering them using water from this water project, which was not possible before the project implementation."


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 Katovya 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 Katovya 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 Underwriter -
1 individual donor(s)