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: 02/20/2024

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

Kithangaini Kithuluni Atui Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2001 with a membership of 60 people, and registered with local government in the same year. Currently, the active members are 45 people who come from Kithangaini Kithuluni Village, which has a population of 8,400 people.

The group’s main objective is to support each other in digging terraces on their farms, constructing gabions, table banking and social welfare. The mean age of members is 52, and the average size of each household is six family members.

As is easily seen in the group’s purpose above, farming is the main source of income here; half of the group is able to earn at least 3,000 shillings a month, while the rest manages a bit more.

Water Situation

Community members always take advantage of the rain when it comes. They put barrels and other plastic containers outside to catch the rain. However, many areas see only one to two large rains during the year.

During the dry months, everyone walks to River Thwake to get the water they need, no matter what the distance.

Water isn’t flowing at this river. People have to dig in the riverbed until they hit water. They fill their 20-liter containers with the water from this hole, and load it onto a donkey or ox-drawn cart. If a family can’t afford a pack animal, they must hoist the heavy container up and carry it all the way home themselves.

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.

Not only is a lot of time sacrificed to walk to and from the river, but even more time is lost as community members fight illnesses suffered after drinking its dirty water. Rampant waterborne disease is a reality here, with treatment costs diverting substantial family income.

70-year-old Annah Ndeti said, “We know this water might not be safe for drinking, but we do not have an alternative. Some of us boil but most don’t. We therefore need to be taught on different treatment methods to make it safe for drinking.”

Sanitation Situation

100% of group members’ homes have a pit latrine, however rudimentary. Most of them lack doors and only have a curtain hanging there, which can be seen in some of the photos. You find a mixture of permanent and semi-permanent structures depending on the economic status of each household.

Less than half of households have a hand-washing station, and quite a few of these are missing a cleaning agent like soap or ash. Even a handful of households aren’t using dish racks or clotheslines to dry their belongings safely up off the ground.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices in Kithangaini Kithuluni 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.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This hand-dug well is one of many construction projects taking place to transform this area. We spend a total of five years unified with each community to address their clean water shortage. More sand dams will be built to transform the environment – And as the sand dams mature and build up more sand over time, the water table will rise. To safely access this water, hand-dug wells like this one are installed.

The wells are always located next to sand dams, since they rely on the water stored by 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 so that once it rains, water will seep in through the sand.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Kithuluni Community Well

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a sand dam and hand-dug well for Kithuluni 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: Kithangaini Kithuluni Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Kithangaini Kithuluni 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: New Knowledge

The field officer worked with the chairman of the self-help group to arrange the best time and place to hold hygiene and sanitation training. This happens at least two weeks before proposed dates to give the members enough time to clear their schedules to attend. It was held at a group member's homestead, where attendance and participation were both very good. These group members were excited to learn new things and make an action plan to improve life in their community.

Our goals were to show the relationship between sanitation and health, encourage community members to take care of their water source, build sanitation facilities like latrines, and improve hygiene behaviors.

We used role plays, lecture, demonstrations, and group discussions to teach about many new things: personal hygiene like hand-washing and toothbrushing; water handling like storage and treatment; sanitation facilities like latrines, dish racks, clotheslines, and compost pits. On the last day of training, we taught participants how to make a hand-washing station out of all easily accessible and affordable local materials.

65-year-old Pius Kavila is the chairman of the self-help group. He said, "The training was very good and very educative. Personally as the chairman, I will be having some refresher trainings with the group to remind them what we’ve learned today. I was very much impressed with the topics on importance of having a latrine and its cleanliness, personal hygiene, water treatment and how human feces can cause diseases (disease transmission routes). We also learned that it is important to keep our water sources clean and well fenced to prevent them from contamination."

Pius Kavila, chairman of the self-help group

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.

The artisan lining the inside of the well.

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.

"We are pleased to have a shallow well which is covered. We are assured of access to quality drinking water. From the knowledge that we have gained on water hygiene, we will use it, then treat our water to prevent waterborne diseases," Pius Kavila said happily.

November, 2017: Kithangaini Kithuluni Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Kithangaini Kithuluni Community in Kenya will 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 disease, hunger, and thirst 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 - Chace Family