Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/18/2024

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

The Twone Mbee Muselele Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2011. It has 47 members of which 45 are women and two are men. It is located in Muselele Village, Mulala, Nzaui District of Makueni County. Muselele Village is home to 800 people.

Since we’ve been working together two years now, the group already has a water and sanitation committee of 12, of which 10 are women and two are men.

The average household size is six, and the members have an average age of 42.6 years.

The group members came together for common purposes:

– Assist each other in projects of large scale, such as making rods. They say it is much better to work together because they can achieve much more than working alone.

– Construct gabions to help retain water after it rains.

– Establish a merry-go-round financing group (fund share) which supports individuals at certain times, and helps the group bond and develop trust.

Water Situation

The group has worked hard to finish two hand-dug wells and two sand dams since 2015. Whether living near or far, all group members are walking to the oases these systems have created. Some of these hand-dug wells truly provide the only drinking water for miles. (Click to see the first hand-dug well; second hand-dug well.)

Drinking water is collected from the protected hand-dug wells adjacent to the sand dams.

Water used for cleaning and watering animals is still drawn from holes dug in the riverbeds, to avoid overcrowding at the wells.

Most adults use 20-liter plastic jerrycans, which are 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 the water on their backs. However, most households will have at least one donkey. Of late, households that can afford it use motorbikes to carry their water home.

Once delivered home, water is poured in different storage containers depending on intended use. Some water is poured in barrels near the latrine, and a lot is sent to the kitchen. Some families have been able to afford small rainwater catchment tanks, and water can also be poured in there for storage. It’s also common to keep a covered clay pot in the living area so that guests have cool water to drink.

Sanitation Situation

We visited Josephine Kiilu and Annah Muia to hear firsthand about their community’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to hygiene and sanitation.

Thanks to previous hygiene and sanitation training, this group has fulfilled their action plan to have 100% latrine coverage. These are a mix of permanent and semi-permanent structures, depending on the economic status of each household. Some families could only manage to hang a curtain in the doorway.

Over half of group members’ families have a hand-washing station, while less than half have useful tools like dish racks and clotheslines.

We were encouraged to discover that women are cleaning their kitchens daily, and most compounds are cleaned on a daily basis too.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

We will be holding a day to three days of review to address gaps in the group’s implementation. We will applaud their great work on latrines, and encourage them to maintain them. But we will continue to teach the importance of other facilities such as hand-washing stations, dish racks, and clotheslines.

It is likely that due to recent cholera outbreaks in Kenya, we will hold a session on how to prevent cholera and recognize its symptoms.

If time allows, we could also move on to covering income-generating activities like making and selling soap.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s ongoing sand dam project (click here to see), which will supply clean drinking water once it rains. 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 including perforations so that once it rains, water will filter in from the sand dam.

This new hand-dug well will bring more water to families still having to walk long distances to fetch water.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Muselele Community Well

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

December, 2017: Muselele Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Muselele Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new hand-dug well has been constructed adjacent to a sand dam on a local river. The dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Community members have also attended hygiene and sanitation training, 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 hand-dug 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: Important Reminder

We've been working with this group since 2015, when we met for three days of hygiene and sanitation training. Since the beginning, our goals have been to show the relationship between sanitation and health, encourage community members to take care of their water source, motivate them to build sanitation facilities like latrines, and improve hygiene behaviors. The community left their first sessions with a concrete action plan in hand, aimed at developing healthy habits and adopting new sanitation facilities like dish racks, hand-washing stations and latrines.

Recently, a hygiene and sanitation review was held outside of a group member's homestead after the schedule was agreed on by our staff and participants. The sessions were well-attended with most members present, all of who listened intently and asked questions for clarification. In fact, training even attracted neighbors who aren't members of the self-help group.

Everyone was eager to learn, and at the end of training they promised to continue adopting healthy habits and maintaining sanitation facilities. 53-year-old Grace Asuman is a mother who sacrificed her time to be there for the review. She said, "From the last training that we had, I learnt a lot of new things that I did not know. Today, what we have learnt is a reminder, and it will be of great importance to our lives. For instance, we did not take seriously the importance of having a rubbish pit, utensil rack and a latrine lid. And that water treatment is one of major ways of blocking transmission of waterborne diseases. We have learned different methods of water treatment that one can use in case he/she is not comfortable with one. I now well understand why I should have a latrine at my home and how to keep it clean. Today, I have gained more knowledge from the sessions. I have learned how to make soap, and from that, I will be able to generate income after selling it."

Grace Asuman

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.

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.

Mrs. Asuman said, "As witnessed from the first two shallow wells that we have, we are sure the water quality will really improve because the wells are all protected. Waterborne diseases are not as common as they used to be in the past. They have been tremendously reduced. This is because of access to clean drinking water!"

November, 2017: Muselele Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Muselele 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!

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 - The Lifeplus Foundation