Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,000 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/07/2024

Project Features

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Koriro, a community of 1,000 people, is rural in a semi-arid region characterized by indigenous trees, thorn bushes, and drought-resistant crops. Water is challenging to come by in this region and a daily struggle.

Community members must walk several hours, up to 5 kilometers (over 3 miles) from their homes to collect their daily water, leaving them drained, as shared by Jones Mutisya, a 48-year-old farmer. "I have to go fetch water for my family, but I return home feeling exhausted due to the long distance under the burning sun."

Each morning wives (and some husbands) tasked with the burden of fetching water for the family, wake up early with hopes that they will get to the scoopholes to collect water in time before it runs out. The scoop holes do not have sufficient water to satisfy the entire community, resulting in long queues and quarrels.

Older children in the community usually accompany their parents because they have to bring water to school, as shared by Monica M., age 17: "The long distance leaves me exhausted, and my academic performance has been adversely affected. Since water is inadequate, I have to use water sparingly at home; therefore, I lack enough water to improve my hygiene and sanitation."

Because of the distance and the time it takes, they can only make one or two trips to the water point a day but still do not return home until the afternoon to embark on other activities. With time and energy wasted, all other areas of productivity in their daily lives suffer.

The water from the scoop holes is salty and unsuitable for drinking. It is open to human and animal contamination (excrement from donkeys, goats, and cattle), exposing the residents to infections such as dysentery, typhoid, and amoeba.

Rarely, a few community members are fortunate enough to own a tank to try to collect water when it rains, but in this area of Kenya, that does not hold much promise.

The sand dam that this community needs will eradicate the long walks to the scoopholes by providing water to the new community well.

Reliable Water for Koriro

Our main entry point into Koriro Community has been the Usingilaa 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

October, 2022: Koriro Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Koriro 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.

Celebrating at the 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.

"We will use the water for irrigation for trees that will change the climate in the long run. The water point is also close to my home, and I can easily fetch water [and] then attend to activities like terracing or conducting household chores. My cattle and goats will also easily get water to drink amid the long hot and dry season," said 52-year-old farmer Ruth Mutei.


"I will be able to improve my source of income and food security because I will be able to grow and irrigate vegetables and other crops. Through planting more trees, I will also be able to change the climate of the region in the long run," concluded Ruth.

We will keep checking on this community through our monitoring program as we await rains that will fill the sand dam and make water accessible from the well.

Hand-Dug Well Construction Process

Construction for this well was a success!

We delivered the experts, materials, and tools, but the community also helped get an extraordinary amount of work done. They collected local materials, including sand, stones, and water, to supplement the project. 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 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 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 Usingilaa 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.

The training took place near the dam site.

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 project about latrine disinfectant and soap is rewarding for community members and community workers because it involves the communities in project planning and implementation. Communities and members of the group have gained confidence and responsibility for their own projects and have a clear say in what they want for sustainable development. Sanitation is enriched in the millennium development goals and is a cornerstone of the fight against poverty. Lack of basic sanitation puts millions of lives at risk hence high morbidity and mortality in developing countries," said John Mutisya, the 54-year-old chairman of the water user committee.

Soap and latrine disinfectant making was the most exciting topic of the day. Members were delighted to see how easy it was and were excited to be in a position to fulfill their basic needs and potentially generate additional income with their new skills.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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, they can contact their local field officers to assist them if the issue is beyond their capabilities.

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 giant 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: Koriro Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Koriro 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: Better Health and Time to Study!

November, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Koriro 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!

Joshua M., 15, recalled what life was like in the Koriro Community before his community's hand-dug well was installed last year.

"In the past, I had to walk about 3 kilometers to acquire water from the nearest water point. I would have to walk the long distance for our livestock to drink water. I would return home feeling hungry and exhausted. I was also often absent from school, and my grades were negatively affected since the water from the scoop holes was contaminated and exposed me to infections like stomach aches. I also had to carry water to school each morning; thus, I would [go] to the river each evening to draw water," said Joshua.

Collecting water is much simpler and faster for Joshua and the other community members in Koriro Community now.

"I am very happy about this sand dam and shallow well because they are easily accessible. I spend a few minutes when fetching water. 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 is free from any contamination because it is protected. Thus, I am no longer exposed to water-related infections such as typhoid and amoeba, and I have always been present in school," continued Joshua.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Joshua, allowing him time for learning so he can work towards a brighter future.

"I get more time to focus on my classwork and play with my friends. My academic grades have improved because I do not have to walk several kilometers searching for water and get more to study and play. I am happy that I take my meals on time and drink clean water. This has improved my health. It also feels great to conduct my personal hygiene and be clean, which has had a positive impact on my concentration in class," concluded Joshua.

Joshua near the well.

Right now, there are others 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.

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 Koriro 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 Koriro 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