Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 800 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

It takes the 800 community members who live in Kamuuwani well over two hours for each trip to collect water. They have two options: they can collect water from a scoop hole at Iguini River or pay for water from a public standpipe, but both sources are five kilometers (three miles) away.

The scoop hole is overcrowded, and covering the long distance to reach the dry riverbed is time-consuming and exhausting. When there is water, it is often contaminated by animal excrement, dust, and human activities, exposing people to water-related infections like stomachaches, typhoid, and amoebas.

"Fetching water from [the] Iguini river that is five kilometers away is a dreary activity, and sometimes there is no water. Thus, you have to wait for the entire day. For instance, last week, there were a lot of people at the water point, and the water is too little to satisfy all of us, thus I spent the entire day at the water point with little water for drinking and cooking," said 34-year-old farmer Stella Kukia, seen above scooping water.

"Increased water collection time reduces the amount of water that a household uses per day, effectively reducing the amount of clean water available for drinking, cooking and hygiene practices." - Science Direct/MDPI

The scoop hole runs dry during extreme drought periods (like the one currently happening in Kenya), forcing community members to pay for motorcycle water vendors, who find water from other locations, but this is money they cannot afford to waste.

"Iguini River is far away. We spend up to five hours fetching water, [so] meals are prepared late often because fetching water is time-consuming and the available water is inadequate," said 12-year-old Nehema N., shown below carrying walking to get water.

She continued: "Failure to carry water to school means I will not have water to drink, and I may face disciplinary action from the school. Sometimes, I stay at home because I do not have water to carry to school. For instance, I have not gone to school today."

“It is projected that by 2040, almost 600 million children will be living in areas of extremely high water supply stress conditions.” - UNICEF

The alternative option is for people to collect water from a public standpipe, where residents must purchase water. But sadly, the tap is also overcrowded, runs dry often, and is rationed by the municipality, so it is not always available even when people can afford the extra expense.

All of the time spent searching for and collecting water means residents have less time and energy to focus on other activities that would improve their daily lives.

The community needs a nearby water source that will offer sufficient, safe water to meet their daily needs.

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 800 people in the Kamuuwani community have access to safe and reliable drinking water.

What We Can Do:

Reliable Water for Kamuuwani

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

February, 2024: Kamuuwani Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kamuuwani 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 the 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 continue to fill with water.

"I am very happy that this water point has been set up close to my home because I will easily get clean water for drinking, and I will not be walking several kilometers searching for water. I will also [have] enough clean water to wash my uniform and always look clean when going to school," said 10-year-old Muuo K.


"Getting clean water will now be easier, and I do not have to go to the distant Iguini River after classes or during holidays, which will give [me] more time to study and secure a place in a good secondary school. I will also be getting more time to do my homework," he continued.

"This water point is very close to my home, and our cattle and goats will be drinking water nearby, which will improve their yield. My mother will not be going far when looking for water to cook for us, and I will be spending more time with my parents," concluded Muuo.

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!

Excavation begins.

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, 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. 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.

Completed well!

We worked with the Makoko Farmers Field and Life 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 their previous household visits and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community could improve upon.

Community mapping was an exciting topic for the participants. Participants drew their homes on a community map and indicated the available sanitation infrastructures, water sources, and other landmarks like schools and churches.

Learning to use a tippy tap hand washing station.

During the training, the homeowner's donkeys began chasing each other amid the training venue, interrupting the training since everyone was on the run, fearing them. A male participant chased them away from the compound, and the session continued.

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.

Learning to make soap.

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

"During the mango season, stomachaches have been the song of every family, and it is because of eating fruits that haven't been washed. I have learned that I have to wash any food eaten raw with clean water. The skills gained [about how to make] soap and disinfectant will help us improve hygiene and bring financial independence. This will help change the living styles in many homes," said Mwinzi.


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!

November, 2023: Kamuuwani Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Kamuuwani 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.


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