Kwa Mutunga New Well Project

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude -2.08
Longitude 37.73

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

The Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group is located in Ngomano, Makueni County. Their community is located in one of the driest parts of the county, on land that was initially used for a ranch. Because of a rapidly changing climate, their water sources have since dried up. Food shortage and water scarcity here has affected thousands of households. They haven’t seen rain in the last years, further burdening the already poor communities whose income is solely dependent on farming and livestock.

Because of these dire circumstances, the people of Maukeni County have been the recipients of many different water projects from different organizations. However, many of these projects now sit unused. Boreholes have dried up, and pumps have sat unrepaired. Three boreholes were drilled, but only one works now and then. Unfortunately, the well that functions is the one farthest away from community members. Thus, it still takes many women and children an average of four to five hours each day to fetch enough water for their families.

This area is home to 800 people, and we estimate that 500 people will benefit from this new water source. (Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation

People in this area have one borehole, some unprotected wells, and groundwater for their water sources. The population here is large and expansive. Since such a large population relies on only a few water points, the lines to fetch water are extremely long. Moreover, water from the existing wells is sold at an average of five shillings per container. Many farmers here cannot afford that price to water their large amount of cattle, and sometimes the goats go for days without water. This leads to huge economic losses for farmers. Children go for days without being able to take a bath. Their school uniforms are filthy.

A majority of families will choose to fetch their water from the riverbed, where it’s free. Different scoop holes will be dug according to use. Some are set aside for cattle, and the others for human consumption. People here don’t care much about having good quality water for their animals or household use, but make sure to reserve the cleanest-looking water for drinking.

Once delivered home, water is also kept in separate containers based on use. Drinking water is stored in covered clay pots up off the ground, and water for cleaning and for animals is kept on the ground in plastic jerrycans.

We met Rhoda Wambua, a mother and a farmer who has suffered from these conditions. Her picture can be seen under the “See Photos & Video” tab. She told us, “We have suffered because of lack of clean drinking water. We are drinking water which is colored and smelly, and many are afraid of getting sick from continued use of such water.”

Sanitation Situation

This is the second year we’ve worked with the Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group, so they’ve had time to implement improvements. Every single household here has a pit latrine, and almost every family has a room dedicated for personal hygiene. More than half of homes have hand-washing stations either outside of the latrine or kitchen.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

The group will meet for two days to review what they’ve learned about hygiene and sanitation. After visiting many of their homes in person, we decided to focus on hand-washing with them again. Last year during training, the group made an action plan that included the construction of hand-washing stations. The group cannot reach that goal until every single home has a place to wash hands.

Plans: New Well

We will work with the Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group for four more years to achieve their goal of building six new water points. This hand-dug well will be their second, and is being constructed adjacent to their second sand dam (click here to see the sand dam project). The construction process will begin with group members gathering the needed materials, such as sand, stones, and water. They will also help the artisan excavate the hole for the well. Then, the well pad will be casted and the new AfriDev pump installed.

One of the reasons so many of the boreholes in this area failed is because there was no strong management in place. When a well broke down, nobody felt responsible to fix it. One of our goals with this self-help group is to raise up a strong water user committee that will oversee and maintain this new hand-dug well. Whenever there’s an issue, the committee will have the skills to deal with it. If a repair is out of their hands, they will have our contact information to trigger a visit from one of our mechanics.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

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

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Kwa Mutunga 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 : 4471-yar-2

03/28/2017: Kwa Mutunga Project Complete

Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group finally has clean, safe water in their community, thanks to your support! 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. 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: Reviewing Important Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at a group member’s homestead. We worked with these farmers to schedule the best time and place to ensure their full participation. This was especially important since a short rainy season was quickly approaching, making it a critical time for farming activities. Because of these preparations, the sessions were well attended. Some members even came with writing pads to take notes!

5 kenya4471 training

The main topics we covered were:

– How to prevent the spread of germs

– Common diseases and germ routes

– Water hygiene: types of treatment

– Using the latrine

– Proper waste disposal

– Building sanitation facilities (dish racks and clotheslines)

– Hand-washing and how to build a hand-washing station

3 kenya4471 training

The trainers used lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, and presentations to teach the above topics and many more! The sessions were successful; the self-help group developed an action plan that will be used to implement everything they learned. Latrines, dish racks, clotheslines, compost pits, and hand-washing stations will all be built. The self-help group has also selected members to form a committee that will oversee the project’s management and maintenance.

Mr. Jonathan Kioko was one of the grateful farmers who learned a lot during these sessions. He told us, “We have learnt that without clean water, we will always be sick. It is important to treat all our drinking water before taking it. I now understand that clear water may not necessarily be clean water.”

2 kenya4471 training

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this well began in 2016, but encountered challenges throughout the entire year.

