Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/18/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Reliable Water for Mukuku

Our main entry point into Mukuku Community has been the Kyeni kya Mukuku 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.

Community members have to wake up very early in the morning to fetch water for use by digging scoopholes along the river. A lot of time is wasted in digging scoopholes on a daily basis, and the water drawn from the scoopholes is not fresh for drinking. There are several health consequences as a result of drinking water from these, like typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery, among others.

"I am most affected during the dry season," said Kennedy Muima Mbwika, a local farmer. "The water table is usually very low, and we have to dig very deep scoopholes in order to fetch water for use. In addition, the distance covered is usually very far. A lot of time is wasted in search of a water source."

The most common livelihood in this community is farming of drought-resistant crops such as beans, pigeon peas, maize, cowpeas, and green grams. The rainfall patterns are unreliable due to climate change.

"Getting water is difficult because of the terrain and distance covered to the water source," explained Carol Muli, a local mother and Self-Helf Group member. "Having to dig scoopholes is time-consuming, considering I have to get back home and cater to my family's needs. In addition, the water I get from the water source is not clean for drinking. My child has complained of stomach aches on several occasions."

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 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 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, 2021: Mukuku Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Mukuku Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. We constructed a new hand-dug well adjacent to a previously built sand dam on the Thwake River. The sand dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water, while the well will provide a safer method of drawing drinking water for the community.

As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

"Getting clean drinking water will be easier now," said Kennedy Mumo Mbwika, a local farmer. "This will be helpful and prevent me from contracting any diseases. A safe water collection point will give us more confidence."

Another community member, Johnson Musembi Kikuve, said, "The water project will improve access to clean water. We used to strain to dig scoop holes along the dry riverbed. Now, we will have sufficient water for drinking, farming, and for our livestock. Life will be much easier with easy access to clean water."

Hand-Dug Well Construction Process

Construction for this well was a success!

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. When all of the materials were ready, it was time to dig in!

First, we excavated a hole 7 feet in diameter up to the recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells do not reach that depth due to hard rocks between 10-18 feet). As planned, the diameter shrank to 5 feet when the well lining was complete. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through. When the well is complete, sand builds up around its walls, which will naturally filter the rainwater stored behind the dam.

Once the lining reached ground level, we laid a precast concrete slab on top of the lining and joined it to the wall using mortar. The concrete dried for two weeks before installation. In preparation for the hand pump's installation, we fixed four bolts onto the slab during casting.

Next, the mechanics arrived to install the pump as community members watched, learning how to manage simple maintenance tasks for themselves. Finally, we gave the well another few days after installing the pump to let the joints dry completely. We installed the pump 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 use the concrete steps to get their water.

This well will provide more than just basic hydration and hygiene, though.

"I plan to use the water for intensive farming activities," said Kennedy. "I will establish a vegetable farm where I will sell [the vegetables] and earn an income."

When asked about his plans now that he has reliable access to clean water, Johnson said, "We plan to use the water for farming activities. As a young man, this waterpoint will enable me to use it creatively to earn an income. I have a passion for real estate and construction. With an adequate water supply, I will use the water to make bricks for sale, or for constructing houses for community members."

When an issue arises concerning the well, 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 to assist them.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

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.