Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/20/2024

Project Features

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The daily routine for the people living in Yathui, Kenya, starts between 5:00 am and 6:00 am. This is when the community members have to wake up to go to the river to dig scoop holes for fetching water. The distance covered to bring the water is very far, which makes the chore of fetching water very time-consuming. Their river is seasonal and often dries up during the dry season, making the locals walk for long distances to alternative water sources that are far from their homes to fetch water.

It takes more than two hours to walk to the river, fetch water, and walk home for some people. A lot of money is spent purchasing water for use while it could be used for other income-generating activities.

"Our children have to spend a lot of their time fetching water instead of studying. We have to keep buying vegetables treated with unknown chemicals, unlike if we had water to establish our own vegetable gardens. A lot of our time is spent on fetching water," added Rachel Mwende.

Some 500 people here rely on this water point that is far away and often crowded. The people fetching water - usually women and girls - spend a lot of time at the water source waiting their turn to fetch water. For those without donkeys, the strain is deeper as they have to ferry their jerrycans on their backs and return to the water point several times per day until they fetch enough water for use.

"I have to pay water vendors to deliver water for use at my home, which is expensive. The vendor delivers six jerrycans of water, which I have to use sparingly to meet all my needs for four days. We often struggle to get enough drinking water," said Raphael Mathendu, a 52-year-old farmer.

Community members with donkeys typically fetch four jerrycans in the morning, getting back at midday. The morning water typically goes toward household chores such as washing clothes, dishes, and cooking. They return in the afternoon to bring more water for evening uses. A lot of time is spent in search of water.

Reliable Water for Yathui

Our main entry point into Yathui Community has been the Maluti Women 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 constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

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 provided 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 Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about essential hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community level. 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 firmly 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

September, 2021: Yathui Community A Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Yathui Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. We constructed a new hand-dug well, which will be 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.

Fransesca Mutuku, a 50-year-old farmer in Yathui Community, said, "I will use the water for farming and for improving my hygiene and sanitation at home by washing hands, making soap and also ensuring my family bathes on a daily basis."

Fransesca at the well with young boys.

"Availability of water will enable me to easily get water for drinking, bathing and washing my uniforms," said Joseph M., a six-year-old student. "My mother will not get tired of walking for long distances to fetch water for use."

The community members expressed their gratitude, stating that the challenge of having to walk for long distances will come to an end.

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 - literally!

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.

Pump arrives in pieces.

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.

Isn't she a beaut?

We worked with the Maluti Women's Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor. 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.

New Knowledge

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.

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.

Raphael Muasya Mathendu, chairman of the self-help group, said, "As a community, there will be a lot of change in our lives and our hygiene and sanitation practices. Additionally, the skills that we have been taught will be key in generating income. I anticipate my life to improve thanks to the training that we have received."

All the members of the group participated fully during the training by asking questions, adding informative comments in relation to their day-to-day activities, and joking as well. Their active participation made the entire session very fun and enjoyable.

The group members expressed the most interest in learning about COVID-19, where they were excited to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions they had picked up about how the virus can be spread.

When asked about how the community plans to respond to COVID-19 after the training, Fransesca said, "We will start washing our hands with clean running water and soap. We will establish handwashing tippy taps to ensure we wash hands at all times. We will also continue wearing masks at all times in public places. Soap-making will now be very key in ensuring all community members wash their hands and protect themselves against contracting the virus. If we continue practicing proper hygiene and sanitation and all the guidelines given, we will manage to control the spread of the virus and suppress it."

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!

June, 2021: Yathui Community hand-dug well underway!

Dirty and unreliable water is making people in Yathui Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

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: Getting water is quite easy now!

May, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Yathui Community 1B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Yathui Community 1B 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!

Rose Wambua, 40, recalled what life was like in Yathui before her community’s sand dam and well was implemented last year.

"Before the construction of this sand dam, we faced many challenges. It was a very big challenge to get water from over two kilometers' walk to [the] River Ngongani. Whenever rains came, our river would take a couple of weeks to dry up. Sometimes we would be forced to trek for four kilometers when River Ngongani dried up," said Rose.

But life is much less burdensome for Rose and the other community members in Yathui now.

“Now, we have access to clean and reliable water. We no longer suffer in terms of looking for water. We do not have to make the long queues at the river anymore," Rose said.

She continued, "To get water from this sand dam and shallow well is quite easy. We have been able to save a lot of time wasted long before we had a sand dam. The current sand dam has impacted my life greatly because it has acted as a source of self-employment to me and currently boosted my income through growing of vegetables for domestic [use] and selling."

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Rose, even in her income-making activities.

“In the past year, I have gone full throttle into farming in my small shamba (garden). I am always committed to this task as it is my daily income-generating activity. I have used this water to [also] make bricks for my intended [house], which I will construct later in the year," Rose concluded.

Thank you for helping Rose access clean water and create more opportunities for her future.

Right now, there are others just like Rose in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can’t wait to introduce you to the next person you’ll help.


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 Yathui Community 1B 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 Yathui Community 1B – 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 - Lifeplus Foundation