Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/15/2024

Project Features

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Water scarcity is a great challenge in South Eastern Kenya. Most rivers flowing in this area are seasonal - they only flow during the rainy seasons. Afterward, the communities are faced with water scarcity challenges such as walking for long distances to access water and then having to dig scoop holes to fetch water from open water sources which lead to contracting waterborne diseases.

The residents of Kiteta and Muluti villages are fortunate. The Tawa River is relatively close to them, but for the nearly 2,500 people living in the area it is not a reliable source. That is changing.

Our main entry point into Kiteta Community has been the Muka Self-Help Group, which is comprised of households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members are our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone. We started working with this group last year and completed our first project together. But one water point and dam are not enough to support 2,500 people. For some, it is not close enough.

"The water point has been very helpful to our community because less time is spent fetching water. However, walking to the water point and coming back home has been very hectic because the water source is very far," said Mutinda Muatha to our field team.

"The terrain that leads to the water point is very rough and steep which is risky for carrying water. At times, when we are sent to get water we get back home late which delays the duties to be done at the household level."

We typically work with self-help groups for 3 to 5 years on multiple water projects to ensure that everyone has access to a reliable water source. Because some people are still using open sources to meet their daily water needs.

"On very tough days, I fetch water from nearby scoop holes and the water is usually not clean because livestock depend on the same sources," said farmer Agnes Musyoka.

The water she is fetching is not safe. The water attained from the scoop holes is contaminated and exposes the community members to risks of contracting waterborne diseases such as typhoid, brucellosis, cholera, and dysentery, among others.

Most of the community members here rely on subsistence agriculture farming to make a living. They depend greatly on access to water in order to ensure that their crops succeed each of the growing seasons. Ms. Musyoka said she sometimes resorts to paying for water, but it is hard to afford it - hence why she turns to the scoop holes.

Many young adults migrate to urban regions to seek employment. Others remain to work in other casual labor jobs such as motorcycle taxi driving, construction, working on people's farms, and selling charcoal at Tawa market.

Reliable Water for Kitea

Our main entry point into Kiteta Community has been the Muka 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 Kiteta 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 Muka 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

August, 2020: Kiteta Community Hand-dug well complete

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

Kiteta 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!

"The distance covered to the water point has reduced as compared to before when we would walk for long distances. Time expended in pursuit of water by our women will now be channeled to productive activities such as farming, running small businesses, and cleanliness at the household level. We have also gotten water for our livestock, and they can now drink comfortably," said Charles Mutiso, a 42-year-old farmer who lives near the well.

We worked with the Muka Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. Also, they 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. Four bolts for the hand-pump are fixed on the slab during casting. The concrete needs to dry for two 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.

During the construction, there were heavy rains that posed several challenges. The river had a lot of water, which made it hard to divert for the construction to progress smoothly. The onset of the novel coronavirus came with several restrictions and regulations. Among them are the abolishment of any social gatherings. As a result, members would fail to attend the sand dam construction on some days, and this slowed down the construction process.

"Reliable and safe water from this point is important to me because I have water for drinking, cooking and washing clothes," said Monica N, a young girl we met."

"The water point is also very near to my home, which makes me feel safe enough to fetch water and come back home with no fear. It will also help me to finish my household duties on time."

New Knowledge

The group's chairperson, Mr. Nicholus K. Kisyula, was notified about the scheduled training by the area field officer, Paulson Mukonzi, and informed the group members during the final processes of their sand dam construction.

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.

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.

More than 30 people attended, including two village elders. The training was conducted at their sand dam site; the environment was friendly and conducive as it provided sufficient space for movement and demonstrative learning.

The most memorable topic was on personal hygiene and COVID-19 disease. During the discussion of this topic, we explained to the community members about the signs and symptoms of the disease and how to protect themselves against contracting it.

"The training has been very educational for us. Skills about soapmaking have been advantageous for the community members. Sanitation is emphasized in the sustainable development goals and is a cornerstone in the fight against poverty," said Nicholas Kisyula, a farmer who attended the training.

"The lack of basic sanitation puts millions of lives at risk hence the increasing morbidity and mortality rates. We feel that we are now capable of raising an independent society thanks to the knowledge imparted. The availability of water at our sand dam alongside the skills taught will help us, in the long run, to be financially secure.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2020: Kiteta Community hand-dug well underway

A severe clean water shortage at Kiteta Community 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.

A Year Later: "Life is Simple and Relaxing"

September, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kiteta 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 the construction of this project, we used to walk for very long distances to the water points. We also had to dig very deep scoop holes to get water for use. The water table was very low, and it was very strenuous to get water. Water scarcity was a great challenge here," said Patrick.

He continued, "Now, with this water project, life is simple and relaxing. I spend very little time to fetch water and get back home to study."

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 Kiteta 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 Kiteta 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