Location: Kenya

Regional Program:
Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

500 Served

Project Phase:

Functionality Status:

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Stories and Community Profile

Back in 1987 when the Kumina Wauni Self-Help Group (SHG) was formed, life was relatively easy. Farmers experienced huge harvests! But in the late 1990s, water in all the main rivers began to dry up, and rainy seasons passed by with no rain. The closest river became Athi, which is more than a 12-kilometer journey. Half the day became fetching water, and there was never enough for fertile farms. Drinking this water also resulted in water-related diseases, and some group members even died.

Kumina Wauni means “to finish thirst.” They joined together with us to fight water scarcity by building sand dams on the riverbeds that used to flow with water.

The group has been successful in building some nearby sand dams, which make water accessible by digging holes in the riverbed. However, these holes are open to contamination and are not safe for human consumption.

Water Situation

As rains failed and the rivers dried up, agriculture could no longer support farmers and their families. The community started relying on relief food which was unfairly distributed to families. That’s when the overlooked families decided to take things into their own hands, uniting and mobilizing to address water and food insecurity.

Kumina Wauni SHG was thus formed, pledging to bring water back to the dry riverbeds through sand dam technology. As more sand dams are being built, these farmers once again have enough water for their crops. Now, holes are dug in the riverbed by the dam to fetch water for farming, cleaning, and drinking. All who drink this water are continuously subjecting themselves to waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera. They are still in need of clean water from a protected source. They can’t find that from an open hole in the ground, but that’s just what a hand-dug well with a pump will provide!

Sanitation Situation

Not only is the water consumed by Kumina Wauni members and their families dirty, but so are many homes, facilities, and belongings. Even the water containers are neglected, with green algae growing on the bottom and sides.

We’ve been working with this group since 2011, though, and have seen great improvements in latrine use. Open defecation is no longer an issue, with 100% of families having their own pit latrine. Most also have their own bathing room for personal hygiene.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

Our staff has had a continuous relationship with Kumina Wauni. After assessing the current strengths and weaknesses of sanitation facilities and hygiene practices of this community, trainers have decided to focus on the daily habits that are not yet embraced: hand-washing, cleaning utensils, and using helpful tools like dish rack and clotheslines. Only about half of the community had built dish racks and clotheslines to dry their belongings up off the ground. Our trainers will continue to teach the importance of each practice; they’re not just trivial suggestions! There are germ-filled consequences to drying shirts and dishes on the ground.

This training will also be a great opportunity to encourage them about what they’re doing right, such as using latrines and composting garbage.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This project presents a new technology to the SHG. Our artisans will remain on the site to coach local men and women through construction of their own well, which will be lined with concrete and finished with a new AfriDev pump. This will be located next to the group’s first sand dam, which is fully mature with enough water to be safely accessed through a pump.

72-year-old farmer Rebecca Katuvee is motivated by the improvements that came with the sand dams. She told us, “Our work has borne fruits. We were the first community to have sand dams in the area. They have changed our lives! However, we still do not have enough clean water. The shallow well will be used to reduce clean water scarcity.”

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

02/13/2017: Kumina Wauni Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Kumina Wauni 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: Reviewing Important Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation review was held at one of the group members’ homes, with all 28 members in attendance.

1 kenya4499 training

The focus of review rested on the spread of disease and how to block these routes of contamination. Helpful tools like dish racks, clotheslines, and compost pits were highlighted as necessary in a healthy community. We discussed what 100% coverage of these hygiene structures look like, and will monitor for this when we return.

3 kenya4499 training

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

Construction for Kuminao Wauni’s first hand-dug well began in November.

Group members collected sand, stones and water for construction. Excavation began on a site adjacent to the group’s first sand dam. Local men were equipped with pickaxes and shovels to dig to a total depth of 15 feet and diameter of eight feet. The artisan helped them line with the inside with bricks and concrete, and then casted the well pad to protect the water inside. Once this well pad dried, staff invited locals to watch as he installed the new AfriDev pump.

12 kenya4499 construction

Constant rain affected the process. When the weather was poor, group members preferred to work on their farms over excavating the well. Nobody wants to be in a hole when it rains!

Since the Kumina Wauni SHG has a hand-dug well now, they have been encouraged to start bottling and selling water to raise funds for pump maintenance. The adjacent sand dam is considered fully mature, and has more than enough water to supply and recharge a hand-dug well. Even if locals don’t use the well to earn money, they will have a supply of safe, clean water for themselves and their families.

The Water Project : 15-kenya4499-construction

01/20/2017: Kumina Waoni Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Kumina Waoni 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 : 23-kenya4499-fetching-water

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Makueni, Kinzuu
ProjectID: 4499
Install Date:  02/13/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional - New Project


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.