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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 84 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Community Profile & Stories

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

Mwanyani Self-Help Group is located in Ilinge Village of Machakos County, Kenya. It was formed in the year 2016 and now has a membership of 84 people: 36 males, 52 females. “Mwanyani” means space, because it’s located in a space between hills.

The average family size in this area is seven, while the average age of group members is 45. 37% of the members say that their main source of income is casual labour (possibly working on others’ farms), while 33% are those farmers who rely on their produce as income. 17% said that they rely on a given salary at the end of the month thanks to a steady job, while the remaining 8% run small businesses. There is a small portion of people who rely on the trading and selling of livestock.

Water Situation

The main source of water for people in this area is the river. At first look the river appears dry, but community members know that if they dig a hole in the sand, they’ll hit water. These holes are muddied by the surrounding sand, and are open to contaminate from many other sources. The water in the riverbed is especially dangerous during and after heavy rains. Feces, chemicals from local farms, and other waste is washed into the water. These scoop holes are also unguarded and open to wandering animals that need a drink (or a bath!).

Women carry a plastic jerrycan and a smaller container to the river, using one to fill the other. Tying a strip of cloth around the jerrycan handle, women use their forehead to support the heavy weight of dirty water all the way home. Once home, it is emptied into larger storage containers anywhere between 200 and 1500 liters. These are typically found outside the front door and in the kitchen. A covered container of water is left in the living room for any thirsty guests who visit.

The water collected from the river is used for drinking, cooking, irrigating farms, and cleaning. After drinking, community members suffer from waterborne diseases.

Sanitation Situation

All of the families living around the river have their own latrine. Some are in great condition, while others need to be rebuilt.

A few homes have hand-washing stations, and most have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. After speaking with some of the women in charge of their households’ hygiene and sanitation, we learned that everyone here wishes to improve both their personal and environmental hygiene. They said that this would be possible only if water was brought closer to their homes!

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices in Ilinge Community, training will be offered to self-help group members on two consecutive days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and then will be able to share those with their families and neighbors. Water transport, storage, and treatment methods will be taught, and hand-washing will be a focus. Group members will learn how to make their own hand-washing stations with everyday materials. When implemented, these training topics ensure that water and food remain safe until consumed, and that each person and their environment is kept clean for the greatest possible impact.

Participants will also form a water user committee that manages and oversees the new water points implemented over the next few years.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This hand-dug well will be one of many construction projects to come in the next few years. We will spend a total of five years unified with this community to address their clean water shortage. More sand dams will be built to transform the environment. As the sand dams mature and build up more sand, the water table will rise. To safely access this water, hand-dug wells like this one will be installed.

This particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s ongoing sand dam project (click here to see). We have supplied the group with the tools needed for excavation. With the guidance of our artisans and mechanics, the excavated well will be cased, sealed with a well pad, and then finished with a new AfriDev pump.

Recent Project Updates

07/13/2017: Ilinge Community's New Well Installed

Ilinge 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 also attended 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, so make sure to check them out!

Project Result: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Hygiene and sanitation training reached a total of 67 community members over the course of three days. The self-help group committee was responsible for gathering all of these participants, working with staff to find the most convenient dates for all.

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Group members powow with the trainer to list out all hygiene, sanitation and water-related issues in their villages.

The main topics we 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

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Participants practice what they learned about hand-washing.

The trainer used an easel and poster up front to list out problems identified by community members and ideas on how to resolve them. They also listed out an action plan for households to implement hygiene and sanitation practices in their homes and greater community.

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There was a lot of group brainstorming to keep everyone involved.

Pauline Mueni is one of the many farmers who attended training. She said, “During the training, we learnt about compound hygiene and how we can prevent diseases. We also learnt about food hygiene thanks to our donor for funding the training. I will dig a rubbish pit, construct a good latrine and sleep under a treated mosquito net. I will also treat drinking water as I have learnt several ways of treating water. For example, use of water guard and SODIS methods.”

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

We delivered the experts and materials, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand and water. When it was time to dig, they were there to excavate the well.

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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.

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View of the well’s lining.

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 clean and clear.

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.

The self-help group’s committee will ensure implementation of hygiene and sanitation lessons learnt during this project. They will check on improvements made at each member’s homestead, like having a dish rack, pit latrine, rubbish pit, and hand-washing station etc. The group is also responsible for training new members that join. They will oversee operation and maintenance of the AfriDev pump, seeking our help when needed.

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05/01/2017: Ilinge Community Project Underway

Ilinge Community in Kenya will soon have a clean source of water, thanks to your generous donation. A new well is being constructed adjacent to a new sand dam, and the community will attend training on important 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 community details, maps, and pictures. We will keep you posted as the work continues!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Project Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Machakos, Mwala, Masii, Mithini, Ilinge
ProjectID: 4782
Install Date:  07/13/2017


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.