Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/27/2024

Project Features

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Yumbani village is a calm, peaceful, and rural area in Makueni County, Kenya. The topography of the area is hilly as the village lies between the Makuli and Nzaui hills. The roads are very bumpy, rough, and rocky. Houses are sparsely populated with large farms separating the homesteads. Most houses are made of bricks and iron sheet roofing.

An average day for these community members begins at 6:00 am or earlier when women walk to the nearest river to fetch water. Their return depends on the queues and the crowds at the water source that day. Once they get back home, they prepare breakfast for their families and ready their children for school.

The water is fetched from scoop holes along the Mbaloni River. During the dry seasons, the women have to dig very deep scoop holes to attain water. It can be risky because they are big enough that someone could fall inside the hole and get hurt. The roads are also very rough and steep to reach the river. The river sources are always open, exposing the community members to risks of contracting waterborne diseases.

"When there's no water at school and we have to carry from home, we are forced to go to the river first, fetch it, and carry it to school. It's usually very exhausting because we do not have water in the house," said Amos, a teenage student we met during a recent visit.

Our main entry point into Yumbani Community has been the Nduti Self-Help Group, which is comprised of households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. We worked with this group last year to complete a project, but it alone is not enough to solve the water needs for the more than 1,000 people living here. Many people still will use the open river source to get water because it is more convenient for them.

"The water source is usually very overcrowded. Attaining sufficient water for use is always very hard," said Onesmus Munyau, a local farmer.

Reliable Water for Yumbani

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 Yumbani 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 Nduti Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community levels. 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 the 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

February, 2021: Yumbani Community Well Complete!

Yumbani 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 three 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 water supply will be available for drinking from the well. With this water, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

"Access to reliable, safe water from this water point will be impactful in my life as I will not have to walk for very long distances to fetch water. Water is readily available for drinking, cooking, and farming activities. My life will be a lot easier thanks to this water project," said Sylvester Nzangu.

"I plan to utilize the water from this project for farming activities. I will farm intensely because the water is adjacent to my farm. We have been facing great challenges concerning farming and irrigation projects due to inadequate water within the region. Now that the water is available in plenty, I will utilize the water to farm vegetables for sale and domestic use."

Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this well was a success!

We worked with the Nduti Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. Also, they were trained on various skills such as bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and 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 field officers' team to assist them.

"Access to reliable, safe water is a huge relief in my life. I will no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water as the water source is adjacent to my home. Using the shallow well to draw water is very easy, and I will spend less than five minutes fetching water at the well. This is very beneficial to me as I will have enough time to engage in other developmental and income generating activities," said Florence Munyau.

"I plan to establish a vegetable garden where I can plant vegetables such as kale, spinach, onions, and tomatoes both for domestic and agribusiness activities. Having water nearby will also enable me to engage in agroforestry projects and fruit tree planting, which are beneficial in conserving the environment."

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. For this well, our team hit bedrock at about 10 feet. Because of the relatively high bedrock, we installed an infiltration gallery of pipes into the area behind the dam so that water will more easily reach the well.

Working on the infiltration pipes.

The diameter shrinks to five 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 stored behind the dam.

Once the lining construction 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 dry the joints 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 Matiliku region, Jeff Maluki, met with the group members while constructing their project and informed them about the planned WASH training. The members later agreed on a date and a central venue for the training. The local government authorities, such as the assistant chief of the area, were informed about the training, too.

The venue for this training was at Titus Maweu's homestead. Titus is a member of this group, and his homestead was a central venue to the majority of the participants. His homestead is situated 400 meters away from their second sand dam project. The weather was sunny, but the homestead had trees that provided shade for all the participants. The environment was quiet and was, therefore, conducive for learning.

The attendance was excellent and as expected. Among the participants were several leaders, including a village manager, a policy leader, and a church leader. The remainder of the audience included ten men and sixteen women whose ages ranged from eighteen to ninety years old.

The trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community 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 training was very educative and valuable. I learned quite a lot from this training, and I intend to share the information gathered with my friends and family members. We were taught on soap-making practices which will come in handy in the implementation of proper hygiene and sanitation practices at our homes, especially during this pandemic of COVID-19," said Stephen Mwanzia.

"The training was very informative, and we have increased our knowledge on hygiene and sanitation as well as on COVID-19. This training will help us protect ourselves from coronavirus infection and improve our hygiene and sanitation at home and in our community. The liquid soap will enable us to practice proper handwashing as well as help the group generate some income from the sale of the soap and the disinfectants which we have learned today," added Eluid Kyungu.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2021: Yumbani Community hand-dug well underway!

Community members in Yumbani do not have a reliable source for water. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point in the community and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

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: Greater Farming Opportunities!

March, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Yumbani 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!

James Muoki is a 32-year-old farmer in Yumbani and shared what it was like before a hand-dug well was constructed in his community last year. “It was very difficult to get water before. We had to dig very deep scoop holes to fetch water for drinking, household chores, farming, and for our livestock activities. There were very long queues at water holes. We had to wait for [a] very long [time] before our turn to fetch water would reach [us] and this wasted a lot of time. My crops would often wither. I often had to mostly rely on drought-resistant crops.”

James continued describing how life is different since the project. “Now, it is very easy to fetch water for use. The shallow well pump is very efficient and easy to use. Life is easier now. We draw water from the well and get back with no strains. In less than five minutes we are back to our homes with fully filled jerrycans and ready to conduct our duties.”

Since finding and collecting water has become less of a burden for James he is growing different crops. “I am preparing my farm to plant vegetables such as kale and spinach. I will also plant watermelons on my farm and irrigate them using the water from the river. I had already planted some vegetables using the water in the previous season which I sold to some community members and also consumed for our own household use.”

James pumping water at 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 Yumbani 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 Yumbani 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