Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Decommissioned

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).

Welcome to the Community

Wikwatyo wa Mutula Self-Help Group is in its third year of their five year engagement period with ASDF. During these five years, the group focuses on addressing water insecurity in the area. Their main approach to addressing this water insecurity is through the construction of sand dams to help raise the water table and transform the dry environment.

Their main economic activity is farming, with a majority of farmers keeping herds of cattle (goats, sheep and donkeys). The main source of water had always been River Thwake, a seasonal river that spans across three counties. The distance from the village to this water point was three kilometers, and water was fetched from scoop holes.

Water Situation

Since the start of Wikwatyo wa Mutula's program, this situation has changed drastically because the community has already been able to build two sand dams. They have been able to access water from these dams throughout the year, thereby reducing the distance traveled and time taken significantly. However, the community still relies on scoop holes that are unprotected and highly vulnerable to contamination. The biggest contamination threat comes from the livestock and wild animals that share the same scoop hole. This particular project will seek to address this challenge by constructing a new hand-dug well adjacent to one of the sand dams. A well will give local farmers the chance to separate water sources by use; scoop holes will be for watering animals, and the well will be for watering humans! Farmer and father Beautice Mulei echoed this thought, saying "We are afraid that the open scoop holes may have been used by animals hence contaminating them. With a protected shallow well we will control how human and livestock use the source."

A woman will tote a full 20-liter jerrycan of water on her back. When women or children fetch a great deal of water from the dam, they consolidate it in a larger barrel at home (you can see examples of these at Veronica or Mutungwa's household, under the "See Photos & Video" tab!). Families who cannot afford a larger water reservoir must leave water in the fetching containers until it runs out.

Sanitation Situation

Since this is the third year of Wikwatyo wa Mutula Self-Help Group's program, they are well on their way to improved health and living. 100% of households have a pit latrine. Over 75% of these households have hand-washing stations so that family members can wash their hands after using the latrine. These same families also have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to safely dry their things. Since this is a farming community, most households have a compost pit on the edge of their property which they can later invest in their farms and gardens.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

We will hold a one day review training for self-help group members. Our trainer decided that it would be most beneficial to focus on the way women fetch water, and with what containers. The community has heard all of this before, but needs to be convinced of the importance of covering containers and regular scrubbing and rinsing. The training facilitator will also focus on reviewing water treatment methods and the best way families can keep their drinking water safe.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This new well will be constructed adjacent to the group's first sand dam. The sand dam is nearing maturity, so the well will recharge quickly from the raised water table. The sand that has collected at the dam will also naturally filter the water that is drawn from the well.

The construction process is projected to take about three months. The well will be dug by community members, lined with concrete, and fitted with an AfriDev pump.

Project Updates

March, 2024: Project Change in Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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 Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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.

A Year Later: Wikwatyo wa Mutula Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

Since this project, life has become very good because the distance to water has decreased to less than one kilometer, and we use our time well.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Wikwatyo wa Mutula Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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 Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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 partner Mutheu Mutune with you.

The community has planted fruit trees that are mature and ready to bear fruit. Before the project, the people traveled long distances in search of drinking water, and their livestock would die during these trips, especially during the dry season. The water provided at this well isn't only safe for livestock, but it's safe for the people to drink too. And since they were trained on how to treat water before drinking, less cases of waterborne disease are reported.

Photo from a May 2017 monitoring visit

Catherine Mutuku is the chairwoman of Wikwatyo wa Mutula. It's been her job to oversee this well and how it's being used by her neighbors. She told us, "Since this project, life has become very good because the distance to water has decreased to less than one kilometer, and we use our time well. Health and hygiene has also improved, because before the project we would skip days without taking a bath. The environment has also changed, and we hope to see it change even more in the next few years. We have made bricks at the individual level; some of us have constructed rental houses at Mutula Market, and we expect to earn income from rent payment every month. This is a very good source of income. Apart from the bricks, the people constructing their houses get the water from the well and sand from the dam. With vegetable farming, the project has been a blessing to us because we now plant at our individual homes and we were trained on vegetable farming. Every group member practices this, and we have seen a great change in terms of health and nutrition. Surprisingly, even non-members have started planting vegetables as we do, which shows that they have realized we are benefitted from the project."

Field Officer Mutheu Mutune stands between Mrs. Mutuku and Mutuku Kioko to talk about their successes and challenges over the past year.

15-year-old Mutuku Kioko came with his mother to share his point of view: "My personal hygiene has improved, and problems like stomachache have reduced since we drink treated water after the training my parents received... My mother used to suffer from typhoid for a long period and it used to stress me out so much, but since we started drinking the treated water she has never complained of illness. Distance to the water has decreased and I don’t walk for long in search for drinking water for our livestock. My school performance has increased because I don’t waste a lot of time going to fetch water; instead, I use the time to do my revision or homework."

Both mentioned that there are times when the well runs dry. It gets its water from what is stored in the adjacent dam - and over time, that dam will have greater potential to catch even more water. Mrs. Mutuku added, "Water is still not enough because the dam is not mature... We are however hopeful that with the coming rains, the water will last a longer period until the dam becomes mature."

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 Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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 Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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.