Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2017

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 11/30/2022

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

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 is formed from farmers living in Nzung’u. They came together for the common purpose of helping each other harvest successful crops despite water scarcity and other challenges in the area. Nzung’u Village is located in one of the northernmost parts of Kitui, which is also one of the driest.

These farmers are motivated and encouraged by continued efforts to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene in their large village. There are 880 people living here, spread over miles of land. As more water points are constructed, more families directly benefit. (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 has made this community a great candidate for continued support in creating clean water points, and is why they are receiving their second sand dam and hand-dug well. To learn more, click here.)

Before construction of their first sand dam, members of this group would walk for four to five hours to fetch water. That has now changed, and children no longer miss school to fetch water. For most in Nzung’u, walking to their first sand dam and well takes less than thirty minutes.

Water Situation

Water in most parts of Kitui is collected from open scoop holes in their sandy, seasonal rivers. But with their first sand dam, this particular part of the river is no longer seasonal – People can access water at any time of the year. And with the addition of the hand-dug well, people are able to pump water that is safer than what’s found in the scoop holes.

All 880 are drawn to the water stored at this first sand dam. Yet such a huge population puts a strain on this single resource, warranting the construction of more water sources. As you can imagine, not all of these 880 are able to wait in line at the hand-dug well.

Water is collected and transported using 20-liter plastic jerrycans. It is then loaded onto donkeys or ox-drawn carts. If a household is too poor to afford either of those, then the last resort is to carry those heavy, full containers on their backs. However, most households have at least one donkey by now. Even better, some households have recently been able to afford motorbikes.

When delivered back home, water is stored in whatever containers could be afforded. Some families can afford large plastic or iron drums of 200 liters, while others cannot afford anything but the jerrycans they use at the dam.

Water treatment has been adopted since last year’s training, by either boiling or chlorinating.

Sanitation Situation

Nzung’u families have done so well with implementing their water, sanitation and hygiene action plan. Over 75% of households have sanitation facilities like latrines, bathing shelters, hand-washing stations, dish racks and clotheslines. Even more impressive, all of those hand-washing stations have a cleaning agent like ash or soap. Households have excavated pits for proper garbage disposal and compost.

The kitchen is cleaned on a daily basis, and the entire compound is swept at least every other day. You can see pictures of two different family households in this report.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

We will review hygiene and sanitation practices for three days. Our trainers will continue to stress the importance of treating water before consuming it. We will also strengthen the committee in charge of water point management and maintenance, equipping them with the skills to ensure there’s clean water for generations to come.

We will review food preparation, personal hygiene, and latrine maintenance.

The group members who have not yet constructed a hand-washing station will be reminded of its importance in preventing communicable diseases.

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

05/14/2020: 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.

09/20/2018: A Year Later: Nzung'u Community Well

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a sand dam and hand-dug well for Nzung’u Community 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...

11/20/2017: Clean Water Flowing in Nzung'u Community

We are so excited to report that clean water is now flowing from the well in Nzung'u. Patience has paid off! The water supply will continue to improve, becoming more reliable as the adjacent sand dam matures during the rainy season.

You make this transformation possible. Thank You!

10/04/2017: Nzung'u Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Nzung'u Community’s new hand-dug well is now installed, thanks to your support! It has been dug adjacent to a sand dam system. As rainy seasons occur over time, sand will build up behind the dam, storing and filtering water that will fill the well and raise the water table in the area. 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! We look forward to reaching out again after this system has matured and started providing clean water.

Project Result: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

Hygiene and sanitation review was held on a self-help group member’s land, inside and outside of her home. We worked with the already established water and sanitation committee to invite participants.

5 kenya4772 training

The group requested that we focus on the following topics:

– Food hygiene: Properly handling food until it’s consumed, which includes preparation, cooking, and storage

– Personal hygiene: Hand-washing and other practices

– Water hygiene: Properly collecting, transporting, storing, and treating water

Participants gathered into groups of five to discuss the sanitation ladder and compound hygiene. Each group presented on what they discussed, and then everyone analyzed the material and made any needed corrections. We used posters and drawings to review disease transmissions routes and all of the ways to block them.

4 kenya4772 training

When covering hand-washing, we asked one member to remind the rest about each step. The listeners certainly weren’t shy to bring up anything they forgot!

Due to recent outbreaks of cholera in some parts of Kenya, a training session on cholera was done to keep these people from also becoming victims.

There was also an activity that taught group members how to make their own soap. The soap will serve three different purposes:

-Sanitize hands and protect people from germs
-Unlock opportunities for group profit: A total of 40 liters of soap was made during training, much of which the members plan to sell to neighbors in their community and at markets
-Increase household income: Some group members plan to teach the other adults in their households how to make this soap, turning it into a regular business

The training staff was sure to share on how to best procure materials and set fair prices for this soap.

2 kenya4772 training

Making Soap

We got to talk to Louise Kisovo, a farmer, after our review. “We thank you. We have learnt an income-generating activity (soap making) which we will now undertake to improve our income. I learnt about the need of a latrine and a bathroom in a homestead. I have also learnt a lot about food hygiene and water hygiene. I will continue to treat my drinking water using water guard,” she said with thankfulness.

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.

6 kenya4783 excavation

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.

7 kenya4783 excavation

The next step is to line this wall with bricks and mortar.

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. After it rains, 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 that for a while, the water becomes clean and clear.

9 kenya4783 finished well

This well will pump water collected and filtered naturally by the adjacent sand dam.

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 continue to 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.

81-year-old Kauma Mutisya is one of the many who will have clean water once the rains come. "Our new shallow well will save me the 40 shillings that I pay for a 20-liter jerrycan. Though am old, I work hard here for water to be close home because I live alone - my only son lives far away," she shared.

Project Photos

Project Type

Dug Well and Hand Pump

Hand-dug wells are best suited for clay, sand, gravel and mixed soil ground formations. A large diameter well is dug by hand, and then lined with either bricks or concrete to prevent contamination and collapse of the well. Once a water table is hit, the well is capped and a hand-pump is installed – creating a complete and enclosed water system.


Project Sponsor - Yakima Foursquare Church