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: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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On an average day for Ngongo community members, the women and children wake up at 6:00 am. The women go to fetch water to prepare breakfast for the family as the children prepare to go to school.

The main water source for this community is a seasonal river bed. People fetch water directly from the river or dig scoop holes when it begins to dry up to find water stored under the sand.

On the other hand, the men wake up to go to the farm to get Napier grass for the livestock and run errands. Many community members in this locality rely on small-scale farming of indigenous crops such as pigeon peas, cowpeas, maize, beans, and green grams. Others engage in livestock farming, rearing goats and cows on their small pieces of land.

During the day, the women wash the family’s clothes, tidy up the house, wash utensils, and prepare lunch and supper for the family. Depending on the family's size and water needs, many women and children may be required to travel back to the water source multiple times to get water for their use at home.

Most households report traveling 30 minutes to an hour to get water. For some families, the journey is more than 2 hours.

All of this time and effort is spent to fetch water that is not safe for consumption and unreliable. During the dry season, people walk even longer, searching for spots along the riverbed that still have water. Or they have to dig deep scoop holes to get the water.

"Fetching water is never easy, the distances are long, and sometimes it takes long waiting at the scoop holes. The water is not always clean which even makes matters worse. Even when walking with donkeys, we arrive home tired and unable to help in other household chores," explained 11-year-old Daniel K.

We also spoke with farmer John Mutunga who added, "We have been facing water challenges in our community since time immemorial. The search for water is always a whole day affair, affecting our development as people because the time to engage in other economic activities is limited. Any support in a water project will be a dream come true and a life-changing affair to all of us here."

Reliable Water for Ngongo

Our main entry point is the Yanzoi Maithya 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 members and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community levels. This training will help 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 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 consuming it. 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 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 contact the group after all of the projects are completed to support their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Project Updates

February, 2022: Ngongo Community Clean Water Update!

You were a major part of establishing a shallow well in the community of Ngongo. When we install sand dams, we build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. However, it often takes a rainy season or two for the projects to reach their full potential. We are thrilled to report the sand dam and shallow well are now filled with water and fully functional, providing clean water to the community. Thank you for making clean water a reality for this region. By having consistent access to reliable water, the people of this community’s health, energy, finances, and free time are sure to improve!

November, 2021: Ngongo Community Shallow Well Complete!

Ngongo 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. The well will begin to fill with water during the next rainy season. Our teams will return here and we will share photos of the well in use once that happens.

Farmer John Mutunga is excited for his future now that his community has a reliable source of safe water. "I am happy because I will no longer be walking several kilometers searching for water, which will help me focus more on farming activities. The presence of this water point will also thwart food insecurity because I will be able to cultivate vegetables and other food crops."

"I will also be able to earn an income because I will be selling some of the produce to my fellow community members," John continued. "I will also be able to improve my personal hygiene and sanitation unlike before where I had to use water sparingly thus I could only bath once or twice weekly. I will also be able to water my cattle who were on the verge of demise because of the adverse water scarcity."

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 Yanzoi Maithya Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor.

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.

"I hope to change a lot since a lot of knowledge was shared during this training," said Muthangya Mutuga, 39, the chairman of the new water user committee. "I will implement the skills and knowledge taught."

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 community members' favorite topic during this training was community mapping, which allows everyone to see the resources they have available and where things need improvement.

During the presentation, there was a discussion on where the name Yanzoi Maithya came from. One older woman who grew up in the village explained that Yanzoi is a small hill in the area with a field where people would go to dance traditional dances and songs led by a male soloist named Maithya.

Muthangya continued: "Initially, we were constructing tippy taps that would force us to touch them a lot, which would risk transfer of dirt, germs and bacteria back to the house with us. The newly demonstrated tippy tap during the training is very enjoyable for handwashing. I have learned that hygiene is broad and it has gone beyond what I thought it was."

August, 2021: Ngongo Community Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Ngongo 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: Tree Nurseries and Vegetables!

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ngongo 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 a dug well was installed in Ngongo Community last year, people used to walk many kilometers to collect water from scoop holes in the dry river bed, leaving them drained.

"I had to go fetch water for my family, but I returned home feeling exhausted due to the long distance and steep slopes under the burning sun," said 38-year-old farmer Titus Musyoka Maithya.

"I also had to get up early since the water was inadequate, and sometimes [my] donkey became stubborn due to the exhaustion; thus, [it would unload] the water jerrycans. The water was also contaminated, making it unsuitable for human consumption, and my family [is no longer exposed] to infections like typhoid and amoeba.”

Now that water is located closer to home, Titus finds it easier to collect.

"I am now able to get water for cooking and drinking within a short time because the shallow well is close to my home," Titus said. "I also get more time and energy to focus on activities like tree planting, cultivating kitchen gardens, and crop cultivation. This waterpoint also enables proper hygiene and sanitation (both personal and general) because it offers sufficient water.”

With water, Titus and the rest of the community are now better able to provide for their households.

“This water point has enabled me and the rest of the Self-Help Group members to establish tree nurseries and cultivate vegetables," Titus said. "Hygiene and sanitation at home has also improved, and I am no longer exposed to maladies like typhoid, dysentery, or amoeba.”

Titus pumps water for fellow community member Hellen.

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 Ngongo 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 Ngongo 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.