Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 250 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2022

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 02/21/2023

Project Features

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For a long time, Kyamwau villagers have persevered through the challenges of water scarcity as a result of the climatic conditions in their area, as they receive little to no rainfall during the year. The rivers flowing in the region are seasonal, and they always dry up, leaving the locals with no option but to walk for very long distances in search of this precious commodity.

The households in this region are sparsely populated due to ownership of vast amounts of land by community members. Most houses are made of bricks and are fitted with iron sheet roofing. The roads in the village are rocky and very bumpy, and the terrain is very hilly and rough.

Access to water is one of the most significant challenges for the 250 people here. Women have to wake up early at 6:00 AM to walk to the seasonal rivers to fetch water and get back home in time to carry out their other household duties, such as preparing their children to go to school and breakfast for their husbands to go to the farms.

During the day, these women may go to the water point again to fetch water as the needs of the house require. The water sources are far from their households, and some people travel 2 hours to get water. They have to spend a lot of time searching for water points, especially during drought periods when they have to dig scoop holes to fetch water stored in the riverbeds. Often, they use the water at home sparingly to reduce trips to the river.

"Once the water dries up, we have to go very far to fetch water. We do not get water for our livestock or household uses because of water scarcity," said Esther Mueni, a 31-year-old farmer.

All of this effort is to get unsafe water for consumption since it is open to contaminants that cause water-borne diseases. Community members have reported suffering from water-related diseases such as typhoid, amoebas, and dysentery.

Reliable Water in Kyamwao

Our main entry point into the community is the Kwa Kalekye 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

March, 2022: Kyamwau Community C Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kyamwau 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.

Community members stand on the well they helped build.

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 clean and reliable water for me is a big plus," said 18-year-old Charity M. "I will be able to practice hygiene at home and make sure that everyone adheres to [the] measures given to us in the training. I will use the water for drinking and washing, as I am a girl and I love cleanliness, especially at my home."

Charity near the new sand dam.

"I [have] plans to make my home clean and, environment-wise, to have it covered with trees. Now, I will use water from this sand dam to water the trees and make sure they survive, hence achieving my goal."

"This project is very beneficial to me personally," said 57-year-old Sabina Mukulu. "I am going to enjoy the access to clean water, which is just meters from my home. I will no longer have to walk [a] long [way] or waste a lot of time in search of water. The time I used to spend searching for water will be driven to my shamba (garden) so that I can prepare the land on time and expect high yields."


"Instead of walking all the way to the market to get vegetables at a [higher] cost, I will grow my own vegetables," Sabina continued. "Thus I will be able to enjoy fresh food from my farm, and also this will keep me busy. I also anticipate that my health will be boosted because the food I will be consuming will not have chemicals. I hope in [the] future to sell the surplus after my family is well-fed."

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 Kwa Kalekye 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

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.

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 a nearby church named Jesus Celebrations Church in Kaseve Village.

"The training was very good for us," said Penninah Musembi, 54. "We have been able to adopt this by washing our utensils well as well as drying them. We have also been able to install handwashing points near our latrines so as to make sure that one washes their hands each and every time they visit the latrine to avoid spreading diseases."


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.

"This knowledge will help me to ensure that I don't contract diseases unnecessarily," concluded Penninah.

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!

January, 2022: Kyamwau Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kyamwau 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

Dug Well and Hand Pump

Hand-dug wells are best suited for clay, sand, gravel and mixed soil ground formations. A large diameter well is dug by hand, and then lined with either bricks or concrete to prevent contamination and collapse of the well. Once a water table is hit, the well is capped and a hand-pump is installed – creating a complete and enclosed water system.


Project Sponsor - Lifeplus Foundation