Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,000 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/20/2024

Project Features

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A thousand people depend on Mukikanda Community's two open, hand-dug wells. Some people wake up as early as 4 a.m. to get to the water point before queues form...or before the water dries out for the day.

"The water point is far away," explained 43-year-old farmer, Agnes Mutheki (pictured below at one of the wells). "I have to wake up at 4 a.m. and walk about 4 kilometers (2.38 miles) to acquire water for my family."

"When the dug wells are dry, I have to walk several kilometers to purchase water from a vendor," Agnes continued. "This is quite expensive, especially since I do not have crops to sell, thanks to the water scarcity."

The low quantity of water has led to quarrels between community members: everyone wants to finish up and concentrate on other affairs. And it's easy to understand why. The long distances some people have to travel and endless lines at each water point mean that many of the water-fetchers don't return home from fetching water until the afternoon. By then, they lack the energy to cook, clean, farm, or even, in the childrens' case, study.

"I have to go the water points and bring water to school, which affects my academic performance," said 14-year-old Dickson K (pictured above).

For Dickson, fetching water for his family is more than just tedious and inconvenient. "The dug wells are dangerous," he explained. "One can fall inside the pit."

"The contaminated water from these water points have also led to issues such as stomachache," Dickson continued, "which makes me uncomfortable while learning in class."

That's another problem: after going through so much trouble to procure the water, it makes the community members sick. The dug wells are open to contamination from both the community members and their livestock. This exposes the residents to infections such as typhoid, amoeba, dysentery, diarrhea, and more.

"The water is contaminated, but I do not have any other option besides drinking it and using it for cooking," Agnes explained. "It is also difficult for me to uphold proper hygiene and sanitation because I have to use the available water sparingly."

This lack of cleanliness means Mukikanda's people are even more likely to become sick. Most of the community members are unable to clean their homes and latrines or conduct regular dental care or body care (such as bathing and brushing teeth) because they can't spare the water.

It's not only families who depend on these two wells. Five schools and seven churches send their students and worshippers to fetch water for their facilities' needs, which means the extended community would benefit from a centralized source of safe, reliable water. The proposed location for the sand dam and shallow well projects is the middle point of four villages (Katemwa, Mui, Ndathani, and Kibaki) who desperately need a solution to their water scarcity crisis.

Reliable Water for Mukikanda

Our main entry point into Mukikanda Community has been the Mukikanda 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 Mukikanda 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

January, 2023: Clean Water in Mukikanda Community!

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

June, 2022: Mukikanda Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Mukikanda Community, Kenya, now has a new water source 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 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.

"I will no longer have to walk for about two hours to [the] Mui river to fetch water," said 14-year-old Roffee M.

"I can use the extra time and energy to help my parents on the farm and concentrate on my academic performance. I will also be drinking clean water easily from the protected shallow well, unlike the previous scoop holes that were open to contamination by animals and human beings and exposed me to infections."

"I will also be able to improve my personal hygiene and sanitation using water from this water point because it is nearby and has enough water. This waterpoint will help me improve my academic studies because I have enough time and energy to revise what I have been taught in school."

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 as soon as that happens.

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 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 Mukikanda 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. We held the training at a centrally located homestead that the community often uses for meetings.

We decided to train on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, and sanitation improvements. We also covered various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We included techniques like soapmaking and handwashing.

One of the most memorable topics was community mapping, during which community members drew representations of their homes on a map. A few of the homes didn't have any latrines or sanitation facilities. When the training facilitator jokingly asked these homeowners where their in-laws can relieve themselves when they come to visit, they replied that their in-laws would have to wait until they constructed latrines.

"The training will bring so much change amongst members and the community at large," said 52-year-old farmer Kasyoka Mwangangi. She was elected to be the water user committee chairperson during the training meeting.

Community members make detergent during the training.

"It will help us improve hygiene in different sectors," she continued. "For instance, the frequency of cleaning our compounds, washing our hands after visiting latrines, water treatment, covering food and use of latrines, among other practices. Sleeping under treated mosquito nets will also be a daily practice. Soap and detergent making have proved to us that we can end poverty. We will use the skills to make money both at [the] individual and group level. Generally, poverty and diseases will go down."

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!

April, 2022: Mukikanda Community Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mukikanda 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 to Study and Play!"

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukikanda 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!

Kyalo K., 10, recalled what life was like in Mukikanda Community before his community's hand-dug well was implemented last year.

"In the past, I had to walk about several kilometers to acquire water from the Mwei River because we are required to carry water to school each morning. I also had to help my family fetch water during weekends and holidays. This ordeal was exhausting and time-consuming, leaving me with little time to focus on my academic studies or playing with my friends. I would also feel sad going to school with [an] unclean uniform because the water was not enough for personal hygiene," Kyalo shared.

But life is much less burdensome for Kyalo and the other community members in Mukikanda now.

"The installed waterpoint is easily accessible, and I spend not more than 15 minutes fetching water. I am happy because I have more time to concentrate on my academic studies and play with my friends. The shallow well offers clean water for drinking and cooking; thus, meals are prepared on time at home. Unlike the open scoop holes, the shallow well's clean water does not cause stomach aches or typhoid because it is well-protected," he continued.

Having ready access to water from the hand-dug well has made a difference for Kyalo, giving him time to study and play with friends and increasing his self-esteem.

"My academic performance has improved because I do not have to walk several kilometers searching for water and get more time to study and play, which really excites me. Better academic performance will enable [me] to access better career opportunities in [the] future so that I can help my community as well. My personal hygiene and sanitation have also improved, enabling me to be comfortable and attentive in class," he concluded.

Thank you for helping Kyalo access clean water, which allows him to focus on his future and dream of a better tomorrow in his community.

Right now, there are others just like him 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.

Kyalo K.

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 Mukikanda 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 Mukikanda 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.


Project Sponsor - The Spencer Johnson Family