Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/15/2024

Project Features

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Kyamwao Village is a rural place that is situated in Muvuti. The area is very peaceful. It has a population of 840 people from 215 homesteads that host an average of four people each. The buildings here are built of bricks and have an iron sheet roofs, with some having grass-thatched roofs.

The most common livelihood in this area is farming. Each member has a farm where they till and harvest in a bid to sell their products to the market areas. Due to water scarcity and unreliable rain patterns, farming is only conducted when the rainy seasons approach. The Machakos County Government constructed a market area for the community where most women work as vendors of their farm products and sell them to passersby along the highway. Community members engage in small businesses such as salons, shops, welding, and wholesale product sales.

Our main entry point into Kyamwao Community is the Kwa Kalekye Self-Help Group (SHG), which is comprised of 40 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. We will work with the group on projects for up to 5 years in order to ensure that all 840 people living here have immediate access to a reliable source of 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.

Currently, the main water source for the community is the Kyamwao River. It is a seasonal river which only flows during the rainy season and dries completely a few months later. The water accessed afterwards is attained with a lot of strain, and there are minimal chances for the water being fresh for direct consumption. There are also many people depending on one water source, which makes it inadequate for all the community members.

A lot of time is consumed fetching water due to the long distances covered and the long queues at the sources. As a result, there are no other activities which can be conducted at the household level. Water scarcity has caused immense financial pressure and depletion because a lot of money is used on purchasing water. The water vendors take advantage of their vulnerable situations and inflate the prices on the cost of the commodity.

"It is very exhausting walking to the water sources because one needs to carry their jerrycans, tag along with the livestock, and still carry their own child," said Christine Musyoka.

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 Kyamwao 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 Kwa Kalekye SHG, 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.

Most households have poor compound hygiene and their general hygiene and sanitation standards are low. People here seem to be very aware of the dangers caused by poor hygiene and sanitation habits such as lack of handwashing, lack of cleaning the latrines, poor personal hygiene and poor compound hygiene habits. Therefore, the need for sensitization on the dangers of poor hygiene and sanitation and emphasis is key to boost an improvement.

In relation to this, our trainers will discuss topics such as compound hygiene, effective water treatment methods, handwashing training, soap making lessons and knowledge of disease transmission routes.

"Hopefully, if we get water we can work on improving our hygiene as well as reducing the transmission of diseases," said Mbithi Matheka.

Project Updates

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

March, 2020: Kyamwao Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kyamwao 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.

"The water point is set to be helpful to a large population of people who reside within this locality," said Bernards Nzai, a farmer who lives nearby. "The availability of water here will reduce the strains of walking for long distances. A lot of time which was consumed by fetching water will now be used for productive activities such as farming and businesses."

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 Kwa Kalekye 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 3-day Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation Training (PHAST) was planned and organized by Judith Kituta, the Tawa Region sanitation and hygiene officer who coordinated with the area field officer, Paulson Mukonzi, to mobilize for the attendance of the group members on the scheduled dates. The group's chairperson was notified to inform the members about the training to ensure they were present.

Judith 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. Despite the rains, the attendance of the members was fabulous and they kept time, reported our staff. All of the group members made the training lively through group discussions, asking questions, and airing their views and opinions.

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.

Members were introduced to the common water-related diseases, their modes of transmission, and preventive measures that can be taken to forestall their occurrences. The community members learned more about the diseases in their locality and how to best prevent their spread. They also realized the hygiene practices that are amiss in their homesteads, vowing to improve and adapt to better hygiene and sanitation practices.

As a preventive measure, the members were shown proper handwashing habits to prevent the recurrence of the spread of diseases. They were also walked through how to construct tippy taps to ensure they keenly followed up on the handwashing at their households.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Kyamwao Community hand dug well underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kyamwao 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: Kyamwao Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kyamwao 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!

"Life was very hard before the implementation of this project. We did not have water nearby, and our environs were arid. People would have to dig very deep scoop holes to get water, and this was very strenuous and time consuming for us," said Erick Mutiso.

"Our livelihoods have really improved. More personal development projects have been implemented than there were before. Water is no longer a problem as the water table has really risen as compared to before. There is plenty of water for farming practices to take place. We currently have easy access to clean and safe drinking water. Our livestock now gets water easily, at shorter miles than they did before. Due to abundant water supply, we are engaged in environment conservation by planting more trees and establishing tree nurseries of various crops."

Erick Mutiso

"I can attest to the benefit of using the sand dam project for farming and income-generating activities. I plan to use the water for intensive farming. Initially, we would have to go very far to the market places to purchase vegetables. Now we can easily plant them on our farms and sell them easily to other community members. Selling the farm products has been very instrumental in improving our living standards."

Erick pumps 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 Kyamwao 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 Kyamwao 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 - Lifeplus Foundation