Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Mung'alu Community is found in a peaceful, rural area with hilly terrain made of many steep slopes. The area has significant tree coverage made of both indigenous and exotic species. A majority of people live in houses made of bricks roofed with iron sheets.

Our main entry point into the Kathungutu Community has been the Mung'alu Self-Help Group. It is an all women's group 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 area.

On an average day, the women in this group wake up at 6:00 am to fetch water and prepare breakfast before their children go to school and their husbands go to work on the family farm. The main water source for this community is a shallow well and sand dam which they were supported in implementing last year together with our team. However, many people here still live far from this new water point or the line to get water is too long. So they turn to other, often unsafe places to get water.

"I am thankful to our donors for having supported our community with a water project. There are still water challenges in our community because the sole water facility is not able to meet the high demand for water from the existing population. Sometimes I have been forced to seek alternative water sources when I am not able to get water from the facility," said Mdinda Musyoka, a 71-year-old farmer who is a member of the self-help group.

That is why we are committed to working with this women's group for multiple years to complete water points that will ensure everyone here has equal access to safe and reliable water.

Reliable Water for Kathungutu

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 Kathungutu 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 Mung'alu 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

January, 2022: Kathungutu Community C Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kathungutu Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. We constructed a new hand-dug well adjacent to a new sand dam on the riverbed. 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.

It could take up to three years of rain for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity, because sometimes it only rains once a year! As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

"This water point will enable me to plant vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and cabbage) even during the dry seasons," said 74-year-old Grace Mutua, the Self Help Group's secretary.

Grace at the hygiene training.

"I will also be able to sell the produce and acquire an income that I can use to set up a business for my grandchildren. Hygiene and sanitation will also improve, which will consequently reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infections like typhoid and diarrhea."

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 Mang'alu Women's Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor.

Community members hard at work.

New Knowledge

We trained the group on various skills, including 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.

Our 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. As we've worked with the Mung'alu Women's Self-Help Group before, this training was a refresher for topics they asked for more guidance on.

"This reminder will help us improve on our hygiene not only at [a] personal level, but also in the environment," said Viata Mulinga, the group's chairlady. "I have learned that mostly we get sick because of eating and drinking contaminated food and water."

Viata at the training.

We decided to train on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, choosing sanitation improvements, planning for behavioral change, handwashing, and soapmaking.

"We have set up tippy taps in our homes near the gate so that when people visit, they first wash their hands using soap," said Salina Mwende, 54, a SHG member. "We are also practicing contactless greeting, wearing masks and maintaining social distance during gatherings."


"This training will help me avoid various infections including COVID-19 that can be fatal," Salina continued. "It will also help me improve hygiene and sanitation in my home because I will use kerol (disinfectant) to clean my latrine and construct a tippy tap for handwashing after visiting the toilet."

Members expressed their thanks to all the people who partnered to bring them reliable, safe water close to their homes.

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!

August, 2021: Kathungutu Community C Hand Dug Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kathungutu Community drains people’s 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: The Goodness of Having Clean Water

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kathungutu Community 2B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kathungutu Community 2B 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!

Last year, before a well was installed in Kathungutu Community, community members had to walk nearly three kilometers to collect water.

“Before the construction of this project, life was very hard. We used to get water from very far [away], and the water was not very safe for drinking. We did not have enough water for maintaining our hygiene and sanitation as well as for watering our trees and other crops on the farm," said 10-year-old George N.

But since the well's installation (attached to a sand dam), things have improved for community members, including George, and water is now easily available. Although the dam is not fully mature yet (that usually takes a couple of years), it has filled and is providing sufficient water to the well.

“Now, I enjoy fetching water from this shallow well point," said George.

He continued: "I spend less time to come and draw water, which enables me to engage in other important activities like conducting cleaning chores, farming, or chatting with my friends. Our home now features better hygiene and sanitation standards because we have enough water to conduct cleaning exercises. I get more time to play with my friends and study, which has improved my academic performance."

George concluded: “I am very happy about this project, and the source has made me realize the goodness of having clean water near us."

George (in the red and black shirt) smiles and washes his hands at the well connected to the sand dam.

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 Kathungutu Community 2B 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 Kathungutu Community 2B – 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 - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation