Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Decommissioned

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

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).

Background Information

The main economic activity in this area is farming: 89% of households rely entirely on farming. 27% of families are headed by women while the others are headed by men. The average household size is about seven members.

A family engages in different activities over the course of a normal day. The majority of a person's hours are spent on the farm, doing things like terracing and pruning trees. This area specializes in growing fruit trees, though recently the older, more mature trees have been drying out due to prolonged drought. This has greatly affected the income levels of farmers. During the drought periods, the day's main activity becomes water-fetching, which takes around 3‐4 hours.

The community approached ASDF for support in creating water security for their village. The Ngao ya Kiome Self-Help Group's main activities include merry-go-rounds (money collected from each member and then given to a different person each month) and helping each other on their farms, though lack of water has affected the group's ability to plant more trees. Upon follow-up visits, the group complied with the ASDF requirement of a strong leadership structure and willingness to work and provide materials.

The Current Source

There is a river nearby the Ngao ya Kiome group. Locals choose to fetch water from here for all purposes, including drinking, cleaning, and watering animals. This water is also important for farm irrigation, but is hard to come by during the dry season: Currently during dry periods, a 20-liter jerrican of water costs around 30 Kenyan shillings. Standard household use is 50‐100 liters per day, meaning that at least 90 Kenyan shillings will be used for water day to day. This is a large amount that the majority of households struggle to raise! With water made more available with a sand dam, the community will save on the amount spent for water. These savings will instead be invested in improving the well-being of the community, on education and economy.

When community members get water from this river, they can be sure it is not yet fit to drink. Scoop holes are dug in the riverbed to reach the least contaminated water, but this process takes lots of time. A shallow well at the river will give locals a faster and safer way to access their water. The group already constructed a sand dam which has raised the water table at the river.

Sanitation Situation

100% of households have pit latrines, and the majority of them are well-managed. Because of these good conditions, no open defication was observed during the initial visit. No more than 50% of households have dish racks and clotheslines built, and compost pits are used for trash and waste. About 50% of families have hand-washing stations near their latrines, and have soap available. These relatively positive statistics are thanks to the recent training sessions held at the onset of this project.

Training Sessions

The self-help group was trained for three days using the PHAST (Participatory Health and Sanitation Training) method. Topics included proper water treatment, hand-washing, and household hygiene. The group also went on a transect walk. The transect walk taught locals to watch for practices that go on and facilities that are present related to good health and hygiene. Sometimes, a participant feels shame when the group arrives at their household and points out things that are unhealthy or unhygienic; but in Kenya, this affects people to make a positive change.

Self-help group member Patrick Musyoka said, "We really appreciate the training as we never knew the importance of having toilets at our water sources. We now know very well that water is contaminated by people who defecate in the open around the sand dams hence the many cases of diarrhea and typhoid. The only way to tackle this is through toilet construction, which we are already working towards. As a group, we have decided to make sure that at every sand dam, there is a toilet." If community members must travel to get their water, they better have a latrine option!

The group is in its first year of a five-year cooperation agreement with ASDF. During the engagement period, the group will receive help in constructing other, higher quality shallow wells and sand dams. The Machakos County Government has an ambitious plan to do alternative water projects in the area which will complement sand dams.

This hand-dug well project is expected to take two months. (Please notice that construction has already started, as seen in the pictures!) This well will be lined with concrete and fitted with an Afridev pump. Regular water tests will be conducted, with the results communicated to the community. Follow-up training and visits are meant to handle any challenges found in these tests. The community will be central in ensuring that the environment around the water point is cleaned and kept that way, and the adjacent sand dam will boost recharge of the shallow well as the community regulates its water.

Project Results: Training

Hygiene and sanitation training was held in one of the group member's compounds. This was the best location so as to avoid the rainy weather outside. Training was specific to the self-help group, which claims ownership of the project. All the members were invited to take part in training, and dates and times were communicated ahead of schedule so that members could all ensure their attendance.

It turned out to be very well-attended, with a total of 58 members showed up. The trainer divided this huge group into smaller teams to encourage everyone to actively participate. These focus groups had many discussions, listened to lectures, identified illustrations of good and bad practices, and went on a transect walk.

Some of the topics covered were:

  • Common health problems
  • Good and bad practices for water-handling and storage
  • How diseases are spread
  • Choosing effective sanitation solutions
  • Hand-washing

The training's immediate result was an increased awareness on hygiene and sanitation. A community action plan was agreed upon, detailing how the major items learned, such as building hand-washing stations should be implemented.

After training, farmer Ngwala Mueni said, "The training on cleanliness has helped me to understand the importance of treating water. I usually used to think clear water is clean water. By treating water, my family will be free from diseases."

Project Results: Hand-Dug Well

The construction process began on February 8th.

The group allocated some members to be involved in the excavation process. The group was able to dig to a depth of 15 feet. The group used brick, stone, masonry, and concrete cast in a shuttering for the well’s inside. After the well pad was cast and had time to set, an Afridev pump could be installed.

