Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 550 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/24/2024

Project Features

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Reliable Water for Mukononi Community

Our main entry point into Mukononi Community has been the Ithime 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.

In this community, most of the women's time throughout the day is spent fetching water from scoopholes. They have to be up very early in the morning to ensure they are first in line at the water point. Often, they carry water on their backs using lesos (kerchiefs/bandanas used as headscarves), while others ferry back the full jerrycans with their donkeys.

"It is very exhausting having to fetch water from scoopholes on a daily basis," said Kataa Mutua, a 42-year-old local farmer. "I have had to dig very deep scoopholes to fetch clean water, which is time-consuming. The water was salty as well, but we had to persevere and use it, as there was no alternative. Due to low supply, at times we had to walk to Athi River, which is around 10 kilometers from here."

When they get back home from fetching water, they prepare breakfast for their children to go to school and their husbands to go to work. Due to the other household duties, these women have to go back to the river beds to fetch water throughout the day. By the time they get back home, it's already evening, and they have to prepare supper for the family.

The scoopholes are open to contamination from farms, human activity, and pathogens. During the dry season, community members have to dig deeper scoopholes in order to get water, due to the low water table. Additionally, human beings and animals use the same scoopholes to get water for drinking.

"Once [the water] dried, we had to walk very far to the nearest water tanks, where we had to purchase water," said Mukai Mutua, another community member. "As a result, the water we got had to be used very sparingly. Access to a reliable water source will enable me to get water for cleaning, drinking, cooking, and for performing all other household duties."

Due to this, diseases are rampant among the community members: typhoid, amoeba, and diarrhea (dysentery). Most community members have attested to have been diagnosed with typhoid.

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: Mukononi Community Shallow Well Project Complete!

Mukononi Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. The new well is situated on the Kyanda kya Munyamai Katuva River, which already has a mature sand dam. This means the well should always have plenty of water in reserve for the community members' use.

"Access to water from this water point will be very important for my home," said Paul Nyamai, a local pastor. "The pump is easy to use and the water is safe for direct consumption. Cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation will be easily achieved through this water project."

"I have sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and household use," said another local, Erastus Nzomo. "I used to strain to get water for mere hygiene and sanitation. Now, through this project, the water is readily available for me with no strains at all."

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.

We worked with the Kyeni kya Mukononi Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor.

Community members were asked about what they could accomplish with a source of clean water in their village.

Pastor Paul has plans of commerce. "We plan to conduct water sales during the dry season. This water point will help us grow as a group and as individuals."

Meanwhile, it sounds like Erastus's whole life will change with the addition of this water point. "I plan to use the water for farming of vegetables for household consumption and for sale. I also plan to utilize the water for brick-making to construct a house."

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.