Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 755 community members who live in Nzakya struggle each day to collect sufficient water to meet their needs.

When field officer Jefferson Mutie described the semi-arid region's struggles with water, he said, "Growing water demand and scarcity have turned into a notable challenge in Kenya. Climate change, population growth, urbanization, water pollution, and poor management of water resources have aggravated the issue of the water crisis, which affects economic activities, food security, education, and health. These challenges are especially evident in rural areas of Southeast Kenya where people are often unable to get clean water."

For the community members living in Nzakya, who love where they live, the water crisis is nothing new, but they are tired of using all of their energy collecting water instead of making significant progress in their lives.

"Life is good in this village. Since I was married here, I found [it] a peaceful village [and] very beautiful. Water was the main headache and still is the worst challenge which we face here. I wake up very early and set off for water [from] the dam. The trek is risky and dangerous," said 43-year-old farmer Peris Nduku, seen below collecting water with her baby on her back.

"I feel offended living in a community whereby women lack the opportunity to get water easily and fast. I am very hopeful that in [the] future, we shall have water security. We shall have women enjoying fetching water and fostering relationships in the family. I am thinking of having a community that has no water-related diseases and no more sicknesses," said Peris.

The primary water source in this community is an earthen dam. Collecting water from the dam is a task mostly left to the adults since it is a dangerous large body of water not close to home. Yet, when families need water to meet their basic needs, and parents are busy producing incomes and maintaining their households, they must take the risk and send older children to collect water.

"My parents like sending me to the dam, which is dangerous and far. This happens after I come back from school, and it forces me to have no time to study and do my homework," said 17-year-old Muli P. Seen below.

But like most bodies of water in Southeast Kenya, particularly the smaller ones, they are prone to drying up when it is not the rainy season, leaving people to search for water elsewhere.

"When the water is very scarce, we opt to rush to River Migwani, which is miles away. The journey is never sweet [and] no one wants to experience it. I would feel very happy to see myself collect water very fast and come back to do my activities back at home. I love playing soccer, which I fail to have time to do," concluded Muli.

Installing a dug well will enable community members like Muli and Peris to have quick, safe access to water so they can collect all the water they need to meet their daily needs. Hopefully, this will give them the time and energy to improve their daily lives and dream about changes they can implement in the future.

Helping to solve the water crisis in this community will take a multi-faceted system. It requires the collaboration of the dug well attached to a sand dam. They will work together to create a sustainable water source that will serve this community for years to come.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Project Updates

July, 2024: Nzakya Community Dug Well Complete!

Nzakya 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 will no longer be walking several kilometers to draw water from the distant earth dam because this implemented water point is very close to my home. Also, I will have time to interact with my friends, do my assignments, and help my parents at home with chores such as herding livestock. This water is also clean and safe to drink; thus, water-related infections like dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and amoeba will now be a thing of the past," said 14-year-old Daniel.


"My parents will reap more income from their farms because they now have enough water, time, and energy to concentrate on farming. They will have money to pay for my school fees. They will also be drinking clean water which will improve their health."

"I will no longer [be] stressing about where to get water which will help me focus on my studies. Moreover, I will easily fetch water here and return home saving a lot of time that I will use on doing my assignments."

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 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.

A favorite training session was the soap-making activity. The facilitators shared with the group that using soap and latrine disinfectants is crucial for environmental hygiene. By the end of the training, the group had made forty liters of soap and twenty liters of latrine disinfectant.

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.

"The design of the tippy tap that was demonstrated is more hygienic and easy to use than the one some of us have been having been [using]. We will improve to the new one and ensure that we wash our hands more often than we used to do before since we now know the most critical moments for handwashing. Our income will go high since now we have a new skill in soap and latrine disinfectant making. If the skill is well practiced, it will help us improve on hygiene and income both at [the] group and personal level," said 68-year-old John Mukala.



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!

April, 2024: Nzakya Community New Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Nzakya 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.


1 individual donor(s)