Nzung'u Community A

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude -0.76
Longitude 38.12

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

Tei wa Nzung’u Self-Help Group lives in the upper area of southeastern Kenya. This area is regarded as the driest of Kitui County with little to no rainfall. Kitui temperatures range from 14 to 34C (57 to 93F), with July the coldest month and September the hottest.

Because of a lack of rainfall, there are limited water sources. There are seasonal rivers that form after a bout of rain, but quickly dry up after. The Athi River and Tana River are the only main rivers in the entire county, and form the borders for that area.

There are cultural practices that persist rather than progress; women are still not allowed to make decisions without the approval of men here. Tei wa Nzung’u Self-Help Group was formed with the goals of not only addressing water scarcity in the community, but of countering this retrogressive structure. Most of the members of the group are women who rely on farming as their main source of income.

This area has a huge population of 880 people from dozens of different households. (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.  That’s why it’s so great that this community has agreed to a five year plan to build more sand dams and hand-dug wells. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation

The Kamuwongo River is the seasonal source closest to this community. There is also an unprotected spring. Still, these sources are quite a distance away, forcing women and children to spend an average of four to six hours a day fetching water. There isn’t a safe water access point at the river either, so scoop holes are dug along the river channel to get to hit the water table underneath.

20-liter jerrycans are used for fetching water, and are carried back home. Once home, water is dumped into a larger, 200 to 400-liter plastic container for storage.

A lot of time is wasted on water, making the community sacrifice many income-generating activities.

Sanitation Situation

A little more than half of homes in this area have a pit latrine. They are both shallow and poorly constructed. We met one of the women from the self-help group, Priscah Muteti. She said, “Having a good toilet is a luxury many cannot afford. Many still use the bush to relieve themselves. We are now learning that will increase diseases among the population.” You can see Priscah Muteti and her household under the “See Photos & Video” tab below.

We couldn’t find any helpful hygiene and sanitation tools like dish racks, clotheslines, or hand-washing stations. Garbage is sorted between biodegradable and not, so that compost can be fed to animals and fertilize farms. Excess non-biodegradable is often burned.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

To address the concerns above, hygiene and sanitation training will be offered to self-help group members on two consecutive days. Once the members have learned about useful practices and tools to improve health, they will be able to share with their families and neighbors. Since open defecation is an issue, an emphasis will be placed on latrine construction and use.

Training participants will also form a committee that is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new water system.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This hand-dug well will be installed adjacent to the sand dam being constructed (click here to view that sand dam project). This location will ensure that the well always has a sufficient amount of water. As the sand dam matures and builds up sand, the water table will rise and the sand will naturally filter that water. The hand-dug well will give locals a safe and convenient method to access drinking water.

Well construction is expected to take one month after materials are delivered to the site. Group members will excavate the hole, and then the inside will be lined with concrete. Finally, a new AfriDev pump will be installed.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2016: Tei wa Nzung'u New Well Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Tei wa Nzung’u 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 in a group member’s compound central to all the others. By consulting early with the self-help group’s committee, we were able to set a good training date to ensure a high turnout. The group was already meeting every Friday, so we decided to start on Thursday and wrap things up Friday.

Training was well-attended, with at least three quarters of the members. We expected to miss some of the farmers who preferred to stay on their farms during the rain.

4 kenya4473 training

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.

8 kenya4473 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. The self-help group has also selected members to form a committee that will oversee the project’s management and maintenance.

Mrs. Mwende Mwinzi said that “this training was timely. Now that we have so much water, we want to educate others on how to use it and ensure it’s always clean.”

1 kenya4473 training

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

Construction for this hand-dug well began on October 17th.

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.

Since the sand dam was also a huge undertaking, the community chose a few strong people to focus on this well. This group began digging the hole, but reached hard rock partway through the process. They realized they couldn’t dig any deeper, and were discouraged after all of their hard work. The self-help group’s committee conferred and decided to find different men to start digging in a different location. The new location was successful, and the men were able to dig to a total depth of 18 feet. This depth will ensure that the hand-dug well benefits from water the sand dam collects.

5 kenya4496 construction

The men then worked with our artisan to wall the well with a mixture of concrete, which took about 15 days. Once the well was lined and covered with a well pad, our mechanics arrived to install the new AfriDev pump. This was all completed by the beginning of November.

11 kenya4496 finished well

Mrs. Kathina Mutati is a farmer and group member who attended training and put hard work into this project. She said, “We have seen a previous shallow well provide water for longer periods than any other source. This shallow well will provide even more water to many residents of the community. We will no longer make long queues at the water points!” She and the rest of her community are extremely grateful that you have brought a great supply of clean drinking water to their area. Time will be saved, and most importantly, lives will be saved.

The Water Project : 9-kenya4496-finished-well

10/17/2016: Tei wa Nzung'u New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Tei wa Nzung’u Self-Help Group and their community in Kenya is underway. A new well is being constructed and the community will attend 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 : 3-kenya4473-priscahs-home

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Kitui, Waita, Tei wa Nuzung'u
ProjectID: 4496
Install Date:  12/20/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/20/2017

Visit History:
06/12/2017 — Functional
09/06/2017 — Functional
12/20/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Nzung'u Hand-Dug Well

December, 2017

This well provides us with clean drinking water all year round. Distance to the water point has been reduced, saving us more time for household activities.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Tei wa Nzung’u 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 with you.

Tei wa Nzung’u group members are very happy because the distance to water has been reduced to less than a kilometer after completion of their first hand-dug well and sand dam system. Just next to this water system, there are healthy and leafy kales and spinach growing. These act as the group’s source of income, for whatever they don’t eat themselves they sell in the local market.

Thanks to the surplus of water the sand dam provides, this hand-dug well is able to pump clean, safe water from the catchment area. With clean water nearby, waterborne diseases are history. The group members are even fetching extra clean water from the well to sell.

Mrs. Mwendwa pumping water for Mrs. Muthini.

Kasyoka Mwendwa is the chairwoman in charge of this sand dam and its adjacent hand-dug well. She met us there to discuss the changes her group has witnessed since last year. “Initially, we used to get water from a river which is three kilometers away. We used to line up for long hours but currently, we only take 30 minutes. We now use the time saved to do constructive work like tending to vegetables. Watering our livestock is no longer a problem, and our cattle survive the dry season unlike before when water was a big problem… Last but not least, we now have safe drinking water and the issue of amoeba, typhoid, and other waterborne diseases have disappeared,” she shared.

Mrs. Mwikali Muthini

Mwikali Muthini agreed, saying “This well provides us with clean drinking water all year round. Distance to the water point has been reduced, saving us more time for household activities.”

The one issue we heard about is how wild animals and livestock are not kept far enough away from the well. Community members have been leading their donkeys up to the well because donkeys are used to carry full containers of water. Dirty animals like donkeys should not be allowed to wait right by the well – These animals are endangering the cleanliness of drinking water. This makes us so grateful for our five-year program that gives us the opportunity to continue training the community.

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.


Project Sponsor - As-Siddiq Muslim Organization

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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.