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: 05/22/2024

Project Features

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On the day our team visited the Yumbani community, it was stormy, and the roads were nearly impassable as they were slippery with mud. The village is sparsely populated with houses made of bricks and iron sheet roofing. Community members own large pieces of land, some of which they use for farming activities while others remain large bushes and thickets.

The area is prone to receiving little to no rainfall due to climate change, which has worsened the severity of the seasons here. Most community members are farmers, relying on it to make a living. However, due to the unreliable rain patterns and water scarcity challenges, people have to seek other income-generating activities to earn their daily wages such as casual labor jobs, opening small businesses, and operating motorcycles for transportation businesses.

The water crisis has significant adverse effects on the 500 people who live here. Community members have to trek very long distances to reach the nearest water point. The water sources they use are open and exposed to many contaminants including farm chemicals, dust, and animal waste.

Women have to wake up before sunrise in an effort to walk the five kilometers (three miles) to the nearest water source, draw water, and get back home in time to complete their daily household chores. Due to the exhausting walk between home and the water source, most community members - and especially the women - cannot engage in any other productive activities of their choice.

For those community members lucky enough to own a donkey, they take the animals with them to help fetch water. At a maximum, the donkeys can carry four jerrycans of water. Once back home, the women must use the water sparingly to ensure it lasts the day to fulfill the household duties at hand. But the donkeys do not offer any sort of protection to the women as they make their trek to the water in the dark. The women often face great dangers when walking alone to fetch water.

Owning a donkey, however, still does not free a family from their water crisis.

"I have a donkey, and I have established a rainwater collection tank, but the water is never sufficient because there are many needs at home. I have to purchase water for cleaning, drinking, and for our livestock," said Douglas Mutua Mulaa, a 52-year-old farmer.

We also spoke with Ndomiana Nduku Kisilu, a 62-year-old woman who does not own any donkeys. Ndomiana has to pay for someone else to fetch water when she cannot borrow a donkey from a family member or neighbor. The cost of getting water is a hardship.

"The challenges of water scarcity are very deep for me," she said.

Reliable Water

Our main entry point into Yumbani Community has been the Wikwatyo Wa Kasunguni Self-Help Group, which comprises households 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

August, 2021: Yumbani Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Yumbani 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.

"I will have water for drinking, bathing, and washing my hands at all times," said Musyoki M., a boy in the community. "Clean water is good because I will not get sick because the water from this project will be safe for use. I will water the trees at my home and also bathe well."


Another community member, Zechariah Munuve, said, "Access to reliable and safe water will give me enough peace. We have been walking for long distances to fetch water for use. Through this project, the distance will reduce. Our livestock will not have to walk for long distances and we will be able to get adequate water supply for household use and farming activities."

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 Wikwatyo wa Kasunguni 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, sanitation improvements,  planning for behavioral change, handwashing, and soap-making.

The training was held at the homestead of Doughlas Mutua, who is a group member. The compound was very spacious, accommodating all the group members. During all three days of training, the weather was extremely chilly and cold (that's why you see Self-Help Group members all bundled up in the photos!).

The training attendance was as expected, with a consistent turnout of 9 males and 28 females throughout the training dates. With their zeal to learn, the group members selected various leaders to ensure a seamless flow: Joseph Kinyolo was the timekeeper, and Anne Ndinda was in charge of prayers at the start and end of the training sessions.

Members who arrived late were given a punishment of reminding the rest about the topics discussed in the previous trainings. This ensured each member was concentrating!

The members were excited about the soap-making procedure, noting that it would be instrumental in improving their hygiene and sanitation practices. They took turns in stirring the soap to ensure each community member would be able to do so on their own later.

"The training was very valuable," said Pius Mithuka, a 50-year-old farmer and member of the Self-Help Group. "We have learned several skills such as handwashing, soap making, making of detergents, and construction of tippy-taps. Cohesion and togetherness has been instilled among the group members. We will now be in a position to transform our entire community."

With new wisdom and a source of safe water, Zechariah is more excited for his future. He said: "Water from this project will boost my food and financial security by engaging in farming activities of vegetables such as kale, spinach, and onions. I will also plant trees at my home."

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!

June, 2021: Yumbani Community Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Yumbani 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: ". . . No Stress in Getting Water"

September, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Yumbani 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!

Kimanthi W., 16, recalled what life was like in Yumbani before her community’s well was implemented last year.

"Before the construction of this project, life was very hard. We used to get water from very far, [from] a river. We could leave for the river once we came back from school, which would be very tedious for us. Many of the times, we missed school lessons due to fatigue," said Kimanthi.

But life is much less tiring for Kimanthi and the other students and community members in Kimanthi now.

"Now, I no longer waste time in fetching water as I [don't] have to rush. In a couple of minutes, then I have water. Things are looking up. We even have enough time to study and play at home and also help my parents with household chores," said Kimanthi.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Kimanthi, allowing her to have time for her responsibilities but also have time to enjoy life.

"In the past one year, I have been able to improve our sanitation levels at my home. I am able to do all the cleaning of our house, clothes, and utensils using this water point. Also, I have got enough time to study and prepare for my exams very well. I play and rest enough because [there is] no stress in getting water anymore,” concluded Kimanthi.

Thank you for helping her access clean water every day without stress and have time to play and rest.

Kimanthi collecting water at the well.

Right now, there are others just like her 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 Yumbani 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 Yumbani 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.


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation