Wikwatyo wa Mutula New Well Project

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude -1.60
Longitude 37.65

500 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

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 Photos

Recent Project Updates

09/27/2016: Wikwatyo wa Mutula New Well Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Wikwatyo wa Mutula 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at a group member’s home, a convenient location for all participants. We consulted with community leaders to find the best time to ensure good turnout; two days when farmers would be least busy with their crops. Every group member attended training for the seven hours each day, highly motivated and actively participating in each activity.

3 kenya4491 training

Since there is a high rate of illiteracy in this area, the training facilitator used a lot of diagrams and illustrations to teach. This kept participants captivated and engaged throughout each session. The trainer also used role-plays and group discussion to teach participants topics including:

– The Danger of Germs

– Water Treatment

– How to Fetch and Store Water

– Personal Hygiene (highlighting hand-washing)

– Building a Hand-Washing Station (tippy tap)

One of the direct results of training was the action plan that the group came up with for their community. This schedule outlines the hygiene and sanitation improvements that will be made in the community over the next few years. For example, the construction of helpful tools like dish racks, clotheslines, and hand-washing stations. In six months, the training facilitator will pay a visit to the community to check their progress.

Rose Musembi was happy to learn what she could at training, and plans to share her new knowledge with family and friends. “The class was very exciting. I enjoyed learning about making the tippy tap. I will ensure in my compound that I have a few tippy taps so that everyone can learn how to wash hands.”

12 kenya4491 training

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this hand-dug well began on July 28th.

The well site is adjacent to the first of the two sand dams the group has built together. Since the dam has been around for over a year, it has had some time to build up sand, raise the water table, and naturally filter water. Though these two sand dams were huge achievements for the group, they still didn’t have a safe way to draw drinking water. Digging holes along the riverbed yielded water good for watering animals and crops, but not for people! This hand-dug well gives the group and their community an easily-accessible source of clean water.

17 kenya4491 construction

The hand-dug well took one month to complete. It began with excavation, which is the most difficult step. Using pickaxes and shovels, men from the self-help group volunteered their time and strength to dig through hard soil and rock. The women helped bail the dirt and stone using a pulley system. The group dug to an ideal depth of 23 feet.

26 kenya4491 finished well

The artisan then arrived to case the inside of the well with concrete and protected it with a well pad. Once this cured, we could install the new AfriDev pump. We did this with the group members as witness, teaching them how the pump works so they are able to discern when there is a problem with functionality. We also taught them how to make minor repairs. They plan to bottle and sell water for a small fee so that they can pay for this kind of upkeep and maintenance, and have opened a bank account in preparation. Once the adjacent sand dam is fully mature (anticipated to be very soon), water can begin flowing.

28 kenya4491 Veronica and finished well

Each step of construction went smoothly, and the self-help group and community members are very grateful for a new water source. Before this hand-dug well, women would have to walk long distances to find clean water. Women like Veronica, who you were introduced to in the “Read About the Community” section, will be relieved of a huge burden. You can see her standing proudly in front of her well in the picture above. It is amazing to see how there is now a well and pump where Veronica used to dig scoop holes in the riverbed. Kamene Kiatine, one of Veronica’s neighbors, said “We have an additional water source that will help save the problem of having to walk over one to two kilometers to fetch clean water. With clean water, we will also have clean homes and clean children.”

Thank You for giving clean water to Veronica, Kamene, and the rest of their community, along with the knowledge of how to use it best.

The Water Project : 29-kenya4491-veronica-and-finished-well

07/29/2016: Wikwatyo wa Mutula New Well Project Underway

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

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

The Water Project : 8-kenya4491-current-source

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Machakos, Kilala
ProjectID: 4491
Install Date:  09/27/2016

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

Visit History:
06/04/2017 — Functional
09/14/2017 — Needs Repair
12/21/2017 — Functional

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.

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.

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.