Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/03/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Ivumbu community is found in a reasonably high altitude area that has favorable agriculture for the community members. The majority of the 1,284 community members here are involved in subsistence farming - growing crops such as maize, peas, beans, mangoes, and bananas for family use. They then sell the surplus for profit. Other community members world hard to provide for their families through various formal and informal employment.

For most people in Ivumbu community, the day starts at 6:00 am when people get out of their beds. Children prepare for school, and after that, livestock are either taken for grazing or tethered in the available family pieces of land. After that, the parents take breakfast and settle for other activities. The woman is generally tasked with going out and looking for water for family use. in the various water points, then coming back to run household errands. On the other hand, the man engages in the main income-generating activities; farming, casual labor, etc.

The main water point for the community is a well and sand dam project that we supported in 2019. Our main entry point into Ivumbu Community has been the Ivumbu Irrigation Self-Help Group, which is comprised of households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. Communities in this region are large and spread out, which is why we work with self-help groups for three to five years on multiple water projects to address their water needs.

A well can comfortably support 350 people. For many people here, it still takes up to 2 hours to fetch water each day. By constructing a new well and sand dam 1.5 miles away from our previous project, people will not have to travel as far and wait as long to get water.

"Our community suffers from the challenge of lacking an adequate water source for all of us. We are seeking to work on more community water projects so that water can be close to all of us because some people currently walk for long distances to reach the sole water point in our village," said Mbithi Ndeto, a local farmer.

"Fetching water in our community has not been easy," added Ndunge M, a 15-year-old girl.

"I often go looking for water after school to supplement what my mum had already fetched. Sometimes the water point has many people, which necessitates long waits making the process difficult for me. Another water project would help address the challenges we are facing currently."

Reliable Water for Ivumbu

Our main entry point into Ivumbu Community has been the Ivumbu 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

November, 2021: Ivumbu Community C Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Ivumbu 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.

"I will have access to clean water for cooking, drinking, washing clothes, and the house," said Benjamin Maundu, a local farmer. "A lot of my time which was used walking for distances to fetch water will be channeled to farming activities and brick-making."

Another community member, Purity Mutisya (a farmer and mother), said, "The water will help me in engaging in consistent farming activities. I will use it for washing clothes and utensils, cooking, and for my general hygiene and sanitation at home."

"Having a child, I need plenty of water for cleanliness, which will be made easy thanks to this water point," Purity continued. "I will also have enough time to save and engage in developmental and income-generating 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 Ivumbu Irrigation 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 still 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 chairman of the Self-Help Group, Sila Kathungu, a 55-year-old farmer, spoke about the impact of the refresher training on the community: "The refresher training will play a huge role in improving the hygiene and sanitation of the group members. There will be less risks of contracting diseases, as we now have the knowledge of maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation."

"The knowledge we gained from the training sessions was very important," added Purity Mutisya. "I learned about soap-making, which is key in improving the handwashing practice, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, when hygiene and sanitation is key."

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: Ivumbu Community C Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Ivumbu 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: "It is now very easy to get water from the shallow well."

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ivumbu 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!

A year ago, Ivumbu's people worked together to build a sand dam and shallow well system. Since then, life has changed.

"Before the construction of this sand dam, we walked for long in search of water. We could trek for 1.5 kilometers to the source," said 55-year-old farmer Mary Minoo. "The water was not always available, especially during dry seasons. Due to the distance and the supply of water at the source, one could only make a trip a day. This water was not even enough to practice any farming."

With so much time spent fetching water, Mary had little time for anything else. A year later, things are different.

"After constructing this sand dam, life has changed a lot. It is now very easy to get water from the shallow well. A three-minute walk, then I get clean and fresh water," Mary continued.

"In the past year, I have planted numerous trees and also ventured into vegetable farming. My farm now looks good and productive. With the help of my son, I hope to make a huge step in farming and also turn it into [an] income-generating activity. Now, we no longer have to buy vegetables as we produce locally for domestic use," said Mary.

And Mary is not the only one transformed by access to water.

"My life has not only changed, but also that of my son, who recently completed his secondary school education and has started practicing vegetable farming and tree-planting. I am happy to see him get self-engaged due to [the] availability of water from the sand dam," Mary said.

Mary working on her farm.

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 Ivumbu 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 Ivumbu 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