Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 250 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

The 250 people of Muthungue would love to have enough water to accomplish all their daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, and laundry, but with the distance to the water point being so far, they simply can't manage it.

Because acquiring water takes such a long time, people in Muthungue get less of it. Without water to do essential daily tasks, people’s normal routines are disrupted, and important things like working and going to school are challenging.

Rather than making the several-kilometer journey to the nearest protected shallow well, some community members opt to fetch water from closer, less reliable sources: holes dug into dry riverbeds shared with wildlife and domestic animals. But this understandable compromise has consequences for their health, given that these sources are salty and contaminated.

"At times, I often get stomach upsets, especially when it's very dry and the sun is scorching, because I tend to dig a scoop hole nearby so that I reduce the distance," said 11-year-old Eunice M (pictured below).

Others within the same Self-Help Group have built sand dams with shallow wells in the best spot to ensure that water stays where it's needed. However, those on the fringes of the community have the same problems as before these interventions were made.

"Water scarcity currently is affecting me as my family lives very far [away] from the sand dam already constructed," said Eunice. "I have to walk long distances when I come back from school to get water. There are sand dams in the area, but [they] currently don't serve the whole community and the larger part. If we get another sand dam, it will be a boost for us because we will walk short distances. I will also be able to attend to other duties at my home and work on proper hygiene and sanitation. I shall also get to have enough time to play and do my homework."

"Members opt to fetch water from other sources such as scoop holes, which are prone to contamination, and therefore [they fall] sick," said farmer Phoebe Mutei Kitheka (pictured below). "Sometimes, when it gets very dry here, the shallow wells get flocked, forcing half of the population to look for water in the scoop holes."

Phoebe shared why another sand dam and shallow well will help solve the community's problem. "If we get another sand dam in the area, we will be able to harvest more water for the community to use and also reduce the distance covered by members. This will reduce the sicknesses reported, especially for community members who don't have easy access to clean water. Implementing another sand dam will assure a larger percentage of the community [has] access to clean water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, and agricultural activities, hence improving our income security."

What We Can Do:

Reliable Water

Our main entry point into this community has been the 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

October, 2023: Muthungue Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Muthungue 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 felt so frustrated taking my cattle and livestock to go and drink water at the distant Katse River, which is about 5 kilometers from my home, but now, since this implemented water point is nearby, I am a happy man. I can bring my livestock here any time of the day with ease. It was also tiring to dig more than 3 feet while trying to reach the water in the scoop holes. I also felt scared each time I took my animals to the scoop hole because it would, at times, collapse and injure one of my goats or cattle. I will no longer have such worries because the shallow well is well protected, and I do not have to dig scoop holes to acquire water for my cattle," said 61-year-old farmer James Mutuko.

"We will also set up a vegetable garden because we will have enough water to irrigate them, which will boost our daily diet. I will be able to maintain a stable income even during the dry periods because I will be selling the vegetables, and my livestock will fetch a better market price, thanks to their good health," James concluded.

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 water to seep through. When the well is finished, sand builds up around its walls, filtering 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. 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.

We worked with the Muthungue Women's 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.

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. We covered natural resource management and the operations and maintenance of the sand dam.

The training covered how to make soap and disinfectant, so community members have that skill going forward to help improve their hygiene and possibly use it to provide more income.


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, 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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we're working toward complete coverage. That means 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!

September, 2023: Muthungue Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Muthungue Community costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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.


3 individual donor(s)