Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 360 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Reliable Water for Kanyonga

Our main entry point into Kanyonga Community has been the Wasya wa Athi 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.

The community members have to walk for very long distances to the scoopholes where they fetch water: close to three kilometers. The water drawn from these scoopholes is very salty and is unconducive for direct consumption. In addition, there are usually very long queues at the water point, which consume a lot of time for community members to draw water.

The water crisis has greatly affected the community members of this region.

"The water scarcity has affected me a lot personally," said local mother and farmer, Faith Mbevi (30 years old). "When there is no water, I lack peace of mind because I have to walk for very long distances to fetch water.

"I have small children to look after," Faith continued. "Walking to and from the water sources consumes a lot of my time, and I am often worrying about them whenever I go the river to dig scoopholes for fetching water."

On average, women have to wake up very early at around 6 a.m. or earlier to walk to the nearest water sources to fetch water from scoopholes. Often, they find queues at the water point and they have to wait until it is their turn to fetch water.

Also, the water fetched in the morning is usually inadequate to fulfill all the household uses, such as washing the house, clothes, cooking, and drinking. Therefore, the women have to go back to the river to fetch water for performing their chores throughout the day. They either carry jerrycans on their backs or they ferry them using donkeys.

The area is in semi-arid land that receives little to no rainfall as a result of climate change. The most common livelihood is farming of drought-tolerant crops such as maize, beans, cowpeas, and green grams, among others. The terrain is sloppy and rocky, with dirt roads leading to the villages and locals' homesteads.

Community members have often complained of water diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, and amoeba. Treatment costs have been high because the members have to use their own funds for medication.

Hand-Dug Well

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: Kanyonga Community Shallow Well Complete!

Kanyonga Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. The well now stands by Methovini River. The community already has an existing sand dam at the river. As a result, the well will have plenty of water in reserve for the community's use.

Ndambuki, a 13-year-old local student, said, "Having access to reliable safe water will be very beneficial to me. I will use the water for drinking, for livestock, and for watering plants at home. In addition, I will have free time to relax and hang out with my peers."

Another community member, Faith Mbevi, expressed her joy at the completion of the well: "My life has changed. I no longer have to walk for long distances. I spend at most ten minutes drawing water from the well and get back to my house. Now, I have started planting trees and vegetables at my home. I use the water for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, and maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation at my house."

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 Wasya wa Athi Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor.

The community held a small party where they had a feast and prayed together as a celebration of the project.

"I have always yearned to engage in farming business," Faith said. "I plan to plant vegetables such as kale, cabbages, spinach, and tomatoes, both for domestic and agribusiness. With availability of water, I believe I can do much more to improve my home and our living standards."

"Since the completion of this waterpoint, my father and I have been bonding a lot over brick making," Ndambuki said. "I plan to continue learning about brick making and construction of houses as well. So far we have constructed our kitchen, and we plan to renovate more of our household structures."

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.