Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 192 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/20/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 192 people of Kalawa community have to walk several miles each way to fetch water for their families. They set aside whole days for the task because they know it will take hours of walking in the scorching sun. The task often leaves them too exhausted for anything else.

Sometimes their poor health means they don't have the energy to make the journey to the community's far-away protected well. In that case, they make do with an unmonitored water source, from which the water is brown, salty, and contaminated.

"I would be happy if I get a place I would be fetching clean water with ease for my consumption," said 40-year-old Florenca Wambua. "I [would] walk [a] shorter distance, hence I [would] be able to attend to other chores back at home [and] prepare my children to attend school on time."

The community members often experience stomach problems whenever they drink in the surface water without boiling it. They also experience regular diarrhea, further deteriorating their health.

Because of the water scarcity issues here, the community members are not able to grow crops easily, which is especially bad news for these people, who practice subsistence farming to feed their families.

"Water is all that I would love to have in abundance," said 7-year-old Mumbe. "Drinking clean water will help in improving my health and keeping me strong as well as focused to achieve my dreams."

Reliable Water for Kalawa Community

Our main entry point into Kalawa Community has been the Kalawa People Living with HIV/AIDS 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

September, 2022: Kalawa Community Hand-Dug Well Project Complete!

Kalawa 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 am very optimistic to get very clean, reliable, and safe water for drinking at home," said 18-year-old student Saumu K.

"This water point will save me from the tedious walk for water to [the] River Athi. The journey is not sweet. Whenever I think of it, I even lack enough sleep. Having to wake up so early and reporting late back home is unthinkable. This is a lifetime solution for our community in regard to water scarcity."


''Now that we have this sand dam, I hope when rains come, the long journey to [the] River Athi will be a forgotten story," Saumu continued. "My life will greatly change. I am planning to plant many trees at my home to help change the environment and also have a good environment. I will save on time and do more at our farm as I have a passion for farming."

"Water from this point will help me instill the practice of hygiene and sanitation in my home through the washing of hands, cleaning the house, and the latrine," said 58-year-old driver Benson Kioko Uswii.


"When I start farming, I hope to improve my income, therefore improving my living standards at my home," Benson continued. "I will not have to walk to [the River] Athi and [the] River Kalawa. I used to walk for three hours to River Athi only to fetch running water in the river. From here, that river is approximately six kilometers [away]."

"Our children will no longer have to miss school due to water scarcity. I remember at times it [was] easier to look for food rather than water in the community. Now that there is a shallow well that is protected, we hope to enjoy clean water which will never pose health dangers to us. I want to become self-reliant through farming using water from the sand dam."

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 Kalawa People Living with HIV 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.

Self-help group members assembled for training.

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.

Soap-making in progress.

The Self-Help Group members came up with a statement they wanted to share with the donors at the conclusion of their training session: "We members of Kalawa PLWH Self-Help Group will be in a position to transform our entire community/society to a better dwelling place through practicing good hygiene and sanitation."

After this statement was finished, one group member shouted, ''We will forever remain clean!'' and all the others burst into laughter. All the members applauded this sentiment with a song and a little dance.


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!

July, 2022: Kalawa Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kalawa 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: "I enjoy fetching water from this shallow well point."

September, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kalawa 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!

Mwendwa, 18, recalled what life was like in Kalawa Community before his community's well was installed last year.

"Before the construction of this project, life was very hard. We used to get water from very far from River Athi, and the water was not very safe for drinking. We did not have enough water for maintaining our hygiene and sanitation, as well as for watering our trees and other crops on the farm. The trek took us 5 hours," said Mwendwa.

But life is much more enjoyable for Mwendwa and the other community members in Kalawa now.

"Now, I enjoy fetching water from this shallow well point. It feels like magic to me as it's very convenient. I am very happy about this project, and the source has made me realize the goodness of having clean water near us," Mwendwa continued.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Mwendwa, allowing him time and water to pursue some of his goals.

"Currently, I am preparing my small kitchen garden to plant crops like kale, spinach, and onions for use in the family," Mwendwa concluded.

Thank you for helping Mwendwa access clean water and know the freedom of having water in his daily life.

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.


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 Kalawa 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 Kalawa 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 - Lifeplus Foundtion
5 individual donor(s)