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:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/28/2024

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

Itatini Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2012. It has a membership of 37, comprised of 22 females and 15 males. The average size of the members’ households is five. 30% are 20-40 years old, while another third are of the ages 40-55 years. The final third are 55 and up. The members of this group come from three different villages: Mukimwani Village is home to 670 people; Kivani Village is home to 414; Katitu Village has 390. These villages are all in the Mukimwani sub-location, which has a population of 5,202.

(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’s why we’ve partnered with the Itatini Self-Help Group and ASDF to increase water access throughout this region. To learn more, click here.)

The main socioeconomic activities for this area are:

– Casual labor: 17% are hired to do household-related jobs, which are not frequently available. Job availability also depends on the season e.g. most casual labor happens during harvest time and planting season

– Professions: 10% are employed in different professions e.g. teachers

– Two thirds depend on farming

– The remainder operate small businesses

Just a few years ago, people living here had to walk hours to get water. After Itatini Self-Help Group stepped up to address water scarcity, and through their advocacy, new water sources have been installed along the seasonal river.

Water Situation

Sand dams transform dry river beds into oases. Itatini Self-Help Group is in their third year out of five meant to transform their villages and greater environments into fertile, healthy places where clean water is available.

They have two sand dam and well systems along the river that draw hundreds of beneficiaries each. With the thousands relying on this river, the group will tackle yet another sand dam further down the riverbed.

Mule Wambua Nthitu is a 52-year-old farmer who travels to the first sand dam, and is also a member of the Itatini Self-Help Group. He’s helped build all of the dams, and plans to help complete this third one. He is very happy about the new water sources they have. “We had lacked water for a long time, especially during dry periods. But we now have water for drinking and can sustain us during dry season. We have grown vegetables like tomatoes, sukuma wiki (kales), and spinach using the water from the sand dam. In the last season, we made 11,000 shillings from vegetable sales. We then used the money to purchase some construction materials for our second sand dam,” he shared.

Sanitation Situation

100% of households trained through Itatini Self-Help Group have pit latrines. The majority have bathing shelters, hand-washing stations, dish racks and clotheslines. They have done fairly well implementing their action plan for hygiene and sanitation improvements, but can still benefit from the upcoming review training.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

We will review hygiene and sanitation practices to help strengthen the weaknesses found during our staff’s visits. 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 compound hygiene.

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 Itatini Self-Help Group has decided that this third hand-dug well should be constructed further down the river. As of now, there are still folks living far away from the first two projects.

It will be dug adjacent to the sand dam (click here to see that project) being constructed simultaneously. As the sand dam matures, it will build up sand and naturally filter the river’s water and the rainwater supplied during the rainy season.

It will raise the water table and transform the land, making it fertile for farming. The installation of this hand-dug well will ensure that water from this sand dam is safely drawn for drinking.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Kivani Community Well

A year ago, generous donors helped construction a sand dam and hand-dug well for Kivani 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...

October, 2017: Kivani Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Kivani 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 at a self-help group member's home. We worked with the already established water and sanitation committee to invite participants, and they decided amongst themselves when the most convenient time to meet would be.

2 kenya4764 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.

1 kenya4764 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 20 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.

4 kenya4764 training

Group members working together to mix soap.

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.

1 kenya4784 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.

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.

4 kenya4784 finished well

A local man and our artisan wet the new well pad to make sure it dries without cracking.

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 next few years’ 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.

Mr. Mule Wambua Nthitu is a 52-year-old member of Itatini Self-Help Group. He is very happy about the new water sources being built in his community. "We had lacked water for a long time, especially during dry periods. But now we have water for drinking and can sustain us during dry seasons!"

August, 2017: Kivani Community New Well Underway

Kivani 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 a review 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!

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.


Project Sponsor - St. Thomas The Apostle Church