Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/11/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI) of Kenya. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

Chepkemel Beek Women's Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2011 and registered as a group in 2012. These women live in Chepkemel Village, while the word 'Beek' is a Nandi word referring to water. These women came together wanting to alleviate their daily struggle with water scarcity.

The group is now made up of 14 women.

At some point, the group lost hope in finding clean water and focused instead on what they could tackle. The group started table banking, poultry farming, and leasing chairs and a tent to people having ceremonies like funerals and weddings. These activities currently act as a decent source of income for these women.

The women are currently developing their poultry farming by building hen houses on each of their homesteads. By March of this year, five of the 14 had finished their coops.

These women's roles are quite different from the men. Women are expected to care for the children, feed and milk any livestock, prepare meals, collect firewood, clean, fetch water, among many others chores. Men have to ensure the home is well protected, land is cultivated, and school fees are taken care of. As of now, most men are tending to maize. Some of that maize feeds the family, while the rest is sold in local markets. When children reach age 13, they're expected to act like adults and help with the adult chores.

Water Situation

These women are bold and ambitious. Back in 2012, they worked with a former partner of The Water Project to drill a well in Chepkemel. After the drillers left, we agreed to monitor the well and make sure it continued serving these women and their entire community. But over just a few visits we saw a steady decline in the amount of water this well could produce, and soon there was none. Taking off the pump and looking inside shows that this well was not installed properly in the first place - it was full of earth. This discovery is what led the women's group to focus on other things.

Both humans and animals in this community have had it rough during this time of prolonged drought. We had to walk close to three kilometers to the water source on which the entire community depends. When we finally arrived, my body was exhausted, and my mind was blown by what I saw at the source.

Given that this is the only source within walking distance radius, both humans and animals come here to sate their thirst. Women carrying water containers were busy fetching the dirty water to bring back home while the cattle came at their own slow pace to drink water from the same source. The cattle defecated and urinated in the same source, but the women have no other option.

The water from the source is turbid and filled with animal dung and urine together with every kind of contamination. The water flows by extremely slowly since its level has also decreased due to the long drought. If the situations continues as it is, my worry is the source may dry up completely and the community may not have clean OR dirty water.

Sanitation Situation

Most families in Chepkemel own and use pit latrines, but they do not practice hand-washing after visiting the toilet. For the few households that have installed hand-washing stations, there is no cleaning agent like soap or ash. Mrs. Edna Cherugut told us, "Most people in our village suffer from typhoid disease. Due to lack of access to safe drinking water, typhoid cases are high in the community. Most people do not have hand-washing stations since accessing water for domestic use is a burden in itself; women in the community would rather give priority searching for drinking water than water for hand-washing."

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Hygiene and sanitation training will be held with community members for three days.

We will cover the topics below and many more:

– Proper hand-washing

– Water-handling and storage

– Food preparation and storage

– Water treatment methods

– Preventing waterborne diseases (specifically diarrhea and typhoid)

– Developing positive attitudes about hygiene and sanitation

Our trainers will use posters that illustrate both good and bad hygiene practices. Group discussions, role plays, and demonstrations will keep everyone involved with the important information they're learning.

On the third day of training, we will focus on strengthening a water user committee to properly manage and maintain the new well. The committee will draft rules for proper behavior around the water point and will also ensure that community members contribute a fee to be saved for any future repairs. If they encounter any problems, they are to contact the SAWASHI head office. And in the meantime, we will continue to visit Chepkemel Community and their new well.

Plans: New Borehole

This borehole is an exciting opportunity for The Water Project and its partners. We have been undertaking a rigorous vetting of drillers to find the best team and drill rig. We have also received a shipment of LifePumps, a newly developed stainless steel pump for deep borehole wells. This pump has less moving parts, so we envision easier maintenance and more uptime.

Chepkemel Community has already set aside a piece of public land that is central to all. The women's group is excited about all of the opportunities having clean water nearby will unlock. They're already planning a community greenhouse!

Project Updates

March, 2018: Chepkemel Community Project Complete

Chepkemel Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new borehole has been drilled! Community members have also attended hygiene and sanitation training, 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 hundreds of other projects.

Project Result: New Knowledge

We worked with the chairwoman of Chepkemel Beek Self-Help Group to plan a hygiene and sanitation training for her group members and the greater community. There was a total of 12 participants who gathered under the shade of a tree, and we were happy to see that all self-help group ladies were in attendance. We were especially grateful for the shade on such a hot day, but the wind often blew our papers and charts around so we'd have to chase them. Men didn't make it to the training; they were out with their livestock trying to find pasture, which was particularly difficult because of the dry spell.

We spoke about water and food hygiene, personal hygiene, and the proper disposal of waste. We challenged the notion that clear water is clean water, and taught how to ensure that water is clean from source to mouth.

We really engaged the women on care of their new borehole. While we'll be there to repair any issues with the pump, the women need to use the pump properly and enforce rules for the well area.

Millicent Toroitich said, "This training has been of good help, especially for us women. We have learned so many hygiene practices that we never knew before, and that was the cause of sickness in our everyday lives. This training will not only improve our lives, but it will bring a huge health impact to this community. We will ensure that we have implemented these practices in our households and insisted that our family members follow them to the letter. At least now, people won't be falling ill regularly because of poor hygiene. I am very happy with this training. From today onward, the people of this community are going to experience less problems..."

Project Result: New Well

The drill team was at the site for two days, staying overnight in a tent they set up near the rig. As the rig progressed, the team drove down temporary casing to keep the borehole from collapsing. They first met sand and then light clay, which is a good sign for water quality and quantity.

All the while, community members frequented the drill site to supervise progress. Some even brought plastic chairs and benches so they could stay a while!

The drill team taking some time to connect with community members.

They hit water but continued drilling to 100 meters. The static water level is a constant 8.1 meters, and the well has a yield of 48.1 liters per minute.

With this great success, our mechanical team followed up with the construction of an eight-meter well pad. After it dried, they installed the new stainless steel AfriDev pump.

Upon seeing clean water flowing from the pump, the Beek women organized for a ceremony for community members and leaders to meet and celebrate. They sang songs and talked about the kind of changes this water would mean for them, their families, and greater community.

Besides serving community members, this borehole will also help children attending a nearby primary school of about 600 students.

The women believe that this borehole is the first step of many, that it is part of their plans to transform the economic and social wellbeing of Chepkemel families.

3/5/2018 - We received water quality test results from the government lab, and this borehole is yielding safe, clean water!

January, 2018: Chepkemel Community Borehole Project Underway

Chepkemel Community will soon have a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your donation. A new well is being drilled and people will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the difference these resources will make for this community!

We just posted an initial report from our partner in the field including information about the village, maps, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work progresses.

Project Photos

Project Type

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!


Project Sponsor - The Matthew Martin Family
1 individual donor(s)