Nzalu Self Help Group Shallow Well Project

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Sand Dams in Kenya

Latitude -1.64
Longitude 37.55

455 Served

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Stories and 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 going on at the same time. A sand dam is being constructed, which will help raise the water table in the area, making this shallow well a success. To see the sand dam project, click here.


The group has 26 members with 10 men and 16 women .The group was formed in the year 2013 and registered in 2014.It is located in Ndumbu village with a population of 75 male,130 women and 250 children. Mangani sub location with 1800 people, Kisau location, Kisau Division Mbooni East district Makueni County.

The average household size is 6.3 members and an average age of 47.2 years.

Economic Activities
• Farming
• Small business
• Livestock keeping

Reasons for group formation
Working alone one cannot do much therefore the members saw that the by forming a group they would be able to solve some of the needs that they were facing alone at their various home. They face water shortage therefore began by collecting materials and constructed a sand dam to raise the water table. They have a merry go round programme going on in the group.


The main source of water for the group is Waani river.

50% of the members interviewed travel a distance of less than 1 km, 31% distance of 1-2 km, and 19% travel a distance of 2-3 km respectively. All the members queue for more than 30 minutes each day during the dry season for water with 44% queuing for 1-2 hours, 44% queue for 1-2 hours, while 12 % queue for 30min-1hour.The members said that they spend more than two hours each day in search of water. This is because though some members are near the water source they have queue for a long time in the river as the water table during the dry season is low. This makes the have to dig deep scope holes to get to the water. Due to lack of sufficient water they said that small business is affected as they do not get to open their work in time because first they have to go and get water. The river supports the whole location and hence there are many people getting water from the river.


The community rely on rain agriculture for food production. They grow food mainly for subsistence. The area under food production is 3.34 acre.

The main food crops grown are
• Maize
• Cowpeas
• Pigeon peas
• Green grams

Challenges to Food Production
• With the change in climate the communities said that the rainfall is not reliable any more. The rainfall is usually erratic and unreliable.
• Lack of seed. They do not have seed to plant timely and their cost is high in the agro vets shop of which some of the members are not able to afford.
• All the members said that they had not had training in the last two years on improved farming practices. This means that they continue to practise the old methods of planting which are not able to yield much with the change in climate.

Environmental Conservation

81% of the members plant trees while 19% said that they do not plant trees.

Challenges faced in tree planting program are:
1. Termite. The trees planted are infested by termite and they do not have cash to buy the insectides to control the termite.
2. Lack of knowledge on tree management. The members said that at times they dry because they are not well taken care of.
3. Lack of water in the dry season. Lack of enough water lead drying up especially in the dry season.


The shallow well began on 8/24/2015

The digging has not yet completed , but they have dug 5ft so far. Two members have been allocated the digging process as the other members are doing the sand dam. The greatest challenge towards construction of this shallow well is twofold:

– High cost of building materials and cost of transporting the materials from source to site at a distance of 8 km has been costly for the group of 17 members.

– The period of constructing the sand dam. The excavation of the sand dam trench resulted to high water infiltration in the trench due to rain.  This resulted in more labour and time to do both the sand dam and the shallow well.


The construction of the shallow well was completed on October 19th. Water is not yet flowing as the new dam needs to mature over the next rainy season, raising the water table and charging the well. Our partner will continue working with this community as that happens, training in improved farming techniques and other development areas.


Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

11/20/2015: New Pictures From Nzalu Shallow Well

Our program director just got back from a few weeks visiting our partners and some of the projects in Kenya.  While there she had the chance to stop by Nzalu and took some great pictures of the shallow well, community members, and the tree nursery that they are developing. We thought you’d like to see the work you helped accomplish, and the smiles that are the result.

Don’t worry about the water surrounding the well! As the nearby sand dam matures, the area around the well will fill with sand, which will help capture and filter rainwater, charging that well and providing safe water for the community.

Thanks again for your help!

The Water Project : kenya4316-110

11/09/2015: Nzalu Shallow Well Complete

We are excited to report that construction of a new shallow well for Nzalu Self Help Group is now complete. As the nearby sand dam, also a new project through The Water Project, matures, the well will fill with safe, clean water for the community. We just updated the project page with the latest information.

Take a look, and Thank You for helping us unlock potential!

The Water Project : kenya4316-07-nzalu-shg-shallow-well

10/02/2015: Nzalu Shallow Well Project Underway

We know you have been waiting with us to hear news about the shallow well project for Nzalu Self Help Group in Kenya. We are excited to report that, after some delays due to rain and difficulty getting materials, construction is now underway! We just posted a report from our partner in the field with the information on the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We expect to have more news on progress in the next few weeks. We have adjusted the expected install date to reflect when we hope to receive final reports.

For now, take a look at the site, and Thank You for helping us unlock potential!

The Water Project : kenya4316-03-shallow-well-excavation

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Central Kenya
ProjectID: 4316
Install Date:  10/19/2015

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 04/16/2018

Visit History:
04/11/2016 — Functional
07/12/2016 — Functional
12/16/2016 — Functional
05/22/2017 — Functional
09/14/2017 — Functional
11/06/2017 — Functional
12/20/2017 — Functional
04/16/2018 — Functional


Project Sponsor - In dedication to Dr John P. and Patricia B. Lacey

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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) supports self-help groups to harvest and conserve water through construction of sand dams & shallow wells, rock catchments and school roof catchments.