Kithuani New Well Project

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude -1.58
Longitude 37.46

342 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

This area is high in the Mbooni Hills, well-known for its production of vegetables. However, the hilly and rocky terrain is a disadvantage to farmers who rely on farming as their main source of income. The Kithuani Self-Help Group was formed in 2014 with the purpose of supporting farmers and their family in the community. The group started with a total membership of 24 farmers. They had the following reasons for group formation:

– Provide a financial support system for farmers.

– Address the water problem: From July to September, this area suffers a severe water shortage. The group aims to build sand dams to solve this issue.

– Conserve the environment: The farmers work together to build terraces and plant more trees to prevent soil erosion.

As the group realized all the work to be done in their area, they requested the help of ASDF. Kithuani Self-Help Group is now in their second year of partnership, and has already completed one sand dam and hand-dug well in the area.

The Mbooni Hills area has a total population of 342, all of who are expected to benefit from a new sand dam.

Water Situation

Water has been a perennial challenge for this community. Before the Kithuani Self-Help Group built their first sand dam, it took at least one hour to walk to the nearest water source. Once there, long lines delayed children and women longer. Since then, the group has received support in building their first sand dam. This greatly reduced pressure at the water source, but more work still needs to be done. The first sand dam is still over one kilometer from some of the villagers, and so a water source is planned further along the river. This second sand dam will bring water close to that other part of the community. It will also alleviate the huge strain observed at the first sand dam.

A hand-dug well was also constructed adjacent to the first sand dam, giving people a simple and safe way to access water. Women are primarily responsible for fetching water. They carry 20-liter jerrycans either transported on a donkey or on their own backs. Once delivered home, water is dumped into larger 100 to 300-liter storage containers. The farther away from that first sand dam, the larger storage containers a household will have. This reduces the number of inconvenient trips the woman makes. However near or far a home is from the sand dam, fetching water takes too long. The sand dam and its hand-dug well are overused. It even attracts entrepreneurs from the local market who bottle water to sell.

Sanitation Situation

Since the community attended training last year, every single home in this area has a pit latrine. Though some of them are old, they are well-dug to an average depth of eight feet. The average number of people using each latrine is only six, so no pits are full yet. They all appeared to be very clean. Almost all of these homes also had a hand-washing station near the latrine. Around half of these families have dish racks and clotheslines to safely dry their things off the ground.

Homes here have two places for garbage. There is a disposal located in the home that is regularly emptied and separated between the rubbish pit and compost pit located out back. These compost pits help farmers on their farms, while the rubbish pit takes all non-biodegradable things.

We saw Peninah Nzome again, a mother who lives far from the current water source. She told us that “the lack of sufficient water sources in the area affects household hygiene. Without water, it is not easy to be healthy. Our houses and even children will not be clean because water is still a problem.” You can see pictures of Peninah fetching water and showing us her home under the “See Photos & Video” tab.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

Our visit proved that the community has been acting on what they learned during hygiene and sanitation training last year. They have made improvements to their latrines and added hand-washing stations. The trainer has noticed the improvements, but also improvements still needed. Based on this information, we will hold one day of review for Kithuani Self-Help Group. Emphasis will be on water treatment and health promotion. Group members learned a lot last year to the benefit of their own households, but they need to share with their neighbors who may not be part of the group.

Plans: New Well

This hand-dug well will be located adjacent to the sand dam being built (click here to see the sand dam project). As the dam builds up sand, it raises the water table. An extensive water table will provide the nourishment things need to grow. The area around the dam will become increasingly green, as more water is available for both plant and human. A hand-dug well will give locals a safe and accessible point for drinking water.

Once the required materials are collected at the site, actual construction can begin. This is projected to take about a month. Local men will help excavate, and then our artisans will arrive to build a well pad and install the new AfriDev pump.

The self-help group will continuously monitor the quantity of water in the well, making sure that there is enough for everyone in the community.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Kithuani Hand-Dug Well

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Kithuani 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 Titus Mbithi and Mutheu Mutune with you.

The Water Project : asdf_kithuani-shg-year-after-10

12/19/2016: Kithuani New Well Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Kithuani 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 has built up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water pumped from that well. The self-help group members have also attended a review 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 the group’s first sand dam. This was a spot where the group would come together for meetings, so it was the best location to get a good turnout. 80% of the self-help group ended up attending, with the other 20% sending notice of either illness or unavoidable obligations.

