Matoma Nyumba Kumi New Well Project

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude -1.84
Longitude 37.60

400 Served

Project Status:

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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).

Welcome to the Community

The members of Matoma Nyumbi Kumi Self-Help Group came together to find solutions to their water problems by sharing resources and constructing new water points. Matoma Nyumbi Kumi means “10 jerrycans” in Swahili. They constructed a sand dam in 2014, though without knowledge on how to do so properly. The group members want to control soil erosion in the area, and have started doing so by building terraces on their farms. They are all farmers who either keep livestock or cultivate fruits and vegetables, with the majority growing fruit trees. These farmers then sell the fruit tree saplings. Without water, the farmer’s opportunities are suppressed and income is lowered. They have a merry-go-round project (a fund-sharing plan) which encourages them to meet frequently. In the case a member is not feeling well, they help each other in catering for medical expenses. Mumbuni Village is home to 400 people.

Water Situation

This hand-dug well will be the second that this group is implementing with us. The first hand-dug well was completed in the beginning of 2015, adjacent to a sand dam that is still maturing. Hand-dug wells are built to give locals safe access to water (the water will grow clearer as the dam matures and builds up more sand). The sand dam has proven a huge asset to agriculture in this area. Just last year, the group was able to plant 800 fruit tress!

However, the first sand dam and hand-dug well are too far (over 1.5 km) for some of the community members, and so they will implement this new hand-dug well further along the river. With just one sand dam and well, long lines are the norm. A second well will reduce the crowds at the water points and provide a sustainable supply of water for everyone in the community. Some families can’t even afford a reservoir tank for water storage, so they have no choice but to fetch water on a daily basis (Janet, one of the self-help group members, is fortunate to have a 100-liter barrel for water storage. Check out her home pictured below!).

Sanitation Situation

100% of households have a pit latrine. The conditions of these latrines vary according to a family’s income level. Families that have more money invest in a deeper pit, while families that don’t have much cannot. Most of the pits we saw during our visit were almost full. Most women had a dish rack and clothesline to dry their families’ things, but we only counted eight hand-washing stations. This certainly isn’t enough for 400 people!

Each household has a designated compost pit where they dispose of their waste. The compost is then used to increase soil fertility on farms.

The group is in their second year of working with ASDF, and in the first year, the group was trained on hygiene and sanitation to increase awareness on waste disposal, hand-washing, personal hygiene and water treatment. With the availability of water, the community is able to practice some of the learnt concepts. Farmer and mother Ann Muia says “With water close to our homes we have improved cleanliness. Our children bathe daily and go to school in clean uniforms. More training on how to treat water is needed…”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

This group of people is made up of many elderly members, so a serious refresher training is planned. We are planning to invite more young people than last time, so that they can learn and remind their parents and grandparents about good health practices. Training will take two days, and will focus on water treatment.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This hand-dug well will be located adjacent to the sand dam that is being constructed (click here to see that project). As the sand dam matures and builds up sand, the water table will rise. As time goes by, the available water will become clearer and cleaner.

The well will be lined with concrete and finished with an Afridev pump. We will use monitoring software to keep track of this well’s functionality, ensuring that it always provides water for the self-help group and their community.

Thank You for your generosity that unlocks opportunity and hope for Matoma Nymuba Kumi Self-Help Group and their community.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Matoma Nyumba Kumi Hand-Dug Well

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Matoma Nyumba Kumi 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 Boniface Mavindu and Titus Mbithi with you.

The Water Project : asdf_matoma-nyumba-kumi-shg-year-after-10

09/15/2016: Matoma Nyumba Kumi New Well Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Matoma Nyumba Kumi Self-Help Group and their families in Kenya have a new source of safe, clean water. A new hand-dug well has been constructed adjacent to a sand dam, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water pumped by the well. The self-help group members have also received training in sanitation and hygiene, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors. You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and many other projects.

The report below from our partner gives the latest details of the project. We also just updated the project page with new pictures. Make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab to check them out!

Project Result: New Knowledge

We consulted with locals to determine the best dates for hygiene and sanitation training, because we wanted as many community members to be present as possible. Training was held at the self-help group leader’s home compound. 11 out of the 15 self-help group members attended. Since this is our second year of working with the Matoma Nyumba Kumi Self-Help Group, these training sessions were more like a review of what participants learned last year. We checked on the group’s progress in implementing a plan of hygiene, health, and economic improvements in their community. We learned that the group has so far been successful in accomplishing the following tasks:

  • Five families out of the 11 always treat their drinking water
  • All members have functional latrines at home
  • Eight of the families have hand-washing stations
  • 10 families have dish racks
  • Four families have rubbish pits

The facilitator used group discussions, demonstrations, visual aids and lectures to help members review all of the hygiene and sanitation practices they learned last year, and reinforced the importance of implementing the improvement plan. This facilitator believes the community is on track, but emphasized review on waste disposal and water treatment.

Muendi Ndinda, one of the group members, was present at training. We caught up with her after, and she said “I used to take for granted covering of my pit latrines. I was not aware that from the toilet germs can be transferred to the house. We now cover and clean the toilets frequently!”

8 kenya4463 training

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this hand-dug well began on July 25th.