11 kenya4494 construction

Construction took longer than was initially planned because the first hole that the community excavated was filled with water and debris during December’s rains. This forced the group members to abandon their initial site and start over again at a new site. Excavation of the second site began on the 7th of March. When they hit seven feet, they encountered hard rock, and at that point, excavation stopped with not other choice but to case and develop the well. The pump was then installed on March 15th.

14 kenya4494 finished well

The well was lined with bricks and concrete, covered with a concrete well pad, and finished with an AfriDev pump. It is seven feet deep, and will receive water as the sand dam matures by collecting rain. The sand dam will provide community members with water for agriculture, and the hand-dug well will begin to supply families with clean drinking water!

The Water Project : 22-kenya4494-finished-well

01/20/2017: Kwa Mutunga Patiently Waiting

Last week we touched base with our staff in Kenya to hear the latest on Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group’s well:

Floodwater still stubbornly covers most of the hand-dug well system that group members excavated, and these waters have become thick with mud. This being the case, our staff suggested a new site for the well, asking locals to regroup and help them excavate a new hole. Unfortunately, this was met with resistance. Group members view this as double the work, and insist that they should wait until their first attempt is accessible. According to one local, “it would be easier to scoop mud and debris from the original hole than start afresh.” This is a matter of safety, though, and we will not be sending someone into that well until the waters have receded.

Our partner is still certain that this hand-dug well will be finished, but is only uncertain of when. We will continue to keep you posted on all of the details!

The Water Project : 13-kenya4471-finished-sand-dam

12/19/2016: Challenges for Kwa Mutunga's New Well

It has been extremely rainy in Makueni as of late! Group members had finished excavating the well and were in the process of building its lining. Unfortunately, torrential downpours arrived before they could finish their task. The entire construction site has been covered with water! The well will be completed once water subsides. Because of these unknowns, we’ve moved the completion date to the end of February (We’re sure it will be finished long before then!). We will notify you as soon as we hear of further developments.

Thank You for thinking of the Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group, and for standing with them as they meet this challenge.

The Water Project : 9-kenya4471-water-containers

10/27/2016: Kwa Mutunga New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Kwa Mutunga 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-kenya4471-water-containers

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Makueni, Ngomano
ProjectID: 4494
Install Date:  03/28/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 04/16/2018

Visit History:
06/04/2017 — Functional
09/06/2017 — Needs Repair
12/21/2017 — Functional
04/16/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Kwa Mutunga Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

My personal hygiene has improved and waterborne diseases like amoeba and typhoid have decreased since we drink treated water after the training my parents received. I have known how to store our drinking water and treat it before drinking. My school performance has increased because I don’t waste a lot of time going to fetch water.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Kwa Mutunga 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 here used to have to travel to Kikuu River which is four hours one way. Now, people living in this area have their own hand-dug well that draws other people living as far as three kilometers away. The water is safe for drinking, which has particularly benefitted livestock – There used to be so little water available that livestock would die during the dry seasons.

People were trained on how to take care of their drinking water and since then, they have been seeing minimal cases of waterborne diseases. The project has now been supplying them with water throughout the year so that children are cleaner and the environment is greener.

Though there is a hand-dug well, people still use scoop holes in the riverbed to get water for cleaning and watering livestock.

We met self-help group member Scholastica Kyalo, who told us “The water from the well is soft, and cooking our traditional meal Githeri has been easy. We also cook for our children early enough for them to find food at home from school. This wasn’t the case before the project. They would sleep in late because of our late cooking… The water is safe for drinking, and the children carry drinking water to school… The environment has also changed, and we hope to see it changing the next few years. ”

Field Officer Mutheu Mutune with Mrs. Kyalo.

Mrs. Kyalo’s daughter, Ndungwa Kyalo, had similar things to say. “Before, washing my clothes was a nightmare because water from Kikuu River was very salty and the distance to water source has decreased compared to before when we could walk for long distances in search of water. I have been using this water to bathe and wash my clothes. My personal hygiene has improved and waterborne diseases like amoeba and typhoid have decreased since we drink treated water after the training my parents received. I have known how to store our drinking water and treat it before drinking. 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 homework. I use the water from the sand dam to water my vegetables such as onions, kales, and tomatoes which are very good.”

Interviews were held at the water point.

Our visit proved extremely valuable as we learned that this hand-dug well dries up on occasion. Water is still available in holes dug right by the sand dam but because of severe drought at the turn of the year, even those dried up for a few months. Ndungwa reports that without water at Kwa Mutunga’s sand dam, people either buy bottled water or make the long trip to Kikuu River. However, Mrs. Kyalo noted their young sand dam will continue to mature through more rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water which will make the environment greener and lives healthier. We will continue to work with this community to ensure clean drinking water in the future.

Most of our other southeastern Kenya projects are like this too; they are young 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.