We taught how to control germs and sickness at the household level. For this topic, the community was sensitized about how germs spread and how to reduce the spread of germs. The community was also trained on how to maintain household hygiene by using dish racks, clotheslines, and compost pits. A focus of training was hand-washing and its importance. The trainer demonstrated how to wash hands, when to wash hands, and how to use soap. We taught participants how to make their own hand-washing station. The group was also trained on water treatment and how to handle water to keep it safe and clean for use.

7 kenya4470 training

By the end of training, the group members had developed their own action plan that will guide them in implementing what they learned. For example, every household should have a latrine and hand-washing stations by a certain date. Mrs. Mutisya Kilundo said, “It was funny to see how people don’t wash hands after the toilet. I think the training will help us adopt good manners that influence our lives.”

The self-help group has also selected members to form a committee that will oversee the project’s management and maintenance.

11 kenya4470 training

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this hand-dug well began on September 14th.

Hand-dug well construction was simultaneous to construction of a sand dam which will provide the water accessed by the well. As the sand dam matures and provides more water, more of that water will be accessible from the well. To see that sand dam project, click here.

4 kenya4493 finished well

Two group members volunteered to spearhead excavation efforts. They dug daily for a total of 17 days, reaching a total depth of 17 feet. Well development, or walling, took two weeks. This step took a lot longer because we were more focused on completing the sand dam. Near the end of the two weeks, it started getting rainy, and so we moved group members back to the walling task to make sure it was finished before the well filled up with rainwater. The well was prepared for a new AfriDev pump by November 7th, when mechanics arrived to install the pump alongside the community. (Editor’s Note: We apologize for a lack of construction pictures; the well was worked on for only a short time each day, so we weren’t able to catch group members and mechanics in action!)

Mobilizing the needed construction materials was also different, especially sand. To harvest sand from any riverbeds in this area of Kenya, you must have a permit. This is because so much sand used to be harvested that rivers would be redirected or suffer irremediable damage. The permit process delayed our project, dealings with the local government taking much longer than usual.

This made the well’s completion all the sweeter. Rebecca Kaloli is a member of Kithuani Self-Help Group who attended training and  helped with construction. “We now have an additional water point which will ensure we have sufficient water throughout the year. We used to spend at least two hours queueing at the old sand dam site. The saved time will be used for farming and improving on our well-being,” she said joyfully.

The Water Project : 2-kenya4493-finished-well

10/27/2016: Kithuani New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Kithuani 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 : 9-kenya4470-water-storage

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Makueni, Ingulyuni, Kithuani
ProjectID: 4493
Install Date:  12/19/2016

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

Visit History:
12/14/2016 — Functional
05/22/2017 — Functional
09/14/2017 — Functional
12/21/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Kithuani Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

I have been using this water to wash utensils, my clothes, cleaning the house and taking bath. The water is usually soft and clean which clears dirt from our clothes and the soap use is low compared to the hard water at the Muuthani River.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Kithuani 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 Titus Mbithi and Mutheu Mutune with you.

People in this area have grown trees for betterment of the environment using water from this well and dam system. The project has supported them with water for domestic use and also for watering their livestock. The community members have started irrigating their farms with this water, and some have planted kales, spinach, maize, yams, arrowroots and sweet potatoes. These kind of crops are highly nutritional, and once sold fetch a good income that is used to improve standards of living.

And thanks to the surplus of water an adjacent sand dam provides, this hand-dug well is able to pump clean, safe water from the catchment area.

Anne Ngei is the chairwoman who oversees this water point’s management and maintenance. She met us there to talk about the developments in her area since water came. “Life after this project has become very good because the distance to water points has decreased to less than a kilometer, and we use our time well. We have been able to run businesses, take care of our farms, and run our errands without stress… we are grateful for the various trainings we have received. They have made me become proactive. My children are picking up after me and they are slowly starting to follow the things that I do, such as treating drinking water, terracing for soil conservation and washing hands after toilet among other things. My granddaughter used to fetch water after school at Kyalai River, four kilometers from here. She’d find long lines and later come home late and this was very risky for her. Currently she only takes less than five minutes to get to the project and gets back to read for her KCSE exams,” she shared.

Anne Ngei and our field officer posing at the well.

13-year-old Diana Mwende added, “I have been using this water to wash utensils, my clothes, cleaning the house and taking bath. The water is usually soft and clean which clears dirt from our clothes and the soap use is low compared to the hard water at the Muuthani River.” Though she also mentioned that “accessing the water in the well after the rains come is usually challenging because the well is covered with water.”

Kithuani Self-Help Group is hardworking, and they have seen the benefits of this hand-dug well and sand dam and are using them to their fullest potential. They’ve been preventing soil erosion by digging terraces and planting cover crops, which also help to hold water in the soil.

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.