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: 02/19/2024

Project Features

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Kaketi Community is a very peaceful rural location in Makueni County of southeastern Kenya. More than 1,500 people live here, but most homesteads are built one to three kilometers apart. Most buildings are made of bricks and have iron sheet roofing. Its topography is characterized by dry vegetation, hilly grounds, rocky terrain, and dry rivers.

On the day of our visit, the sun was radiating its hot rays though the atmosphere was still somewhat chilly. High humidity showed us signs of incoming rains.

This region receives very little rainfall throughout the year. However, most community members are farmers who depend on the rainfall for large scale farming. Farming of maize, sorghum, millet, green grams, pigeon peas, cowpeas, and other drought-resistant crops is thus very common.

The community members fetch water at River Kaketi, which goes through their village. However, the river is seasonal and only flows during the rainy season. They rely on this water to ensure that their farms succeed.

On the day of our visit, the river was dry and the community members had to dig scoop holes to access the water. The paths leading to the water source are very rough and rocky, and one may trip and fall on their way there. All of this effort is spent collecting water from an open source which is often contaminated by nearby farms and livestock that drink water from the riverbed.

Some community members hail from far and have to walk for very long distances to access the water source, and their journeys range from two to five kilometers each way. In addition, not all members have donkeys to ferry their jerrycans.

"At times we walk for very long distances to access the water point. It is usually very exhausting," said Lenah Wanza.

"A lot of time is expended in pursuit of clean water and no other activities can be carried out in a day. The water is usually dirty and people contract diseases."

Water scarcity in this region results in many negative consequences. It leads to the contraction of diseases such as bilharzia, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. The treatment of these diseases is usually very costly for community members, and they have to walk for long distances because there are no nearby health facilities. This leads some families to not seek treatment - putting them at risk of complications from an untreated illness.

Unscrupulous water vendors take advantage of people's dire need of water and inflate the water prices. Due to the extreme poverty levels in the area, they can rarely raise enough money to buy the water. So, they have no choice but to walk these very long distances to access water. When the main river runs dry, some people travel even further to find other sources of water.

Our main entry point into Kaketi Community is the Kalawa People Living with HIV Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 25 farming households that are working together to support people and families affected by HIV/AIDS. They gather together and help out at social events and support people when they are in the hospital. In addition, the group members work together on development projects that are meant to improve the living standards of the entire community. These members will be our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

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 bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.


We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Kalawa People Living with HIV 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.

Most households have poor compound hygiene and their general hygiene and sanitation standards are low. 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 Kaketi 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 Kaketi, 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: Kaketi Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kaketi 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 the dam 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 Kalawa People Living with HIV 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 3-day training took place in the homestead of Benson Ndaka, the group's Chair. The presence of the rains made the community consider the use of a tent in a bid to accommodate everyone in a safe and conducive environment free from rains and cold weather. The environment was conducive and quiet for our learning and training purposes. Attendance was better than expected with members of the self-help group at the training as well as a village administrator, the Chief, Sub-Chief, and village elders.

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.

All of the members of the group made the training lively through group discussions, asking questions, and airing their views and opinions. The members were excited because they were now more aware of the risks exposed through bad hygiene practices.

"This training really enlightened us on how to improve our standards of hygiene and sanitation, prevent diseases, enhance the community’s capacity to educate each other on prevention of diarrhoeal diseases, and the management and protection of water and health facilities," said Mr. Ndaka.

Soapmaking was one of the most popular topics we covered. We thoroughly discussed the purposes of soap in our homes, its medical uses, the ability to clean their clothes, and the ability to disinfect their surroundings from harmful bacteria and dirt. The topic was special because the members learned the importance of using the products at home. They learned how to make soap for handwashing and for cleaning at home. With the new knowledge, people can produce soap for themselves and even sell some for a small profit to other community members.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Kaketi Community hand dug well underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kaketi Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a reliable 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: Kaketi Commiunity

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kaketi 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!

"Before this project, getting water was very difficult. I used to spend a lot of time walking to the water point and returning home. The water point was very crowded, which made the chore very cumbersome. During the extreme dry seasons, people would even sleep there waiting to fetch water due to the long queues," said Elizabeth Mwiso.

"Currently, fetching water has become easier. We fetch with no struggle. Now, I pack the jerrycans on my donkey and come to the shallow well. I fetch water for about five to ten minutes and get back home. I can engage in other productive activities at my home. Cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation are easily achieved."

"I plan to plant more vegetables for use at my home and to make bricks for constructing better house structures within my compound."

Elizabeth Mwiso


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 Kaketi 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 Kaketi 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