We heavily involved the community in all stages of this project: One of the key aspects for long-term sustainability of any water supply system is the full and enthusiastic involvement of a community during all phases, including operation, maintenance and management. The community provided the local materials and labor for excavation: Each day a number of people were involved in the pit excavation. The community planned a day when they would all be available to collect the necessary materials. The men were mainly involved in digging the deeper, heavier soil while the women collected and bailed the soil. Daily attendance logs were kept to ensure that all group members participated in construction.

The community encountered a hard rock layer that resulted in a huge slowing down of the excavation process, and also limited the depth of the well. The prolonged rainy season also affected the pace of gathering materials and excavating the well.

After the well was complete, farmer Stephen Kalema assured that "The shallow well will help in separating the livestock and humans who used to share the same scoop holes." The self-help group has promised to take good care of the well. When nobody is around, they put the pump under lock and key to prevent vandalism from outsiders.

The Ngao ya Kiome Self-Help Group decided that water will be sold at a minimal price to have the financial ability for repairing any minor issues with the water pump. During the installation of the hand-pump, the committee was taken through a minor training on how to detect and repair potential defects with the hand-pump. We will also make periodic visits to the water point to ensure that everything is working well.

The self-help group is also organizing a formal thanksgiving ceremony which involves inviting staff and other guests. The emphasis of such an event is to thank God for the new water source, thank us for the support given to the group, and appreciate the community’s own contribution towards making this water project a success.

Project Updates

March, 2024: Project Change in Ngao ya Kiome Community!

Projects, like water itself, are fluid.

Sometimes, there are unique circumstances that can neither be resolved nor reversed that turn a well-loved water point into one that has failed to meet the expectations of both the community it serves and our own commitment to help provide access to safe and reliable water.

Unfortunately, this well is no longer meeting the water needs of the Ngao ya Kiome Community, despite repeated efforts, spent resources, and a lot of patience from the community and our team. 

The Water Project, the community members, and local leaders have decided together that decommissioning the well was the best course of action. As a result, we will no longer make monitoring visits here.

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.

"The shallow well will help in separating the livestock and humans who used to share the same scoop holes."

Stephen Kalema

A Year Later: Ngao ya Kiome Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

The fact that the water is near, the children no longer spend a lot of their academic time going to fetch water and instead use that time in reading or doing their homework. That enables them to improve their performance.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ngao ya Kiome Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ngao ya Kiome Community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Ngao ya Kiome Self-Help Group in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partners Mutheu Mutune and Titus Mbithi with you.

Community members used to have to travel all the way to Kithoni River, four kilometers away, to find water. Since the project last year, the community has used this water for so many things: they've started a successful tree nursery. Types of trees include fruit trees, timber and fuel trees. The fruit trees are at the flowering stage, especially the mango trees. They are expected to bring in good income and improve nutrition in many families.

Piles and piles of bricks have been made using this same water, and the people can now build better homes or even sell the bricks for income.

Christine Mbula Ngeta is the treasurer for her self-help group. She met us at the well to talk about how its impacted her life over the past year.

June 2017

"We have been using the water for cooking, washing our clothes and also bathing. Our children are clean compared to before, when water was scarce. They could skip days without taking a bath... but with the project they are all clean and we are happy parents. The fact that the water is near, the children no longer spend a lot of their academic time going to fetch water and instead use that time in reading or doing their homework. That enables them to improve their performance.

Our livestock have enough drinking water because of the water source. We used to have a big challenge with the livestock, especially during the dry season because the sources of water were minimal and far and our livestock would mix with other livestock from different regions and this would promote the spread of diseases. The project has reduced this because we fetch for the livestock and let them drink from home. Some people also grow vegetables such as kales, spinach, and tomatoes and these have acted as a source of income as well as food."

Field Officer Mutheu Mutune interviewing Muendi Kyambi about how having this well has changed her life.

18-year-old Muendi Kyambi has also been using this well. "My life has changed because I no longer waste a lot of time going to fetch water from Kithoni River, which is far from our home. It used to be risky for me and my siblings going to fetch water after school because we would go back home very late after lining up for hours. At times, you would go back with no water but since the project came, we are happy. Waterborne diseases have decreased because my parents were trained on how to store the drinking water and treat it as well general cleaning. The water is usually soft and good for washing clothes because it saves a lot of detergents compared to hard water. I am even motivated to wash clothes and keep our home clean because there’s water available!" But she continued saying that since the adjacent sand dam is still young, it needs to keep building up more sand to store water: "Availability of the water in the well and in the dam is still low, and during the driest months of the year we are forced to look for other sources of water for watering our trees and also for the household use."

As the young sand dam continues to mature through the rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water, the hand-dug well will become more reliable.

Most of our other southeastern Kenya projects are like this too; they are systems that need time to mature in order to provide clean, reliable water throughout drought. We look forward to this happening here, and are excited to monitor the transformation!

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ngao ya Kiome Community maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Ngao ya Kiome Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


MPD, Inc.
The Rockwood Trust/Gregory Lee
3 individual donor(s)