Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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The Wathanaa Self-Help Group is found in Nduumoni village, Kenya. The area is a rural, fairly vegetated, and peaceful region. It is sparsely populated, with most houses made of bricks.

The 2,875 community members here suffer a lot during the dry seasons because of their community's lack of water. An average day for the community members starts at the crack of dawn when women walk to the riverbed. All roads here lead to the Nduumoni River, where people go to fetch water for the day.

The distance covered by some community members to access the river is very far, meaning they have an exhausting daily walk back and forth while carrying their heavy water containers on their backs. Because water levels in the early morning are generally higher than later in the day, once the women arrive at the river, they collect the water and return home as quickly as possible.

The river, however, dries up quickly each dry season. People have to dig very deep scoop holes into the riverbed to access water for much of the year. The scoop holes are usually overcrowded because the water table is shallow, and typically only one scoop hole has water at a time. Hence, on any given day, the entire community may be depending on a single scoop hole for water.

If women find themselves stuck in line for water, their kids back at home have to leave for school hungry, going without their breakfast for the day. Only if the mothers return home early enough can they also cook and feed their children breakfast.

"I am an old woman now, and water scarcity affects me a lot. During the dry seasons, I have to dig very deep scoop holes to fetch water. If I get water here, my life will change," said Rebecca, a 78-year-old farmer.

As a result of the time lost to the task but also the inability to bring more water home, most families have to ignore basic hygiene and sanitation practices in their homesteads. This often means sacrificing things like handwashing, doing the laundry, bathing, and washing dishes just to have enough water for drinking and cooking.

An insufficient supply of water also leads to high poverty levels because people cannot engage in other income-generating activities as most of their time is spent searching for water.

Because the open river is exposed to various contaminants such as animal and human waste, dirt, and farm chemicals, it is unquestionably unsafe to drink. But without another choice, people often end up sick from the water. While families struggle to afford medicine and hospital visits to treat typhoid and cholera, the high and recurring costs further drain their financial resources.

"Insufficient water supply has contributed highly to the poverty levels in the region because we are unable to farm well. We spend a lot of our finances on treatment and fetching water at times. Life is hard without water," said Bramwell, a local farmer.

Our main entry point into the Nduumoni Community has been the Wathanaa Self-Help Group, which is comprised of households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members are like our hands and feet in constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone in their area.

The most common livelihood in this region is farming, with people focusing on subsistence crops. Casual labor jobs such as constructing people's homesteads or farming on others' land are also common among young adults.

Reliable Water for Nduumoni

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 our artisans and mechanics' guidance, 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 hindered reaching their fullest potential.

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Wathanaa 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 ensure that participants know 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 handling, storing, and treating 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.

The community and we 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 training 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, 2022: Nduumoni Community Clean Water Update!

You were a major part of establishing a shallow well in the community of Nduumoni. When we install sand dams, we build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. However, it often takes a rainy season or two for the projects to reach their full potential. We are thrilled to report the sand dam and shallow well are now filled with water and fully functional, providing clean water to the community. Thank you for making clean water a reality for this region. By having consistent access to reliable water, the people of this community’s health, energy, finances, and free time are sure to improve!

November, 2021: Nduumoni Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Nduumoni 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.

"The water project will provide reliable and safe water for our community," said 27-year-old Prosper Mwongela. "Our lives will improve. Additionally, we will have water for drinking, cooking, our livestock, and maintenance of proper hygiene and sanitation at our homes. The struggles of having to walk for long distances to get water will reduce."

"We also foresee the improvement of our climate and the environment as the water table and recharge will be high, thus enabling the regeneration of [the] natural environment," Prosper continued.

Prosper celebrating the completion of the water projects.

"I plan to use water from this water point for irrigation practices," Prosper concluded. "I will be able to farm vegetables such as kale, spinach, tomatoes, capsicum (peppers), and other food crops for income generation and domestic consumption."

"Access to reliable and safe water will be good for handwashing and water for drinking," said Junior K., 3. "We will drink clean water."

Junior at the sand dam.

The well will begin to fill with water during the next rainy season. Our teams will return here and we will share photos of the well in use as soon as that happens.

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). This well is 10 meters deep, with water at 6 meters.

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 Wathanaa 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.

We've worked with the Wathanaa Self-Help Group before, so some of the members had already received hygiene training. 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 still improve upon. Thankfully, the members who know the value of the training were able to recruit 12 people more than we were expecting to attend, for a total of 32 people.

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

"The training was very beneficial," said Virginia Mwende Mutua, the secretary of the Wathanaa Self-Help Group. "It taught me that it is very important to treat our water as it helps in reducing the chances of diseases."

For this group, the most interesting topic was handwashing. Members came up to display what they had learned from the training and were given scores from the fellow community members on how well they had followed all the handwashing steps. Hopefully, this will help them remember!

"We learned that washing hands often helps in protecting against the spread of diseases," Virginia said. "It's beneficial to avoid touching our face after touching surfaces or interacting with people without washing hands."

This chicken was also interested in proper handwashing technique.

The second most interesting topic was soap-making. All the community members took turns stirring the soap as it was being made. Some of the men had trouble stirring for long periods of time, which led to teasing from the women of the group. It started a cordial but heated debate on why men don't help in the kitchen, which made the topic memorable.

"The soap training will help me generate some income through the sale of the surplus soap, which will be instrumental in boosting my income," Virginia said. "I am very grateful."

When an issue arises concerning the sand dam, 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!

October, 2021: Nduumoni Community C Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Nduumoni 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: "This water point has helped me become a successful farmer."

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nduumoni 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!

“Before the construction of this project, life was very hard," said 18-year-old farmer Moses K. "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. I could walk [for a] very long [time] and [wait in] long queues at the river, which would tend to waste a lot of my time.”

But last year, we helped to install a sand dam and shallow well in Nduumoni, which has brought a reliable source of water close to the 2,800 people who needed it so desperately. Life has become easier with water close by.

“Now, I enjoy fetching water from this shallow well point," said Moses. "It is very convenient now to get water. The water is also very clean. Our livestock has enough water, and their health is gradually doing well. I have planted numerous crops on my farm whereby I sell the surplus. So far, I have managed to make Ksh 5,000 from vegetable sales.”

“This water point has helped me become a successful farmer who can pocket something regularly," Moses concluded. "I am planning to go full throttle in vegetable farming as I am looking forward to getting more money from the vegetable sales.”

Moses, left, watering crops.

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 Nduumoni 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 Nduumoni 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.


Lt. Job Lane Elementary School
Carole and Peter's Water Project for Africa
12 individual donor(s)