Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/16/2024

Project Features

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An average day for the 500 people living in Kitile B Village begins by waking up at the wee hours of the morning, around 5:00 a.m., to walk to the nearest source of water. The primary water source is a river located between a 30 minute and 2-hour walk from homes here. People use open scoop holes to fetch their water and then return home. The chore is often delegated to the women and children.

Due to the challenge of water scarcity in the region, they often find long queues at the water point, and this may cause delays for the children, especially in arriving early at school. Community members have to rely on water from scoop holes dug along the river nearby, which is a seasonal river that dries up during the dry seasons - forcing the community to rely on water from Athi River, which is more than 4 miles away. It is very strenuous for them to walk this far, considering some do not have donkeys and have to carry their heavy containers on their backs. The water is not very clean as it contains a lot of contaminants.

"I have to walk very far to fetch water. The water is scarce, and it runs out very fast. It barely lasts us a year," said John M.

The region is arid due to climate change, and it has wavering rain patterns. The water that the community members rely on is polluted and very contaminated. They use open scoop holes, which they have to dig to fetch water for use. The river dries up very fast as a result of erratic rainfall patterns. Water from these scoop holes is inadequate to serve the entire community. The water is also relied on by our livestock, who have to directly drink from the same source, thus exposing the locals to risks of contracting water-related diseases. Often, the community members have succumbed to amoeba, typhoid, and dysentery because of drinking this water.

"Water scarcity is a great challenge in my family. We have to purchase water during the dry periods. Hygiene and sanitation practices are quite difficult to manage and sustain due to insufficient water. We neglect the basic cleanliness practices that we need to adhere to, such as bathing, washing the house, cleaning the clothes, among others. My children have been so used to fetching water after school for use at their homes and the strains of carrying water from the river at the scoop holes," explained Winfred Ndinda.

The most common livelihoods in this community are farming, casual labor jobs, and running small entrepreneurial businesses such as shops. Men tend to opt for motorcycle businesses to earn a living as it is the primary mode of transportation in the area. Households are made of bricks and iron sheet roofing. The homesteads are very sparsely populated as community members own substantial pieces of land.

Reliable Water for Kitile B Village

Our main entry point into Kitile B Village has been the Mbotela 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

February, 2022: Kitile B Clean Water Update!

You were a major part of establishing a shallow well in the community of Kitile B. 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!

August, 2021: Kitile B Village Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kitile B 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, however, 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.

"Access to reliable and safe water will enable me to engage in all the chores that are at home peacefully and on time," said Mutheu M., a 12-year-old student. "I will not have to spend time fetching water from scoopholes because the water from this well will be protected and safe for direct consumption.

"For now, I find it difficult getting back home with the donkeys carrying heavy jerrycans of water because the terrain is very sloppy. Through this project, I will easily fetch water and get back home without any strain, since the well is very well constructed with a clear pathway to use. I will use the water to wash my clothes/uniforms, wash the house, cook, wash my utensils, and maintain proper hygiene and sanitation."

The well will begin to fill with water during the next rainy season (which is expected October-December 2021). 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). 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 complete, sand builds up around the well 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 Mbotela Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. We trained the group on various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance.

"Access to reliable and safe water will enable me to access clean drinking water within a very short distance as compared to how far we used to walk to fetch water for use," said George Munyoki, 62, who is a farmer, and also the group's chairman. "I will have enough water for hygiene and sanitation practices in my home. The water will be clean and also reduce the chances of contracting diseases because the water will be safe and protected.

"More of my time will be saved to engage in other income-generating activities. I will utilize the water for farming. I will plant vegetables such as spinach, kale, and coriander; I also plan to start fruit farming such as watermelons for agribusiness."

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.

The training took place at the sand dam site. The weather was moderately favorable as it was cold, chilly, and (at times) sunny. The training venue was accommodative as it had plenty of trees to provide shade. There was a very high turn-out, with all 45 members attending. They were very active throughout the training session: asking questions, volunteering to participate in the roleplay activities, and engaging each other in the hygiene and sanitation activities.

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 most memorable topic for this group was COVID-19; specifically, preventing the spread, its cause, and ways of curbing the disease within the community. We had a tippy tap placed in a strategic place for handwashing to ensure that everyone observes protocols and government guidelines. The community members were very excited to learn how to make and wear masks, and how to protect themselves from contracting the disease through their way of living.

"The training was very helpful and knowledgeable," said Winfred Muinde, 45, the group's secretary. "We have learned a lot of skills, knowledge, and information such as soap making, proper handwashing procedure, and the importance of managing/ maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation.

"As a community, we will manage to sustain proper hygiene and sanitation practices thanks to the training that we have received."

When an issue arises concerning the water project, 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: Kitile B Village Well project underway!

Dirty and unreliable water is making people in Kitile B Village 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: New Income from Farm!

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kitile B 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!

“Before the construction of this project, life was very hard," said 18-year-old Alex M. "We used to get water from River Athi which would take us close to three hours depending on the current weather and water demand at the household. The journey was long and demanding. We could barely have enough time to study."

But things have changed for Alex since we installed a well in his community last year.

"Now, I find it very easy [to get water] in a couple of minutes. I am able to get clean water from the shallow well as many times as I can, depending on the water used at the household. This has helped so much in improving the hygiene and sanitation levels at our home.

"Currently, I have managed to grow vegetables at my home for household uses such that my family won’t strain anymore in buying vegetables [but] rather make income from it. I am planning to plant trees this year to improve the look and feel of our environment," concluded Alex.

Alex at the well pumping water.

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 Kitile B 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 Kitile B 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 - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation