Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/06/2024

Project Features

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Mbiuni Community is a relatively dry area that is home to some 1,500 people. The homesteads are sparsely populated as community members own large pieces of land. It was the wet season during the time of our last visit, making the area quite green and vegetative. However, the landscape turns gray-brown as soon as the dry season sets in. There are many thickets of bushes in the region, some of which have been cut to create roads that the community members use.

The most common livelihood in this region is farming. The area is well known for fruit and vegetable farming, particularly oranges, mangoes, spinach, and kale - when water is available. The community members have a fruit collection company situated in Mbiuni village where the residents deliver their fruits for sale and distribution to other parts of the country.

This area of Kenya is prone to receiving little to no rainfall due to the adverse effects of climate change. The water scarcity crisis impacts the community members negatively. People have to wake up very early in the morning and walk long distances from their homesteads to fetch water. The daily chore, which is mostly left to women and children, is extremely time-consuming.

The water source community members depend on is a seasonal river that dries up during the dry seasons. Hence, people here have been unable to secure an adequate, year-round water supply. Once the river bed dries, the community members lack water for their livestock and have to strain even more to get water. During the dry season, the women have to dig scoop holes into the dry riverbed to fetch water.

"The water situation is hard to live by. We have to strain to fetch water, and we are unable to engage in any productive activities such as farming, construction activities, and any personal development projects," shared Eluid Katunda Kyundu, a local farmer.

"At times, we have inadequate food supply at our homes due to insufficient water supply for farming and establishing food production projects such as vegetable gardens. I have to keep sending my children to fetch water whenever they leave school, and it deprives them a lot of their time to study, play, or even relax."

The river scoop holes are open, exposing community members to risks of diseases such as malaria, amoeba, and typhoid. Livestock seek out the scoop holes and drink from them directly, posing great health risks to these community members. At home, hygiene and sanitation practices are hard to manage and sustain due to the insufficient water supply. Things like handwashing and cleaning latrines are often sacrificed due to the lack of water, further putting families at risk of fecal-oral diseases and water-related illnesses.

Community members have reported several health risks due to drinking water from the scoop holes including typhoid, dysentery, and amoeba, among others. Families feel heavy financial repercussions when treating these diseases as the hospitals are located far away and the treatment costs for these illnesses are very high.

"Having water is important because I will have all my needs at home solved, mostly hygiene and sanitation needs. I have to go for several trips to the water point to ensure I have adequate water for cleaning the house, cooking food, washing clothes, and water for the livestock," said Peniah Musnei Thathi.

Reliable Water

Our main entry point into Mbiuni Community has been the Nduti 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 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 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 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: Mbiuni Community B Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Mbiuni 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 water at this water point will play a very important role in my life. I will use the water from the shallow well for drinking and cooking. Availability of water will also enable me to engage in farming activities as I will now be able to irrigate my crops," said Eluid Katunda Kyongo, a 70-year-old farmer.

Eliud drinking clean water.

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 Nduti 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.

Wambua using the new pump.

Wambua M., 5, said, "Access to reliable water from the water point will enable me to drink clean water for drinking and I will also be able to shower because we will have sufficient water for use."

New Knowledge

Our trainer, Christine Lucas, 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.

Eluid Kyongo, the water committee chairman, said, "The training that we received was very valuable. I acquired a lot of new knowledge from the training that will be helpful to my family and me throughout the pandemic as we are now knowledgeable on how to prevent ourselves from contracting the virus."

Field officers continually reminded the group members about the upcoming training during their weekly meetings so the attendance was large, as expected. Out of a possible 17 group members, 14 attended the training. It was held at a member’s homestead that was chosen because of its central location, easy accessibility for community members, and the ability to accommodate a large group.

Participants brainstorm ideas.

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.

The favorite training session of the day was about disease transmission routes.  The trainers provided materials, divided the group in two, and hosted a competition to make the topic very interesting. Participants had a discussion about disease routes and agreed to adopt several new healthy practices to prevent diarrheal diseases.

Learning how to make soap.

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!

October, 2021: Mbiuni Community C Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mbiuni Community C 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: “It is so easy to get water now."

April, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mbiuni 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!

“Water along this river would only flow for a short period of time throughout the year. Community members had to dig scoop holes to get water for home use, which was quite strenuous. It was risky for me to fetch water because the holes were so deep. Water scarcity was a really huge challenge," said 16-year-old Stanley N. when describing what getting water was like before we installed a well in his community of Mbiuni last year.

The well, attached to a sand dam we implemented last year, has improved the water situation for Stanley and his fellow community members.

“It is so easy to get water now. The river is full of water, and we do not strain. The water pump is also very easy to use. If we come here with a donkey, it takes less than five minutes to fetch water and get back home," said Stanley.

Now that Stanley can quickly collect water, he has had time for other things he enjoys, like spending time with his friends.

“Even when I am sent to fetch water for home use, I do it very fast because the well is easy to use, and there are no queues at the water point. I can now catch up with friends and play with them without the thoughts of the duties to fetch water ringing in my mind,” concluded Stanley.

Stanley (left) with a friend at the well.

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 Mbiuni 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 Mbiuni 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.


Grace United Methodist Church of Merritt Island, Inc.
57 individual donor(s)