Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2016

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 06/22/2024

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

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 Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Nzung'u Community

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Nzung'u, Kenya.

We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point,

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

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: 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.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Nzung'u Community 1B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzung'u Community 1B 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 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.

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 Nzung'u Community 1B 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 Nzung'u Community 1B – 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.


Project Sponsor - As-Siddiq Muslim Organization