Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 800 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Kithalani experiences short rains and extended drought periods that force the area residents to travel over 8 km (4.97 miles) to fetch water from the Tyaa River or dug scoop holes.

Patrick Mutemi, a 38-year-old father (pictured below at the water point), explained how the water crisis affected him. "I cannot practice farming on my land, which reduces my level of income. I normally have to seek jobs from members residing near the water point who practice farming. I am also building a brick house, but with the reduced water supply, I have no choice but to wait for the rains."

Every day, the community members of Kithalani who live farthest from the water point wake up very early and leave their children for more than half a day as they trek out in search of water. Those who have enough money to purchase a donkey use it to carry water—otherwise, they lug full jerrycans back with them over the tedious distance. During this time, the older children pack themselves off to school while the younger ones wait for the parents to return and care for the livestock.

By the time the parents arrive back home, they are already exhausted. They have little energy to farm, cook, or clean. Without good farming, the families cannot earn an income or grow enough crops to feed themselves. They cannot pay for school fees or medication. The water from the scoop holes is contaminated, leading to typhoid, amoeba, dysentery, and cholera.

The proposed site for the well and sand dam is close to most community members' residences and easy to access. The community members have already started gathering materials to construct their water projects and are excited to better their lives.

Reliable Water for Kithalani

Our main entry point into Kithalani Community has been the Lenza Mukuyuni 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 provided 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 significantly hindered reaching their fullest potential.

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Self-Help Group and other community members to teach essential 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 the water is flowing.

One of the most important topics we plan to cover is handling, storage, and water treatment. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated when 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

December, 2022: Clean Water in Kithalani Community!

You were a major part of establishing a sand dam/shallow well in the community of Kithalani. 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.

Clean water flowing!

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!

June, 2022: Kithalani Community Dug Well Complete!

Kithalani Community, Kenya now has a new water source thanks to your donation! We constructed the 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 celebrate the completed well.

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 in this region! As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile, and the well will fill with water.

Musyimi K., 11, shared, "I will have access to clean water that inhibits contraction of diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and amoeba. Meals at home will be prepared on time since my parents will no longer have to walk several kilometers searching for water."

He continued, "This will ensure I have more time to study and play with my friends, especially since I can easily get to the water point when I am sent by [my] parents. My parents will also be able to grow and irrigate various crops; hence, a balanced diet and enough food at home. My parents can also sell the farm produce and pay my school fees; thus I will be able to concentrate on my studies and improve my academic performance."

Completed well in the background.

"The availability of clean water from this water point will ensure I am no longer exposed to infections such as typhoid, dysentery, amoeba, and other stomach upsets," said farmer Kavuthi Musyimi, 36. "Although we already had a protected dug well, it was quite far from my place and I could at times settle for water from scoop holes."

Hand-Dug Well Construction Process

Construction for this well was a success!

Building materials.

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 the materials were ready, it was time to dig in!

First, we excavated a hole seven 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 finished, sand builds up around its walls, which will 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. We fixed four bolts onto the slab during casting in preparation for the hand pump's installation.

Next, the mechanics arrived to install the pump as community members watched, learning how to manage simple maintenance tasks for themselves. 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. After installing the pump, we gave the well another few days to let the joints dry entirely.

We worked with the Lenza Mukuyuni Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed tremendous amounts of materials and physical labor.

New Knowledge

Our trainer conferred with the field staff about previous household visits and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community could improve upon.

Training exercise.

We decided to do a refresher training on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, and sanitation improvements.

Using a tippy tap.

We also covered various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance.


We included techniques like soapmaking and handwashing.

Farmer William Musyoka, who is the Chairman of the Water User Committee said, "Honestly we had relaxed in some practices like water treatment and handwashing; very critical practices that spread diseases at a very high rate, but now after that refresher, we have chosen to go start practicing.


He continued, "We are going to share the knowledge and skills with our neighbors and friends so as to make the change a uniform in our area. I’m also sure that the new members will benefit so much from this training and utilize it in their homes."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our partners, and the community members themselves. 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.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program. We have an ongoing commitment to walk with each community, cooperatively problem-solving when they face challenges of any kind: with functionality, seasonality, or water quality issues. With all these components together, we strive to ensure enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

May, 2022: Kithalani Community Hand Dug Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kithalani 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: More Time for Studying!

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kithalani 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!

Teresia V., 15, recalled what life was like in Kithalani before her community’s well was installed last year.

"Personally, I used to struggle a lot to access water for drinking, cooking, bathing or even washing clothes, especially during the peak drought periods when the seasonal Tyaa River offered inadequate water supply. The nearest water source was three kilometers (1.86 miles) away from my home, and carrying jerricans of water back home was very exhausting. The water was also salty and inappropriate for cooking or drinking, but we had to bear with the situation," said Teresia.

But life is much more enjoyable and simpler for Teresia and the other community members in Kithalani now.

"Thanks to this water project, I am able to drink fresh and clean water. I also spend less time to fetch the water because it takes only a few minutes to walk to the water point and pump out water. I also feel safe when going to fetch water because the water point is near our home. Our goats and cattle have also improved their yield because of the close proximity," Teresia continued.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Teresia, allowing her time to focus on other things and feel safer while fetching water.

"I now attend my classes when comfortable because I conduct regular personal hygiene activities. I also have more time to study, and my studies have improved. We also have better health because there is enough food and clean [water] for most people in the community," concluded Teresia.

Thank you for helping Teresia access clean water and have the time and energy to focus on improving her future.

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.

Teresia collecting water.

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 Kithalani 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 Kithalani 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.


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