Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

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

Mbindi Self-Help Group was formed in 2015, consisting of 27 households from Mbindi Village. The primary concern of the group is social well-being. Recently, they pooled resources to establish merry-go-rounds (loans that go out to a different household each month). A united attempt to plant trees for livelihood failed due to water scarcity, resulting in trees not bearing fruits. Since the group’s establishment, there have also been successes: Construction of two sand dam systems has resulted in positive economic stability for many community members. Prior to the construction of these projects, natural springs served as the primary water source. The construction of sand dams and hand-dug wells has made water readily available and reduced the average time to fetch water for many locals.

Water Sanitation

Despite the sand dams and hand-dug wells, the large community population means clean water is not universally accessible. Mbindi Community consists of 800 individuals spread out over many miles. (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.) For those living far away from the sand dams, traveling to them and fetching water from them can take an entire day.

Surface water and unprotected spring water are the primary sources of water for those who struggle with this trip. Despite the existence of two sand dams, the distribution of clean water within the community is unequal, with those living close to the sand damn getting better access compared to those living farther away. This results in higher prevalence of waterborne disease amongst the population that live far from the dams.

The containers used for fetching water are cleaned only sporadically, resulting in algae development. The collected water is stored either in these same jerrycans, or emptied into larger plastic drums and tanks when delivered home. These conditions were observed both in those collecting water at the sand dam and those relying on dirty water farther away.

Sanitation and Hygiene Situation

The government has done a remarkable job in advocating for and maintaining the importance of sanitation and hygiene within the community. All community members have access to at least a basic pit latrine. While they are in relatively stable condition, the geographical terrain makes shallow latrine depth an issue.

In addition to latrines, all homes have clean bathing spaces. The majority of the community population disposes of their garbage in pits, which often double as compost pits. Overall, the community members have a positive attitude towards sanitation and hygiene, which has been a major component in preventing people from getting hygiene-related diseases.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training Review

Self-help group members will be trained for two days on hygiene and sanitation. Based on our initial survey of the area, the facilitator has decided to focus on water treatment and storage.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

The community will provide local resources – i.e. sand, stones and water – delivering them to the site for hand-dug well construction. They will also assist in manual labor. We will equip locals with tools to help us excavate the well. When they reach our recommended depth, our artisan will arrive to line the inside and cover it all with a well pad. Our mechanics will install a new AfriDev pump once the well pad has sufficiently cured.

The well will be located adjacent to the sand dam currently being built (click here to see that project). This sand dam has a large catchment area that will provide for more water storage, while the adjacent hand-dug well will give locals safe access to clean drinking water. Thanks to this new hand-dug well, a greater number of households will be able to get enough water for farming as well as clean water for drinking.

Project Updates

August, 2018: A Year Later: Mbindi Community Well

A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well and sand dam for the Mbindi Self-Help Group in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

November, 2017: Mbdini Community Has Clean Water!

We're reaching out to let you know that the hand-dug well you funded is now providing clean water to the community! As the adjacent sand dam receives more rain and continues to mature, the water level at this well will improve even more.

Thank You for making this transformation possible!

June, 2017: Mbindi Community Well Complete

Mbindi Community has a new source of clean, safe water thanks to your support! A new hand-dug well has been constructed adjacent to a sand dam, which is building up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. The self-help group members have also agreed on dates to attend a review training on 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: Hygiene and Sanitation Plans

Though community members attended an intensive training last year, they agreed to review important hygiene and sanitation training for two more days. The trainer and community worked together to agree on the best dates for these review sessions, deciding that later would be best. Last year’s training is still fresh in their minds.

13 kenya4757 training

Participants held up handouts illustrating good and bad hygiene practices, and talked about the differences.

As for the training last year, the main topics 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

11 kenya4757 training

A woman demonstrated that she remembered all the proper steps of hand-washing!

The above topics are what we plan to review with the community later this year. The trainer plans to visit Mbindi after the review to assess the success of training, and of whether or not dish racks, clotheslines, and hand-washing stations have been built at all households.

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

The self-help community members excavated the hole and collected all of the local materials required for successful completion of the project. They also provided unskilled labour when actual construction work started.

18 kenya4757 construction

A hole seven feet in diameter is excavated up to a recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells don’t reach that depth due to the existence of hard rocks between 10-18 ft.). The diameter then shrinks to five feet when construction of the hand-dug well lining is completed. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through.

1 kenya4777 well construction

There are lots of large rocks to get around when excavating a hand-dug well!

Once the construction of the lining reaches ground level, a precast concrete slab is laid on top and joined to the wall using mortar. Four bolts for the hand-pump are fixed on the slab during casting. The well is then given a few days after installing the pump, allowing the joints to completely dry. Communities are advised to pump out the first water that seeps into the well because it often has a foul smell and a bad taste. After pumping for a while, the water becomes clear.

9 kenya4777 finished well

The raised platform allows for sand to collect around the well.

This hand-dug well was built simultaneously with its adjacent sand dam (to see the sand dam, click here). The sand dam will collect sand that stores and filters huge amounts of water, water that will then be accessed through the pump. The well platform appears to be raised above the ground in anticipation of the sand that will build up around it during the coming rainy seasons.

Farmer Beth Richard said, "I am very happy for the new water source that we now have. We will use the water for drinking, cooking, and other domestic chores..."

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.