Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Kyamwalye community is a largely populated area that is home to more than 1,400 people. The area is in a quiet rural location with sloping terrain. Most of the roads leading to the location are dry weather roads, with limited tree coverage made of indigenous tree species.

On an average day for community members here, the women and children wake up at 6:00 am. First, women prepare breakfast for the family while children get ready for school. Then, the women head to the river to get water for their families' use, either using donkeys or carrying it on their backs.

Community members depend on scoop holes in the Kaiti River for all their water needs. The scoop holes dug into seasonal riverbeds are shared by people and wild animals, exposing the water in the open holes to contaminants that cause waterborne illnesses. The water points are prone to drying up during the driest months of the year when there is no rain, which makes the community even more vulnerable to water challenges.

"I always have to walk to the river fetching water daily in the morning and in the afternoon to cater for the water needs of my family. Sometimes, I find so many people in line, I end up taking more than 30 minutes waiting for my turn," said Kanini Mwongela.

"The water is never clean, and sometimes it looks colored, which makes it not safe for drinking, but we have no other options here as it is the only water source."

Most community members in this locality engage in small-scale farming reliant on the rains. They grow maize, beans, cowpeas, pigeon peas, and green grams for home use, selling any surplus in the market. Others choose to farm along the river, but their success is limited and tied directly to the river's seasonal flow.

During the day, women do the laundry, tidy up the house, wash utensils, and prepare lunch and supper for their families. Depending on the size of their household and its water needs, many women and children may be required to travel back to the water source multiple times each day to get enough water for their use at home, especially in the evening after school.

"Our area has suffered from marginalization by successive government regimes with no tangible water project ever being implemented here. This compels households to fetch water from river scoop holes even in modern times. The water is not enough to engage in agriculture and build wealth, leading to a high poverty index among our people," said Robert Kimina.

Reliable Water for Kyamwalye

Our main entry point into Kyamwalye Community has been the Kyeni Kya Kiianzou 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.

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 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

October, 2021: Kyamwalye Community Shallow Well Project Complete!

Kyamwalye 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.

"Access to reliable, safe water will be helpful not only to me, but the entire community," said Paul Munguti.

Paul at the well.

"We will be able to get water within a short distance from our home. The water will be safe and clean therefore it will reduce the risks of contracting diseases. We will also be able to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation as well as cleanliness within our homes because water will be readily available.

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 Kyeni Kya Kiianzou 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.

Attendance was as expected, with only 10 out of the 60 self-help group members being unable to attend. This made for a lively and interesting discussion.

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 valuable to us," said Robert Kimina, the chairperson of the self-help group. "We were taught how to stay clean at all times and ensure we are washing our hands with clean running water and soap. We were also taught on soap making and how to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation at our homes."

For this group, the most important (and exciting!) topic was disease transmission. The people were split into three smaller groups. Each group was then provided with a similar set of posters with hygiene- and sanitation-related situations and were tasked to name and identify at least five routes of disease transmission.

After the exercise, each group nominated one person to present their discussion to the rest of the members. The groups demonstrated what they had discovered. One group was very proactive during this exercise and they outshined the rest by identifying seven routes rather than five. This made the members of this group brag a little, and everyone laughed.

Another topic that will surely have lasting effects was the soap-making session. The group decided that they would not only make soap for their own household use, but also sell the soap they make at a profit. They even elected a sub-committee to oversee this project and ensure its sustainability. They pinpointed their key demographic and where they would buy supplies.

"The health of our families will improve if we follow what we have learned during this training," Robert continued. "The group training setup has also enabled us to exchange ideas among ourselves on how to improve the general hygiene and sanitation of our homesteads, as well as our personal hygiene."

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!

August, 2021: Kyamwalye Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

Dirty water is making people in Kyamwalye 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: "I can now take good care of my family."

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kyamwalye 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 we helped the people of Kyamwalye with constructing their sand dam and shallow well, people had to walk long distances to reach the nearest water sources.

"Getting water was not easy in our area," said 64-year-old farmer Benson Musau. "We mostly depended on open river scoop holes in the nearby streams. During the dry season, it was even worse, as we would walk for more than six kilometers in search of water with donkeys, which was tedious and quite draining."

But now that the community's access to water has improved, they can channel all that formerly wasted energy into more productive things.

"Getting water is now easier and more seamless," Benson explained. "It takes less than 15 minutes to [get to] the well, and drawing water from the pump is even more fun. The water is always clean and available all year round. Having water near my home has created more time [for me] to engage in household chores and other income-generating activities. I feel more settled and stable."

Without fear of running out of water weighing over his head, Benson has been able to establish a thriving farm, which supplies his household with food and gives them surplus income.

"This project has provided me with enough clean water for drinking for the last one year," Benson said. "There has also been plenty of water from the sand dam, which has led me to vegetable farming. In my small farm, I have been able to grow kale, spinach, pawpaws, and mangoes. On average, [I] am able to make vegetable sales worth Ksh 500 per day. This has been a big boost to my income, as I can now take good care of my family."

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 Kyamwalye 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 Kyamwalye 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 - StossWater