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: 02/15/2024

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

Ikanga Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2016 with a mission of constructing gabions in Thwake River. They wanted these to harvest water and then pipe it to tanks at their home compounds. As of yet, no construction has been completed.

The group now has 27 members who come from Kasioni and Ngaa Villages, which have a combined population of 4,220 people. The mean age of group members is 44, and the average size of each household is six.

(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. This community is a great candidate for ASDF’s five-year development plan. To learn more, click here.)

When asked about food security in their homes, 80% said that they hadn’t faced any food challenges for the last three months. Another 20% said that they survive on borrowing food and restrict adults from taking food so that children can eat first.

46% of the respondents earn more than 10,000 shillings a month while 27% earn between 3,000 and 10,000 shillings, and the last 27% earn less than 3,000 shillings. With an average family size of six, this calls for intervention to improve both income and food production.

Members of this group heard about us from Kyeni Self-Help Group, who we’ve been working with for a while. They then approached our field officer Mr. Benson Kituku with a request for support. Members of Ikanga had already helped us build sand dams with two other groups in the area, so the project approval process was much faster.

Water Situation

Most of the group members have hooked up plastic tanks to harvest rainwater off their roofs, while the rest walk to River Thwake. However, it’s important to note that rainwater can only be harvested during three rainy months each year. The rest of the year, these people join their neighbors in traveling to the river.

At the river, holes must be dug in the riverbed to reach water. Certain holes are used for watering livestock, while others are set aside just for human consumption. Most often, an adult will bring along a 20-liter jerrycan. If their family has a donkey or ox-drive cart, they will use these to carry even more water. A typical donkey can haul four full 20-liter jerrycans.

Water harvested at home is safe for drinking, but the water from scoop holes at the river is contaminated. These holes are open to contamination from surface runoff, erosion, and human activity.

After drinking this contaminated water, people suffer from waterborne diseases and the resulting treatment costs. Common diseases include amoeba, typhoid, bilharzia, and ringworm.

Sanitation Situation

100% of group member have a pit latrine, and report that their neighbors have one also. The conditions of these latrines depend on the economic status of each family, and we were happy to find that many families making over 10,000 shillings a month have been able to invest in VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines. Some others lack doors, but just have a curtain hanging in the opening. Because of this full latrine coverage, open defecation is not an issue in these two villages.

A little under half of households have a hand-washing station installed outside their latrine. Most have a designated area for throwing garbage though some still need to dig a pit. A few households have other helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry their belongings safely of the ground.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Since this is our first hygiene and sanitation training in Kasioni, training will be held for three days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and will be encouraged 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 particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s first 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 well will be located in Kasioni Village, and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Kasioni Community Well

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

Kasioni 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at one of the members' most comfortable homesteads. Attendance was very good for the three days; group members also heavily participated in drafting and approving an action plan to implement everything they learned.

Discussing different ways to construct a latrine

Some of those topics were as follows:

- identifying health problems

- investigating practices

- differences between good and bad behaviors

- how diseases spread

- choosing sanitation improvements and hygiene behaviors

- hand-washing

- planning for change

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.

Building a hand-washing station

Hand in hand with the training on constructing a hand-washing station was a tutorial on how to make your own soap:

Participants took turns stirring the soap during the demonstration

55-year-old chairman of the group, John Ngumbi, said "It was a very good and educative training. It has taught us a lot of beneficial things that we should be doing but we have not been doing. I have learned other hygiene practices like cleaning the home compound, food hygiene, water treatment, having a rubbish pit and having a tippy tap to wash our hands at after using latrines. I have also enjoyed the exercise of soap making. Apart from it being an additional knowledge, it’s an activity that will enable us as a group make a lot of money and improve our income."

John Ngumbi

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.

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.). This was a special case, wherein we could not break through the plains of bedrock stretching across the riverbed; instead, we built the well from the ground to be level with the sand dam.

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. As sand builds up around the well walls, it will naturally filter the rainwater that's stored behind the dam.

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.

"Having a shallow well enables us to have access to clean drinking water. It is a blessing to us. Our area has had a lot of bilharzia cases because of schistosome parasites in the rivers. We believe that we will never have such cases again, now that we have knowledge on water treatment," John Ngumbi said.

November, 2017: Kasioni Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway

Kasioni 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 - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation