Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/16/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

In the village of Kitile, most of the 400 community members wake up at dawn to fetch water from the river Athi. The river is their only reliable water source, and although it is an arduous task, they must do it since they have no alternative.

But even after all the effort, the water is not safe for community members to consume. At times the river changes color due to area cities dumping their sewage into the river without considering human beings depending on this water. Since community members have no way of treating the water to make it safe, they are left to consume it. It is risky since they know they'll likely contract waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, brucellosis (bacterial infection from animals), or dysentery.

The distance of up to 6 km (3.75 miles) each way is a significant obstacle for community members trying to collect water, and often, household activities go undone and children miss school due to exhaustion. It is especially difficult for small children, the elderly, and those who are ill unless they can afford to buy a donkey to haul water or borrow one with the condition that they will share the water fetched. The only other option is to purchase jerry cans full of water, which is a costly endeavor that most in this community cannot afford.

Some community members, like George Kasomo (seen in the photo below), are fortunate to afford the assistance of a donkey to cart full water containers home from the river.

But others like farmer Winfred Muinde, 44, watering her papaya tree in the photo below, are not as fortunate.

"Both adults and children suffer a lot, and they have to drink water from River Athi, which is very far," said Winfred. "Many community members who fetch water from the river have little or no capacity of treating it, [and] hence [they] consume it without any treatment, which often leads to contracting water-related diseases. The times are very hard now for every community member who is not able to buy water for their children to carry to school."

School children also feel the burden of collecting water each day. Starmy P. (in the photo below), 7, said, "How I wish we could have a water point near us to access clean water to carry to school. Getting clean water nearby will assure that we don't get so thirsty in school as we currently do."

A hang-dug well in this community will mean people will have direct access to safe, sufficient water any time they need it, and adults and children alike can get back to their daily tasks.

Reliable Water for Kitile

Our main entry point into this community has been the Botela Women's 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 Botela Women's Self-Help Group and other community members to teach essential hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community levels. 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 firmly 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

September, 2022: Kitile B Community Well Project Complete!

Kitile 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. Although there is no water now, we will update you once water becomes abundant.

"To me, I will use water from this point to drink, cook, and do hygiene in the household. Hygiene and sanitation levels shall improve at home," said 32-year-old farmer Mutinda Mwende. "I also plan to start agricultural farming. In this way, I will never waste money purchasing vegetables from the market and rather become the seller."


She continued: "Now, I am planning to build a decent house. I will use water from this sand dam to make bricks for my house and also during the mixing of sand and cement."

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 member collects 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 Botela Women's Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed tremendous amounts of materials and physical labor.

Celebration at the well.

New Knowledge

As we’ve worked with this Self-Helf Group in the past, we conferred with them about the subjects they most needed refresher training on.

The training took place under some shade trees at the first sand dam site in Botela Community. There were 38 participants in attendance: 21 women and 17 men.

We trained the group on various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soap- and detergent-making and improve behaviors such as handwashing.

We also touched on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, and sanitation improvements.

Soapmaking was a favorite session amongst the participants. So much so that they decided as a group to purchase reagents to take advantage of the business opportunity. With teamwork and cooperation, they will go far as a group and assure the trainers that on their next visit, they would see progress in the community.

"To me, it is an honor to have had the opportunity to be part of the participants in the training. I learned a lot, which I have already started practicing," said Mutinda Mwende, a 32-year-old farmer.

Mutinda Mwende.

"Now, I know how to make soap and so far, I use it at home to make sure I wash my hands and remain clean. [And] I am well equipped to teach others how to make soap and use it. Getting to know how to control diseases is a plus for me and my family."


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: Kitile B Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kitile B 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: Time to Study and Play!

October, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kitile B 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!

Veronica, 16, recalled what life was like in Kitile B before her community's dug well was installed last year.

"Before the construction of this project, life was very hard. I did not like being sent to get water from the river, especially after school. It was very risky as we trekked long distances without anyone to take care of us. The dusty roads with huge rocks always catalyzed sneezing, which was very rampant. Many people often got sick," said Veronica.

But life is much less burdensome for Veronica and the other community members living in Kitile Community 2B now.

"Now, I enjoy fetching water from this shallow well point. I have had a lot of time to study and play. Nowadays, I like being sent to the shallow well. Sometimes, I go by myself without even being requested to [go]. I am very happy about this project, and the source has made me realize the goodness of having clean water near us. Washing clothes, cleaning utensils, and cleaning the house used to be very hard, but [as] of late, it has become normal as we have plenty of water," said Veronica.

Having ready access to water from the dug well has made a difference for Veronica, allowing her time to collect the water she needed, accomplish her household responsibilities, and still have time for studying.

"When I grow up, I plan to cultivate my own farm using water from this project to improve my life," concluded Veronica.


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 Kitile B 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 Kitile B 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.


Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation