Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 440 community members of Kalamba face an incredibly frustrating challenge. Many people walk over three miles to collect water from a scoop hole (seen below), but there isn't enough, and what they do find is unsafe to consume.

Kalama community as a whole is drained from the water crisis they face. Most adults are farmers, so any time not spent on their trade is taking away their income. Families already struggle to have enough resources to meet their needs, often going without crucial medical care because it's too expensive. Moreover, medical care is often needed because the scoop hole they collect water from is contaminated by animal waste and many other contaminants.

Forty-five-year-old farmer Alice Maithya, seen below carrying water, shared her thoughts about the water crisis in her community. "Water from the scoop hole is contaminated, and me and my children often contract typhoid, amoeba, and various stomach upsets. One of my grandchildren has not gone to school for a couple of days now because of stomach upsets, and I can only get local herbs because taking her to a dispensary is expensive, and I did not reap much from the last harvest."

"We also lack enough water for drinking, and we have to remain thirsty [on] several occasions," she continued.

Field Officer Alex Koech said, "The main sources of water in the area have a low quantity of water, [are] located several kilometers away and [are] contaminated. The low quantity of water from the water points has led to quarrels between community members because everyone wants to finish up and concentrate on other affairs. Sometimes, the donkeys (the main form of water transportation) become stubborn and refuse to carry the load because of exhaustion."

Alex continued, "The scoop holes are open to contamination from the community members and their livestock. This exposes the residents to infections such as typhoid, amoeba, dysentery, diarrhea, and more."

Adults struggle to meet their families' needs. In comparison, children have to sacrifice integral learning time to contribute to collecting water.

Sixteen-year-old Kimanzi M., seen below collecting water, vocalized how the water crisis affects him. "Getting water to drink is difficult because I have to walk several kilometers searching for water, which consumes most of my time. Sometimes, taking a bath is difficult because water is scarce. I am also required to carry water to school each morning, meaning I need to fetch water in the evening after classes, which is very exhausting and has affected my performance level in school."

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

"When the project [is] installed, I will no longer walk several kilometers searching for water, and I will get more time to study or play with my friends. I will also have enough water to perform personal hygiene and sanitation," Kimanzi remarked.

"When the proposed water point [is] installed, my children and I will have enough clean water to drink, and we will no longer [be] exposed to infections such as typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery," Alice concluded.

Giving the Kalamba Community access to safe water closer to home will give them the tools to dream of a better future.

Note: Our proposed water point can only serve 300 people per day. We hope to continue working with this community to identify other water solutions that will ensure all of the people in this community have access to safe and reliable drinking water.

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

June, 2024: Kalamba Community Well Complete!

Kalamba 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 now be fetching water nearby, and I will also plant trees at home. I will also be safe because of the project's close proximity. Moreover, I will be going to the shallow well and return home to conduct hygiene and help my grandmother," said 10-year-old Neema.


"I will be spending my evenings and holidays studying, and playing with my friends at home because I will not be walking several kilometers searching for water. I will have more time to study and improve my academic performance. I will be able to get better grades in school."

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.

Well, construction.

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.

The completed well.

We worked with the Makulini 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.

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.


"This training is a good one that trains people on facts about their way of living and the best hygienic practices that are expected of them. I have learned that we become sick, because of the many hygienic practices that we do not do. If we install all the sanitation infrastructures and adopt the hygienic practices taught, then we will be able to stay away from diseases, and the entire community will emulate what we do and have a healthy community. We will be financially well, even if not very rich, but be able to meet our basic needs," shared 74-year-old farmer and chairman of the Water User Committee Moses Ngonde.


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: Kalamba Community New Dug Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Kalamba 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)