Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/16/2024

Project Features

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This region experiences harsh, prolonged dry seasons, so community members in Kaghui have to walk up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to access water, some walking up to an hour each way and making two trips a day.

They only have two water options, and neither is easy, but water is necessary to survive and a difficult commodity to obtain.

They can use a hand-dug well that requires them to haul water up by bucket. This source is open to contamination and often overcrowded, wasting valuable time that could be used doing other daily tasks.

Or they can collect salty water from the river, which also means digging scoop holes during the dry season to reach below the ground's surface for water.

Either choice leaves them exhausted while carrying heavy containers for the long return journey home.

Young children like Musyoki M., an 8-year-old boy, find the task of collecting water incredibly arduous. "The water extracted from the scoop holes is contaminated and leads to infections and stomachaches, typhoid, amoeba, or dysentery. Whenever I get ill, I have to forego learning, which affects my academic performance. I also have to carry water from the river to school every day, which leaves me exhausted and unable to focus on my studies appropriately."

Even adults struggle to collect enough water to meet their daily needs for drinking, cooking, and hygiene tasks as shared by Muyathi Mwanza (pictured above), a 57-year-old farmer. "There is not enough water for hygiene and sanitation. Therefore, my house and latrine are cleaned once in a while. I am also highly exposed to infections such as COVID-19 because I have to use water sparingly, which leaves negligible amounts of water for handwashing."

With reliable water provided by this new sand dam, which will be centrally located in their community, the people of Kaghui will have more time and energy to commit to their daily life and development projects that have been impossible before now, and waterborne illnesses will not be a constant drain on their health and finances.

Reliable Water for Kaghui

Our main entry point into Kaghui Community has been the Utethyo wa Kaghui 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

January, 2023: Kaghui Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kaghui 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 now have enough clean water to drink and conduct personal hygiene and sanitation. Also, the waterpoint is nearby, and I do not have to walk long distances searching for water. The shallow well is well-protected, and I can easily draw water from it," said 16-year-old Daniel M.


"I will now have enough time and energy to study and play with my friends because I no longer have to walk several kilometers searching for water. Drawing water from the previous water source (dug well) was risky because one could easily fall inside. Now I only need to pump the water out from the shallow well, making it less straining," concluded Daniel.

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!

Community members help with building materials.

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 five 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 Utethyo wa Kaghui 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 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.

"The training has helped us learn the causes of different diseases that we have been suffering in our community. We have also learned that such diseases can be prevented by improving our hygiene and sanitation. We have also learned how to make liquid soap. The soap is of very good quality and easy to make. We will generate an income through the soap-making project," said 47-year-old farmer and chairperson of the water user committee Munywoki Maure.



This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for 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: Kaghui Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kaghui 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: Clean Water Brings Better Health!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kaghui 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!

Mercy, 16, recalled what life was like in the Kaghui Community before her community's dug well was installed last year.

"We experienced water scarcity because this area is semi-arid, and the nearby rivers are seasonal. I used to walk more than a kilometer to the unprotected community well, which was usually overcrowded. I spent most of my leisure time after school and during [the] weekends and school holidays fetching water, which negatively [affected] my concentration on classwork. I would [also] walk several hours to the earth dam or scoop hole and return home feeling exhausted," said Mercy.

Collecting water is now simpler for Mercy and the other community members in Kaghui.

"I [am] very happy that this water point is close to my home, and I [only] spend a few minutes to draw water. I no longer fall sick often like before because this shallow well offers clean water that does not expose me to infections like typhoid. My health has greatly improved because I am drinking clean water and do not have to cover long distances when drawing water. I use my time to help my family on the farm and also perform hygiene duties at home," Mercy said.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Mercy, allowing her to spend time with friends and focus on studying for a brighter future.

"It really feels good to have this project in our village. I get time to interact with my friends and study. I hope to [have] a good job in [the] future so that I can help my community in the fight against water scarcity," said Mercy.

Mercy 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 Kaghui 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 Kaghui 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 - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation