Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/15/2024

Project Features

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"Our area suffers from a lack of a reliable water source which has greatly affected our way of life here," said Joel Kilonzo, a farmer living in Kasioni Community in southeast Kenya.

"Women have been waking up early and traveling for more than 4 kilometers to the Kase River in search of water. The water is not even safe because it is drawn from open river scoop holes. The water has exposed community members to health risks such as waterborne diseases."

Mr. Kilonzo and the 700 other people who live in Kasioni share the same experience trying to access water. They rely on seasonal rivers to fetch water to use for everything from cooking to bathing and drinking. The community members report frequent cases of waterborne diseases including dysentery, typhoid, bilharzia, ringworms, and other stomach complications. The time lost and money spent treating these illnesses has a significant cost on people here.

"I have had bad water experiences since the time I was married here. During the dry season, I wake up at 4:00 in the morning to walk for more than 3 kilometers to the Katse River in search of water - sometimes with my children," shared Tabitha Mulatya, another farmer we met while visiting the community.

"It has never been easy walking in the darkness and endangering my life in search of water. Only God has been protecting me."

The long hours spent walking to and queueing at the water points have caused a lot of fatigue to community members and loss of valuable time. The majority of the community members rely on farming as their main source of income. Their primary crops include pigeon peas, cowpeas, green grams (mung beans), and millet. Water is an essential part of their lives. The time spent getting water could otherwise be spent working on the farm, taking care of family needs, or focusing on the many other responsibilities that are sacrificed as a result of their water crisis.

This community group is found in a rural setting on the slopes of Mumoni Hills which rests near the border of Kitui and Embu Counties. The area is generally hilly and made up of steep slopes with average vegetation cover made of a majority of indigenous trees. An average house here is made of bricks with iron sheets for the roof. Some homes use grass thatching for roofs. A majority of the houses lack cemented floors and the walls are not plastered.

Most of the latrines we observed at homesteads are made of mud floor slabs and the walls made of bricks. They are well-roofed with iron sheets and fitted with doors made either of wood or pieces of clothing.

Reliable Water for Kasioni

Our main entry point into Kasioni Community is the Kamami Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 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.

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well will be built adjacent to a sand dam project, 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 Kasioni Village and will bring clean water closer to families.

New Knowledge

These community members currently do their best to practice good hygiene and sanitation, but their severe lack of water has been a big hindrance to reaching their fullest potential.

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Kamami Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community level. This training will help to ensure that participants have the knowledge they need to make the most out of their new water point as soon as water is flowing.

One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We typically work with self-help groups for 3 to 5 years on multiple water projects. We will conduct follow-up visits and refresher trainings during this period and remain in contact with the group after all of the projects are completed to support their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Project Updates

May, 2020: Kasioni Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into effect.

Kasioni Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. We have successfully constructed a hand-dug well next to a sand dam. We constructed the sand dam 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.

"Access to clean water will give me unlimited water access within my home, which will lead to improved levels of cleanliness and regular handwashing, especially in these times of Coronavirus," shared Kitumbi Kitheka, a 65-year-old farmer.

"I am looking forward to improved health in my family and more time created to engage in other income-generating activities as there will be no more long walks in search of 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 will change our lives greatly because we will no longer be required to walk for long distances in search of water. The available water is clean and safer compared to the scoop holes we have been relying on before. This will improve our hygiene levels for the better, leading to a healthier community," said Emily Mbiti.

We worked with the Kamami Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. We trained the group 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 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 for water to seep through. Sand builds up around the well's 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 dry completely. 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 field officer in charge of the Nguuku region, Stephen Mwangangi, informed the community members about the planned water, sanitation, and hygiene training in the community during their project construction. The area sub-chief and village administrator were also invited and notified about the training.

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.

The attendance was as expected, with most of the community members turning up in good numbers for the training. The venue for this training was at Kasioni Primary School inside a spacious classroom. The weather was sunny for the first 2 days and rained on the third day. The environment was quiet and conducive to learning.

The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kenya days before the training started. With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the self-help group members showed a lot of interest in handwashing since it is one of the simplest and cheapest methods of preventing such diseases.

The training on this topic began with a demonstration on how to construct a tippy tap. We used local materials, including 2 fork sticks, a string, and a 5-liter jerrycan to construct the simple handwashing station. The members participated well in this hands-on session and promised to construct one at their homes once they returned.

"The training was very good. We are happy we have learned a lot about hygiene and sanitation. This knowledge will help us to prevent infections like coronavirus, which is emerging, and waterborne diseases, like typhoid," said Mrs. Kitheka.

Next, we led a demonstration on how to make liquid soap. The materials used to make this soap are locally available, and few skills are required. The whole process involved a lot of stirring to ensure all of the materials mixed well, and quality soap was obtained at the final stage. All of the participants took a turn in the stirring of the liquid soap. They were patient enough until the final product was obtained.
During the stirring of the soap, one of the members led the rest in singing a Kamba traditional song that motivated them and encouraged them to put more effort into all the activities that they do together as a group. This made the topic very interesting.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2020: Kasioni Community hand-dug well underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Kasioni Community in Kenya drains community members' 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: Kasioni Community Hand-Dug Well

August, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kasioni 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!

We experienced several water issues. For instance, during the dry season, we had to travel 5 kilometers to the nearest river to acquire water for use. We could not conduct farming because the area was dry, and the little water we had was only enough to cook and drink. Hygiene and sanitation levels had also plummeted, thanks to the water scarcity.

Water scarcity problems have been reduced greatly. We could not practice farming in the past, but now I have grown food crops and cash crops, such as vegetables. This has offered financial security since I now have a source of income from selling crops to the other community members. Farming has also enabled food security in my area.

It has helped me acquire financial stability since my group sells vegetables to other community members, and that income enables me to be financially independent. We have also attained higher levels of hygiene and sanitation since we use the water to wash our hands, as well as clean garments and household items. It has offered a source of employment for my community since most of them have grown cash crops that they sell at a profit.

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 Kasioni 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 Kasioni 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.


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