Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 1500 people living in Ngutho Community do not have access to sufficient, safe water to meet their daily water needs for drinking, watering animals, irrigation for crops, cooking, and maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation.

The community's residents must walk six kilometers (3.5 miles) round trip to fetch water from another community's borehole, where they purchase water from a kiosk despite their already-drained financial resources.

But the water dispensary only provides salty water that cannot be used for irrigation and shouldn't be consumed without treatment. People wait in long queues, often spending up to three hours waiting for their turn, and then carry it home on their backs or by donkey.

“When water comes from improved and more accessible sources, people spend less time and effort in physically collecting it, meaning they can be productive in other ways.” - WHO

"Water scarcity has led to poor [crop] yields, and getting water for irrigation is difficult. It has not rained for the past three years, leading to little water or pasture for my cattle, hence poor yields. I cannot improve my level of income because I do not have water for irrigation," said 38-year-old farmer and secretary of the community's self-help group Ezekiel Munuve, shown below in the mauve shirt, carrying water.

Acute water shortages, especially during peak drought periods, have a ripple effect on the community. Not only do crops and incomes diminish, as Ezekiel mentioned, but everything suffers when water is unavailable.

Food production decreases, personal hygiene becomes challenging, and the community's sanitation suffers, creating a breeding ground for water-related illnesses.

According to Ezekiel, residents regularly experience stomachaches, typhoid, and amoeba from consuming the water untreated. They also fall into debt when they have no money for medical bills from water-related illnesses. And sometimes, there is no medicine at the local health center because of the high community population.

People expend so much of their energy finding and collecting water that they have no reserves left to fight illness or find time for other essential things critical to improving one's life.

"Water is sparingly used at home; thus, I cannot conduct proper hygiene and sanitation. I also have to help out during weekends and after class to fetch water; hence I get little play and remedial time, which affects my studies in school. For instance, I am on a school holiday, but I have had to wake up early and fetch water. I will walk back home during the afternoon because of the long queue," said 17-year-old Elizabeth M., shown below using a scarf around her head to carry water.

This community needs a reliable water source close enough for people to quickly access safe water to regain their time and health and improve their daily lives.

Note: Our proposed water point can only serve 300 people per day. We are working with the community to identify other water solutions that will ensure all 1,500 people in Ngutho have access to safe and reliable drinking water.

What We Can Do:

Reliable Water for Ngutho

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

March, 2024: Ngutho Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Ngutho Community, Kenya, now has a new water source, thanks to your donation! We constructed a new hand-dug well adjacent to a 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.

The new well.

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 will now be able to take all meals during the day because my grandmother is always at home. She will no longer have to spend several hours away looking for water to drink and prepare meals at home. It was very boring waiting at home while she went to fetch water because there was no water to drink or prepare meals, and I had to wait for her to return," said 8-year-old Mumbe.


"I will no longer be suffering from stomach upsets or diarrhea due to water-related infections because I will be drinking clean water. My health will improve, and I will have more time to study and become a doctor when I grow up," said Mumbe.

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 Muuo Wa Ngutho 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 took place near the construction site under a shade tree on a cold and sunny day. All the members of the group participated fully during the training by asking questions and giving input during the discussions.

One of the sessions focused on malaria and how to prevent it. The group members were taught that malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. They learned that mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, which hatch into larvae, eventually emerging as adult mosquitoes. By the end of the session, the group understood that malaria is preventable and curable.

Learning how to make soap.

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.

Using a tippy tap hand washing station.

We also touched on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, and sanitation improvements. And we covered natural resource management and the operations and maintenance of the well.


"The latrine disinfectant and soap preparation exercise were extremely rewarding for the group. Members of the group have gained confidence and responsibility for their own projects and have a clear say in what they want for sustainable development. Sanitation is enriched in the millennium development goals and is a cornerstone of the fight against poverty. Lack of basic sanitation puts millions of lives at risk, hence high morbidity and mortality in developing countries," said 44-year-old farmer Ezekiel Muuo.


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!

January, 2024: Ngutho Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Ngutho 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.


Berza’s friends Water Project
3 individual donor(s)