Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 290 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

In Kisirani and the surrounding communities, there is never enough water for everyone. Unfortunately, this means that all the water sources in the area are overtaxed and overcrowded. Over 2,500 people rely on the water kiosk that serves as this region's main water source, with 290 people in Kisirani alone.

If that were the only facet of the water crisis, it would be bad enough. But the kiosk is several kilometers away from the farthest homes. This means people walk for hours in the heat just to get water for their households every day, wait in line, and, on the worst days, they may find that there is no water at all. Some families can afford donkeys to carry multiple containers of water at one time. Others spend all that time and energy on just one 20-liter container of water.

"I have to make very huge decisions when it comes to water every day," said 63-year-old farmer Alice Mutua Gideon (on the right in the above photo). "I choose water over many other chores here at home. Although [water is] costly, it can't be ignored, because it's life. We can't do without water. Every day, I am busy looking for water. It eats up most of my time."

As you might imagine, spending so much time collecting and waiting for water has a significant impact on all areas of community members' lives. With most of their time eaten up, people can't work on their farms, which means their families don't have enough to eat. Farmers without crops to sell can't earn an income, so they can't buy essentials like school fees and medicine.

Students whose parents can afford for them to attend end up missing class to help their families, which is the case for 16-year-old Joseph M.

"Missing school to go and fetch water is what makes me hate my community," Joseph said. "Once you miss school, you are forced to report to your parents, and also you will have missed lessons which won't be repeated. This leads to poor and undesired performances in school. This practice is very rampant during dry seasons. We miss free time to play or even do some revision (studying) at home."

In a community with a water crisis, everyone must revolve their lives around water, which leaves them little time or energy to improve their situations. They can only focus on surviving from one day to the next. Installing water points closer to home will grant the community members of Kisirani opportunities like they've never had before.

What We Can Do:

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

May, 2024: Kisirani Community Hand Dug Well Complete!

Kisirani 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.

Celebrating the 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.

"[The] availability of water nearby will ensure we have enough food because we will be irrigating crops and vegetables that will feed me and my family. We will also drink clean water, which does not expose us to water-related infections like typhoid. Our health will improve. We will also have enough water to conduct hygiene at home and there will be time for such chores because we will not spend a lot of time fetching water at the distant borehole. My family will also have more energy and time to focus on activities, like my kids doing their homework or playing with friends, or me cultivating my farm," shared 60-year-old farmer Simon Ituka.


"This waterpoint has a great impact [on] my children and family in general, and we are very happy about it. My grandchildren often have to walk several kilometers searching for water to carry to school the following day. Now they will be fetching it within a few minutes. They will use that [extra] time to play with their friends, help me out [on] the farm or study," he continued.

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, 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.

We worked with the Kaliluni Universal 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.

Learning proper handwashing techniques.

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 well.

The community members who attended the training were very engaged in the topics. It was easy to see the camaraderie among them. Our field officer is excited about the potential future hygiene changes to come!

A popular topic was the "three-pile sorting" activity. This session involves, each attendee presenting a poster with a behavior on it, and they work together to sort the behaviors into three piles: good, bad, and in-between health practices. One elder in the community presented her poster while dancing, to ensure everyone was paying attention!

Three-pile sorting lesson.

John Kitheka Munuve, the chairperson of the water user committee, shared what impacted him the most in the training session.

"I have learned a lot in the training. Personally, I have understood that hygiene and good health begin with an individual. I have learned that hygiene does not have to be supported by expensive sanitation infrastructures. For instance, [the] construction of a tippy tap was done using locally available materials that all of us can afford; other infrastructures like [a] utensil rack, [and] constructing latrines can be done simply by use of locally available materials. At the end of the day, the aim is to reduce diseases. Water treatment methods that have been explained to us will be the simplest method of reducing waterborne diseases and this will help us reduce the cost spent when seeking treatment," John said.


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!

February, 2024: Kisirani Community Hand-Dug Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Kisirani 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.


2 individual donor(s)