Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Program: Sand Dams in Kenya

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/21/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

This shallow well project is only possible because of another project also going on in the same area. A sand dam has been constructed that will cause the water table in the area to rise. To see the sand dam project, click here.


Kiluta self-help group, in Ngaa area of Matiliku region, was formed in 2009. The aim of forming the group was to fight a common enemy that has afflicted the area for many years: an acute water shortage. So acute has this problem been that the members feel it is responsible for their poverty. They have been grounded, their entire lives made to revolve around the search for water.

There are three main sources of water for the people of Ngaa area. Kikuu River is one of them. It is approximately 4 kilometers away and it would take a member around 5 hours to go, fetch water and get back home. The other option is to buy water from the chief’s camp in Matiliku Market. One jerrican costs five shillings and one has to pay for a motor bike to transport the water to their home. This costs between 150 shillings and 200 shillings depending on one’s proximity to the market. It’s quite a costly affair.

The last and most preferred option is to fetch water at Kwa Mukuti Scoop Holes. This is along the Ikuma River and is quite close to their homes. The problem is the water takes time to sieve into the well and the people are forced to wait long hours to fill their containers. It takes about thirty minutes to fill one twenty-litre jerrican. Being the closest source of water for the community, everybody fetches water there and thus there are long queues that one has to wait out in order to fetch water. They fetch water late into the night, sometimes till the wee hours of the morning. This becomes very risky, especially for the women, who are exposed to security threats, the danger of animal attacks and other such risks.

The members of Kiluta Self-Help Group, are confident that the situation will change with the construction of sand dams. The sand dam recently constructed nearby transforms the area by raising the water table. The raised water table enables the construction of this shallow well, providing a safe, clean, close source of water for household and agricultural use. They hope to engage in irrigation farming and plant vegetables which they may sell and generate income for the group. They will set up tree nurseries and a demo farm for the group. Individually, the members could make bricks to sell. The prospects are endless!


A distribution of seeds and tree seedlings was conducted at the end of June. With the help of these seeds, Self Help Group members will continue to use the sustainable farming skills such as terracing and planting of specific plant species that help fight erosion along the river banks, where some of the farms are located. The distribution not only helps thwart off soil erosion but also assists farmers in growing their farms to a point where they can grow a surplus well beyond subsistence farming and sell in markets for extra income.


The construction was scheduled during a rainy season, so the shallow well could not be finished on time. Workers also discovered hard bedrock that prevented further excavation. However, since this is a good site, the depth is adequate for water to filter into the dam.

The pump was not installed right away because the well was surrounded by rainwater received in May and June. Workers were forced to wait until September to complete this project.


Three workers excavated the well over the course of two months, March and April. This excavation project took two full weeks of work.

Materials were collected by nine community members in April.

It took one week for six people to wall in the well. This was completed on April 30th.

The pump installation was delayed. It was finally installed in the month of September.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kiluta Community

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Kiluta, Kenya.

We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point,

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

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.




Project Sponsor - Alan and Lesley Pedersen - Dedicated to Peace Corp Volunteers