Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/15/2024

Project Features

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The 600 people who live in Kanyululu primarily collect their water from the local unprotected spring because it is the nearest source. But the spring is seasonal, so during the year's dry season, the water level is deficient or dries up altogether.

The community's alternatives are collecting rainwater during the short rainy season, drawing water from protected dug wells, or a standpipe (both of the latter options being quite far away). But it takes some people up to two hours, walking up to 2 km (1.24 miles) per trip, to collect water from these sources.

“Households with travel times greater than 30 minutes have been shown to collect progressively less water. Limited water availability may reduce the amount of water that is used for hygiene in the household.” - The Relationship between Distance to Water Source and Moderate-to-Severe Diarrhea in the Global Enterics Multi-Center Study in Kenya, 2008–2011) - American Journal of Tropical Science and Medicine

Children are also required to carry water to school, thus they have to walk to the distant water point then on to school. It is exhausting for everyone.

Student Kevin W., 12, in the photo above, said, "I need to walk for up to 1 kilometer to the current water points and carry the water back home after classes, which leaves me exhausted and unable to focus on my studies fully."

Community member Mbua Kaniu, 70, shown in the photo below, knows the value a sand dam would add to her community because she is a member of the Kamami Self-Help Group, which has implemented projects in neighboring communities.

"I have to wake up early to go fetch water at the shallow well or public tap in Kasioni center," Mbua said.

"Although we have already implemented two sand dams and shallow wells, they are quite far from my home and have insufficient amounts of water to sustain the community. I have to walk for about a kilometer to the water point under the scorching sun."

She continued, "The exhaustion from the long walks leaves me with less energy to focus on other activities such as farming. I also have to use water sparingly, which negatively impacts hygiene and sanitation."

Like Mbua, many others in the community lack energy. The current water sources cannot offer adequate water, so they leave their daily tasks undone. Farming is neglected and results in a lack of income and proper nutrition. And poor hygiene conditions persist because the available water has to be used sparingly.

The proposed water project will be close to Kanyululu's center and easily accessible, meaning shorter distances for everyone to walk and less exhaustion. Hopefully, with less fatigue and access to sufficient water, the community members will successfully farm, and their daily hygiene will improve.

What We Can Do:

Reliable Water for Kanyululu

Our main entry point into this community has been the Kamami 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

April, 2023: Kanyululu Community Hand Dug Well Complete!

Kanyululu 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.

"This water point will help me acquire enough water for my family because it's close to my home, and I will no longer have to walk to the other quite distant shallow well. We will also be drinking clean water, which does not expose us to water-related infections. I will also have enough water to conduct hygiene and sanitation at home," said 52-year-old farmer Nzambi Wambua.

Nzambi beside the new well.

Nzambi continued: "I will also have more time to focus on farming, and I will have enough water for irrigating my crops. I will be able to grow more vegetables and provide food my family because there will be enough water for irrigation."

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 ramp 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 Kamami 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 venue was at one of the member's homesteads, chosen for its central location, making it easily accessible to all.

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

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 soap-making and handwashing.

"Four members [of the training] were requested to participate in a handwashing competition as the rest watched keenly. The other members were allowed to critique the method [they] used and were to identify who among the four members washed their hands properly," said field officer Alex Koech.

“The training was very good. It has reminded me what I had forgotten about hygiene and sanitation. I have also learnt how to make liquid soap and latrine disinfectant. The soap makes my clothes smell good all the time. I have also learnt how to wash my hands properly. I am very happy,” said 59-year-old farmer Kithumbi Kitheka.



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!

December, 2022: Kanyululu Community Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kanyululu 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.


Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation

And 1 other fundraising page(s)
15 individual donor(s)