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: 03/20/2024

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

Ndineesi Uu Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2004 and registered in the year 2007. During the time of formation, they only had six members. Now, the current membership stands at 39. The group has appointed a leadership committee of nine members: five male and four female.

Members of the group come from the following villages: Katuluni, Kanyekini and Mwambui. The region has a total population of 2,314 people. The average household size is six members.

(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 formed a relationship with this group and plan to support them to do multiple water projects over the next couple of years until adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

58% of the group members earn less than 3,000 shillings a month, with 29% earning between 3,100 and 10,000 and only 13% earning above 10,000. This is because most people depend on farming as their main source of income, with farming dependent on the seasons that may or may not bring rain. Some other people depend on casual labor, but that’s only when there is work available on other people’s farms! There is high poverty here.

Water Situation

It is most common to collect water from open scoop holes in sandy, seasonal rivers using 20-liter plastic jerrycans. The jerrycans are then loaded onto donkeys or ox-drawn carts. If a household is too poor to afford one of those, then they must carry their water home on their backs. However, most households will have at least one donkey. Households that can afford it use motorbikes to carry water home.

This water is open to contaminants from many different sources. Livestock brought back and forth drink freely from the hole, often relieving themselves somewhere along the way. When it rains, even more waste is washed into this water source, not to mention the dirt itself that erodes and muddies the water.

There is rampant waterborne disease and the resulting treatment costs are huge, especially for these families that make so little. Long hours are spent walking to and lining up at the scoop holes.

Sanitation Situation

Most households here have a pit latrine, but there are a few families who haven’t afforded the time or materials to build their own. Because of this, open defecation still affects the entire community as certain people repeatedly resort to the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves. This waste is then spread by flies, wild animals, and rainwater.

Over a quarter of homes have a hand-washing station set up, proving that there is knowledge of proper hygiene but perhaps not enough motivation. There were some dish racks and clotheslines, but most households still need these helpful tools to safely dry their belongings up off the ground.

76-year-old Joseph Kitheka echoed what we saw, saying, “We have some idea of what ought to be done to improve the health status in this village but we don’t take it seriously because we are used to this kind of life. However, all we need is a little sensitization in form of a training and we will be good to go.”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices in Ikulya Community, training will be offered to self-help group members on three 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. To motivate participants, we must show the links between these activities and their people’s health. Open defecation certainly won’t be overlooked; everyone will be aware of how not using a latrine endangers the entire community.

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.

The wells are always located next to sand dams. The sand dam location is proposed by the self-help group and then approved by the technical team. The group always proposes sites that will be central and convenient for every group member to access.

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.

Excavation takes a month or more on average, depending on the nature of the rock beneath. Construction of the well lining and installation of the pump takes 12 days maximum. The well will be lined with a concrete wall with perforations to allow water to seep in through the sand.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Ikulya Community Well

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

November, 2017: Ikulya Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Ikulya 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 when this well has clean water.

Project Result: New Knowledge

There were four days of strong CLTS hygiene and sanitation training in Ikulya. CLTS was important here because of the high level of open defecation and how it’s contaminating the environment.

Total attendance grew each day from 20 to 35 individuals. The first day, we went on a transect walk to map the community, identify problem spots, households, and water sources. This was an eye-opening day for the community members as they realized just how many areas open defecation was being done.

3 kenya4773 trainingCommunity members on a transect walk to identify hygiene and sanitation problem areas.

The next day, we helped the community calculate the amount of waste their producing along with the total costs in medical bills. The cost of properly disposing of waste and other contaminants is far less than what is spent on treatment for related illnesses.

Day three, we showed what happens to water as it’s contaminated. We made the contamination process very visual for the participants and then asked them if they’d still drink the water. Most were extremely revolted and refused, as they realized that’s what’s happening to their water too.

8 kenya4773 training

We gathered with plastic chairs at a homestead to do group discussion on the role of flies in contamination. While flies are attracted to different types of contamination, they are also attracted to the kitchen when food is cooking! Community members learned about all of the connections between their different activities and possible contaminants.

11 kenya4773 training

The final day of training, we taught how to build a hand-washing station and how to wash hands with soap. We also taught how to make soap, which will serve many different purposes beyond just hand-washing. Group members plan to make this soap to sell to their neighbors, increasing their household income. And last but not least, we made an action plan with the community. We talked about when it would be viable to implement everything they learned, and we scheduled our follow-up visits to ensure they were following through with the plan.

51-year-old Martha Musyoki said, “The training was a very nice one, with a lot of things that impressed me: For example, the transect walk. It felt very unpleasant, but very educative. Also, visiting the open defication areas, especially those along water sources was a challenging idea. It felt uneasy and vey shameful when we were demonstrating the bottle of water because we understood clearly how feces contaminate our drinking water. I have gained a new idea of soap-making which will help me do business of selling the soap to my neighborhoods and get some little money…”

1 kenya4773 Martha Musyoki

Martha Musyoki

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.

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 mechanics arrive to install the pump as community members watch, learning how to manage and maintain the pump for themselves. 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.

1 kenya4786 finished hand-dug well

People from the self-help group will continue to pump water from this first rain until it runs 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 next few years’ rainy seasons.

69-year-old Joseph Mutethya was happy to see construction complete, for great drought tired the group members and slowed them down. But with perseverance, the people living in Ikulya now have an oasis in a very dry land. "On the issue of water safety, we are very much sure that once it rains, we will have access to clean drinking water, and also make money from the same after selling the water," Joseph said.

October, 2017: Correspondence with Ikulya, Kenya

Thank You for your patience as we gather information about the work done in Ikulya, Kenya. We are excited because we've received confirmation that construction is indeed done (check out the attached picture)! However, we're still receiving details and pictures of hygiene and sanitation training and the construction process. As soon as we have it all, we'll reach out again with a final report.

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.