Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/28/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The water situation in Yumbani Community is truly desperate. Kwa Mutuku River, where community members fetch their water, is seasonal. Once the rains have elapsed, the river vanishes. Fetching water is the most strenuous and time-consuming part of their days.

"Water scarcity is a big challenge here," said Domiana Nduku, 61. She is pictured below fetching water from a scoophole. "At the moment, the land is very bare and we are unable to engage in any farming activities due to insufficient water supply. We do not have enough food. We are unable to plant trees to protect our environment as there is [an] inadequate water supply. We have to walk for very long distances in search for water."

When the water table is high, usually immediately after the rainy season, it takes less than an hour to fetch water and get back home. But during the dry season, it can take two hours just waiting in a queue to fetch water at the riverbed. Locals dig scoopholes in the riverbed, which are open and contaminated by humans, animals, farm chemicals, dust, and surface runoff.

Although typhoid is the most commonly reported ailment in Yumbani Community, the community members also have regular issues with cholera and dysentery.

"Now, it is challenging to get water for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, and washing hands," said 4-year-old Gladys (who is very photogenic - see the picture below). "My mother has to walk for long looking for water to use here at home. Lack of water makes life very difficult."

Most community members live in poverty. If they're close enough to the riverbed, community members can rely on subsistence farming of crops such as maize, green grams, beans, cowpeas, and pigeon peas. Others who live farther away rely on casual labor, which is never guaranteed, as this involves working on the farms of other community members, which can only be done when the owners of the farm have crops or money to spare. Almost all of the community's youth have migrated to the urban areas to search for better-paying jobs. The elderly depend on their families. And all this, according to Domiana, would change for the better if the community members had a readily available source of reliable, safe water.

"If we had water or would get water near us, we would do a lot to change our environment and also improve our livelihoods," Domiana concluded.

Reliable Water for Yumbani

Our main entry point into this community has been the Wikwatyo Wa Kasunguni 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 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

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

Yumbani 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.

"Water from this point will help me to stop walking the long stretch to [the] River Miu, which is always a hard task," said 13-year-old Mutembei M.

Mutembei fills his jerrycan.

"I never like weekends because weekends are for water," Mutembei continued. "We suffered really a lot. Especially on weekends, going all the way to the river was a nightmare for me. We really [had] to walk for [a] long [way], but now I will have enough time to play and enjoy life. We shall have enough water to drink and give our livestock. I trust that this project will end that era of suffering and welcome one full of hope. Drops of life, indeed. I will now have time to play and help my parents in farming."

"Access to clean water will assure me that I no longer fall sick from taking in contaminated water," said 37-year-old farmer Dorcas Munywoki. "Reliable water is an indicator that now I will not be walking several kilometers to fetch water. I am going to engage [in the] farming of vegetables like kale, tomatoes, and spinach for my household. My livestock also will have access to drinking water."

Dorcas pumps water from the new well.

She continued: "Before this project was implemented, I always thought of having a [farm] which is very productive and [having] enough food for my family through vegetable farming. I hope to become a renowned farmer through [the] use of water from this point."

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 Wikwatyo Wa Kasunguni Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed tremendous amounts of materials and physical labor.

New Knowledge

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

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 shared knowledge on how to make latrine disinfectant, which has a strong smell to keep away flies, rodents, and other pests. Participants made soap for sharing with everyone, showing off that they still remembered the steps we taught them during their previous training. While people stirred the soap, which can take a while to reach the right consistency, everyone joined in singing a song to pass the time.

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

According to our field officer, Eunice, the participants were "delighted" to share all the knowledge they had retained since they last attended a hygiene training. They said they have been going to the clinic or hospital when their family members become ill rather than using local herbs. They also said the use of Oral Rehydration Solution, which replenishes and rehydrates the body when someone is experiencing diarrhea, has saved lives in the community.


"We will be in a position to transform our entire community into a better dwelling place through practicing good hygiene and sanitation," said 53-year-old farmer Douglas Mulaa.

He continued: "Having learned the common diseases in our area, we will be in a position to change our eating habits, and in [the] case of any illnesses, we seek the doctor's attention the soonest possible. We will keep our catchment areas [free] of animals to secure our water sources from any source of pollution. [This] approach has helped us to feel more confident about ourselves and the ability to take action and make improvements in our communities. Feelings of personal empowerment and personal growth are as important as physical changes such as bathing, drying our clothes using [clotheslines], cleaning up the environment, or building latrines. Through the training, we will improve [our] water and sanitation facilities."


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: Yumbani Community Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Yumbani 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.

Patrick Dreams of Becoming a Doctor!

May, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Yumbani Community 3B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Yumbani Community 3B 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!

Fourteen-year-old Patrick recalled what life was like in the Yumbani Community before his community’s well was installed last year.

Before the Well's Implementation

“Before this project was completed, getting water was hard. I had to walk for a long time to reach to river Miu. I often felt tired and thirsty, especially on hot days. It was difficult for me and my family and other children whom we trekked together for water,” shared Patrick.

"I could walk all the way to the river with other children and come home very late and tired. At times, my legs could [buckle], have boils, or even swell because of the long, dusty road to the river," he continued.

The previous water source.

Since the Well's Implementation

Collecting water is now more convenient and less burdensome for him and the other community members in Yumbani.

“Living with clean water is amazing! I love that I can drink it whenever I'm thirsty and not worry about getting sick. It's also great for taking baths and washing my hands to stay clean and healthy. Furthermore, clean water helps our plants grow, so we have yummy fruits and vegetables to eat. I'm so grateful for clean water!” said Patrick.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Patrick, allowing him to worry less and enjoy his childhood more.

"I am no longer worried about fetching water as my parents now can easily send me to get water from the shallow well. Having water near me has saved me a lot of time, and now I can read and play. Not only has it saved me time and energy, but it has also brought [me] a sense of security. I no longer worry about encountering dangerous animals or strangers along the way," said Patrick.

"The water source is just cool. The birds sing for me as I fetch water here," continued Patrick.

Now that Patrick doesn't have to labor intensively and worry about collecting water, he has the energy to pour into dreaming about the future.

"I dream of becoming a doctor," concluded Patrick.

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 Yumbani Community 3B 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 Yumbani Community 3B – 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 Foundation