Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 980 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/16/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The community of Kitile in the semi-arid region of southeastern Kenya has a large population of 980 people, all of whom need water. Currently, people must trek to the Athi River over dusty roads under the intense sun to collect water each day.

"It takes four hours for a community member to go to the river and get back," said our field officer, Jefferson Mutie.

As a result, people are exhausted and have little energy or time for anything else.

"At dawn, women prepare to leave for River Athi going to fetch water. The walk is such a stretch that after making one trip, it's not easy for a community member to walk for more trips. Many duties are left attended to due to limited time and distance," said Jefferson.


"I get very tired whenever I visit the river. If we get another sand [dam] and rains come, I am very sure the long trek will be a closed chapter, and I will resume my normal life once again," said 12-year-old Mutheu M.

There are a couple of sand dams and wells far away, but four different communities rely on them for water, so there is never enough water to meet the demands.

"Sometimes, when it gets very dry here, the shallow wells get flocked, forcing half of the population to look for water in the river Athi. 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," said 68-year-old farmer Tabitha Mule, shown below collecting water at the river.

Although the river has plenty of water, collecting it comes with serious risks. The water is contaminated, and when people drink it, they are exposed to waterborne illnesses. Also, dangerous crocodiles and hippos live near the river. These predators make each water-fetching experience a harrowing one, as they have both injured and killed people in the past.

"[Another sand dam] will reduce the sicknesses reported, especially for community members who don't have easy access to clean water," Tabitha continued. "Implementing another sand dam will ensure a larger percentage of the community has access to clean water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, and agricultural activities, hence improving our income security."

Having a sand dam and well near this community will help keep people from walking so long to get water. Having water close by and readily available should improve the community's water security as well as their food and income security.

"Plenty of water in the community is an assurance of brighter days ahead for the community members feeling to be in dark days," concluded Jefferson.

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 980 people in Kitile community have access to safe and reliable drinking water.

What We Can Do:

Reliable Water for Kitile

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: Kitile Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kitile 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.

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.

"Before this project, I was really going very far to get water," said 18-year-old Susan M.

"Access to reliable water will create a conducive learning environment which will promote my health, well-being, and academic success. It will also enhance cognitive function and support sanitation and hygiene practices. I now hope to have enough time to study and do my homework on time," she 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, 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 Botela 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.

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.

Participants learned how to make liquid soap and latrine disinfectant, as cleaning products, including soaps and detergents, play a crucial role in our daily lives. The group made 20 liters of soap and 20 liters of latrine disinfectant. Now that they have learned these new skills and have experience, they can put their knowledge to use, generating income for the community's well-being.

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. And we covered natural resource management and the operations and maintenance of the well.

"Participants demonstrated active involvement in the training session by asking questions, sharing personal experiences, and actively participating in group discussions and activities. They showed a genuine interest in learning new information and acquiring practical skills related to hygiene practices," said Field Officer Jefferson Mutie.

"I have loved this training more and thanks [to] our partner in enabling us to learn more and remind ourselves more on hygiene. I feel I should empower my whole community, starting with my very own family. Thanks for the noble training offered to us," said farmer and elected chairman of the water user committee, 49-year-old Onesmus Muia.


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: Kitile Community Hand Dug Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Kitile 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)