The construction of the well was done in stages. The first stage was the collection of materials. The lack of stones and sand to be used in constructing the sand dam (see that project, here!) affected the rate and speed of digging the hand-dug well. There was a big challenge in ensuring that the materials were on site, on time. This was because the community was collecting the stones form more than eight kilometers away and had to get help with transportation. It was an overwhelming experience for the community, but they were driven by their passion and commitment to getting their community a new water source. The materials were finally collected and delivered to the site. The hand-dug well was done simultaneously with the sand dam, since the construction sites are adjacent.

The excavation stage took at least three weeks, with the installation of the hand-pump taking a mere five days! The self-help group also received a lot of support from the local community who would benefit from the project. There were days when parents of students attending local schools mobilized themselves to come and support the community in the excavation of the shallow well.

1 kenya4484 construction

Since we’re only on our second year of project implementation for this area, water still isn’t easily accessible. This made construction a bit more difficult, since water is required for some of the phases. Each day of construction, the community had to use their donkeys to haul 200-liters of water from their first project location, which is on the other side of the village.

The community has been trained in how to manage and maintain their new water point. Everybody knows about the steps that should be taken both at the source and the household to maintain good water quality. We will continuously monitor and test water quality and share the results with the community.

Farmer Lazarus Muia participated in the training and project construction, and said “We gave our best to have this project done. It costed us our time and resources but when we see water from the source we always feel happy!”

8 kenya4484 finished hand-dug well

Remember how this self-help group named themselves Matoma Nyumba Kumi, which means “ten jerrycans?” Last time we visited the community, we asked why they chose this name. The chairman, Danial Masila, of the group responded saying:

“We chose the name because the common unique challenge that we had as a community was the lack of water. Each time you met someone they had a jerrycan on their backs coming from water fetching. It’s like each of our days and productive hours were used to fetch water. This really affected our socioeconomic lives. Shops would be closed a majority part of the day in order for one to fetch water, livestock were left unattended because of fetching water, each and everything suffered when we had no water.”

The self-help group gave their all to construct their second sand dam and hand-dug well. They see these projects as an investment that will continuously impact their lives.

Daniel left by saying, “We have suffered for a long time. There is nothing that will stop us until we get sufficient water for all in the community. The best inheritance the small children will get from us is water. Because water, as they say, is life.”

The Water Project : 6-kenya4484-finished-hand-dug-well

07/13/2016: Matoma Nyumba Kumi Hand-Dug Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Matoma Nyumba Kumi Self-Help Group and their community in Kenya is underway. A new well is being constructed and the community will attend a review on sanitation and hygiene practices. Together these resources will go a long way toward stopping the spread of disease in the area. We just posted a report including information about the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Click on the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : 5-kenya4463-fetching-water

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Makueni, Mumbuni
ProjectID: 4484
Install Date:  09/01/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/21/2017

Visit History:
12/06/2016 — Functional
06/05/2017 — Needs Repair
09/06/2017 — Needs Repair
12/21/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Matoma Nyumba Kumi Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

Since this project was completed, people have been asking to join our group because of the benefits they have seen: they’ve seen water brought closer to home, and the various trainings and exchange visits that we have been exposed to are things they’d love to take part in.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Matoma Nyumba Kumi 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 Boniface Mavindu and Titus Mbithi with you.

People used to walk four kilometers for two hours to find water. Once there, they’d spend up to three hours lined up to draw water. There has been such a significant change since the hand-dug well brought clean water closer to home. Time that was initially wasted in search of clean water can now used for other economic activities like terracing farms.

Water from those initial sources wasn’t clean, either, and the group members had no knowledge of how to treat that dirty water. With the nearby hand-dug well, water is now safe for drinking. And the group has been trained on treating drinking water, which has greatly reduced the cases of waterborne diseases.

Muthei Mutune interviewing Agnes Kyengo at the hand-dug well.

Agnes Kyengo is the treasurer for her self-help group, which means she also oversees any money raised for well maintenance. She met with us at the well to talk about how it’s changed her life. “Since this project was completed, people have been asking to join our group because of the benefits they have seen: they’ve seen water brought closer to home, and the various trainings and exchange visits that we have been exposed to are things they’d love to take part in. Fruit production has increased in the community because we have been in a position to water our fruit trees. Some have borne fruits while others are almost getting to the stage of bearing fruits, and we have been trained on grafting; soon we will be the leading suppliers of fruits in the region. Our income has increased as a result of practicing vegetable farming because we water the kale, spinach, and onions at our kitchen gardens using the water from the dam. We sell some of these vegetables to get money to pay school fees, buy clothes for our children and other needs. These vegetables are consumed by our families too, which helps improve our health. The meals have increased from two meals a day to three,” she shared.

Ngei Muthoka

We met 17-year-old Ngei Muthoka to hear his perspective. He said, “Since the project completion, my tree nursery has increased in production due to water availability. Of the 50 trees I planted, 45 have survived. I am grateful for this project, and I hope in the near future I will be earning income once I am out of school.

The water from the sand dam has enabled me to make bricks for constructing my house, and I sold 500 at eight shillings each and I got a total of 4,000 shillings. I used the money to pay for my school fees. My parents were happy because the money they were to pay for my school fees they used to meet other needs such as clothing my siblings.” But he continued by saying, “The water availability at the well is periodic, and at times we are forced to travel… to fetch water for both household use and watering tree nurseries.”

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.


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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.